The coronavirus outbreak is the top story leading all of Saturday’s newspaper front pages.
Under the headline “outbreak could leave one in 10 in hospital”, the Daily Telegraph suggests health officials may cancel surgical operations as part of their emergency response, if there is a surge in coronavirus cases.
It says officials fear that 70% of people in the UK could become infected, with around 15% of them ending up in hospital.
But despite these concerns, its leader argues that “controlling panic is almost as important as fighting the disease”.
The Daily Mirror says the length of time taken by Boris Johnson to convene the emergency committee Cobra smacks of “unacceptable complacency”.
The Sun believes “the coronavirus has not been Boris Johnson’s finest hour… yet”.
But the Daily Express is more supportive of the prime minister, saying he “is right to make dealing with the coronavirus his top priority”, as he revealed on Friday.
Many of the newspapers focus on what the Daily Telegraph’s front page describes as “stock market chaos” – the plummeting value of shares worldwide, in response to the coronavirus.
The i newspaper’s headline is “virus shock to global economy” and the paper quotes one broker as saying “the panic mode is full on”.
Another explains that “the fear of the unknown is causing traders to lose their nerve and just cut and run”.
But the Daily Express attempts to reassure those spooked by nose-diving share prices.
“The best thing investors can do,” it suggests, “is to sit tight.”
It points out that often when markets fall sharply, they bounce back quickly – which means those who panic and sell will lose out.
It concludes that people with investments in stocks should “perhaps stop looking at your portfolio for a while”.
The Times expresses disappointment that the former Chancellor Sajid Javid did not get to deliver what the paper describes as his “radical budget plans”.
Mr Javid, who stepped down earlier this month during a cabinet reshuffle, has given an interview to the paper in which he says he had intended to cut 2p from the basic rate of income tax.
He was apparently also keen to reduce stamp duty and offer relief for capital investment.
Under the headline “right ideas”, the paper argues that “the government needs to think boldly if it is to achieve the radical transformation of Britain it has promised”.
‘Closer to Glastonbury’
Under the headline “Greta’s green disciples”, the Daily Mail considers Friday’s appearance in Bristol by the climate activist Greta Thunberg.
There is a picture – spread across two pages – of the huge crowd that gathered, with the tiny figure of the Swedish campaigner, clad in a yellow raincoat, only just visible.
“Soaked, woke and angry though they might have been,” the report begins, “the younger residents of Bristol were in carnival mood”.
The paper says the atmosphere was “closer to Glastonbury-meets-royal-visit than a normal demonstration”.
The Sun picks up on a line from Ms Thunberg’s speech, with the headline “the world is on fire”.
But it then subverts her message by referring to the wet weather: “er, actually Greta, it’s chucking it down”.
The Guardian spoke to several of those who’d turned up to see her. One 15-year-old tells the paper: “We want to help make a change. Greta’s really brave and inspirational”.
The Telegraph quotes a student saying: “She’s like Gandhi.”
Mantel v influencer
The Guardian is angry about the humanitarian crisis in northern Syria – caused by the government offensive, backed by Russia, against rebels in the city of Idlib.
It suggests the international community has been prompted to call for an end to hostilities not just because of the horrors caused by the fighting – but also in response to Turkey’s announcement that it will no longer prevent Syrian refugees travelling to Europe.
“What it takes to puncture indifference,” its leader says, “is not the suffering of ordinary men, women and children – but the prospect that they might escape it by coming to our shores”.
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Finally, the Times has bad news for Dame Hilary Mantel, who will publish The Mirror and The Light, the final instalment of her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, next month.
The paper says pre-sales of the much-anticipated novel have been eclipsed by The Little Book of Lists, a book by the social media influencer, Sophie Hinchliffe – who has in the past written about household cleaning tips.
The headline is: “Instagram star mops the floor with Mantel.”