'Worst sequel yet': what the papers say about England's third Covid lockdown

Posted at

Boris Johnson’s announcement that England will enter its third national lockdown – and the toughest since March – is splashed across front pages. Some papers focus on the grim weeks ahead, while others highlight the first doses of the Oxford vaccine being administered outside of clinical trials.

The Guardian’s headline is “PM imposes new lockdown and warns worst is yet to come”, a reference to Johnson saying that the weeks ahead “will be the hardest yet”. It also gives prominence to schools being closed until mid-February, and the relief felt by teachers over the PM “bowing to the inevitable”.

Tomorrow's @Guardian: PM imposes new #lockdown and warns worst is yet to come

• Read our story, by @jessicaelgot and @peterwalker99, here: https://t.co/iqUhVo6hvK#TomorrowsPapersToday #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/JR5loOoNHx

— Richard Preston (@richardpreston_) January 4, 2021

The Times splashes on “Return to lockdown” and features a shot of Johnson during his speech looking more dishevelled than usual.

Tuesday’s Times: Return to lockdown #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/tJfGi1WAdC

— Helena Wilkinson (@BBCHelena) January 4, 2021

The Financial Times has Johnson “forced into lockdown order” in what its main story calls a “sharp switch in position”.

Just published: front page of the Financial Times, UK edition, Tuesday 5 January https://t.co/JAhYUc7rCN pic.twitter.com/UAqqM8isfd

— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) January 4, 2021

The Daily Telegraph quotes Johnson’s warning with his optimistic caveat, “but end is in sight”.

Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph: ‘The weeks ahead will be the hardest yet...but end is in sight’ #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/gFJGiXxRyV

— Helena Wilkinson (@BBCHelena) January 4, 2021

The Daily Express focuses on the vaccine: “New lockdown is tough … but vaccine will end struggle”. Senior medics have however warned against over-optimism about the vaccines amid the record new case rises.

Tuesday’s Daily Express: NEW LOCKDOWN IS TOUGH... BUT VACCINE WILL END STRUGGLE #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/S0j6Dawf0Y

— Helena Wilkinson (@BBCHelena) January 4, 2021

The Sun encourages its readers to give “One last push”.

Tuesday’s Sun: ONE LAST PUSH #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/mIOumvbSWS

— Helena Wilkinson (@BBCHelena) January 4, 2021

While the i chooses a tongue in cheek approach, with “Lockdown 3: the worst sequel yet”.

Tuesday’s i: Lockdown 3: the worst sequel yet #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/4gRizlWvNM

— Helena Wilkinson (@BBCHelena) January 4, 2021