Newspaper headlines: Protective kit criticism and vaccine trial begins


Newspaper headlines: Protective kit criticism and vaccine trial begins


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The government missed opportunities to secure at least 16 million face masks for NHS staff in the past four weeks, according to the Guardian. It comes amid growing frustration from companies who say the UK is losing vital supplies to other countries, says the paper. Offers from suppliers to deliver UK-standard masks were said to have been met with “silence” by the government.

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Tens of thousands of protective visors are sitting in a British warehouse – waiting to be shipped abroad – after the government refused to buy them, reports the Daily Mirror. The paper says the equipment has been made by a Nottingham firm that is “desperate to help” frontline medics.

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The Daily Star says protective equipment is being sent to Germany while NHS “heroes” are begging Health Secretary Matt Hancock for supplies. “Nein, nein, nein” is the paper’s front-page headline.

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Ministers were attempting to get a grip on the government’s coronavirus strategy on Tuesday night, according to the Financial Times, amid confusion over efforts to obtain personal protective equipment and the revelation that less than one fifth of the number of virus tests promised by the end of the month were being carried out.

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The ongoing shortages of PPE has led to an “army” of amateur “stitchers” working “flat-out” to make washable protective clothing, says the Sun. The paper reports that almost 25,000 sets of homemade scrubs intended for use by front-line staff have been made already.

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The Metro, like many of the papers, focuses on news that human trials of a coronavirus vaccine will begin in the UK tomorrow. Prof Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the research, said the inoculation could be ready as soon as September and she is “80%” confident it will work.

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The Daily Express quotes the health secretary as saying the UK will “throw everything” at the research in the hope the country can “lead the world” by finding the first vaccine for the virus.

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Mr Hancock also announced £20m in funding to speed the research through larger-scale human trials over the summer, as well as £22.5m for a parallel vaccine project at Imperial College London, reports the Times. The research will begin by testing the safety of the inoculation in volunteers.

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The i says UK researchers are making “rapid progress” in their attempts to find a vaccine for Covid-19.

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In other developments, virus tests given to thousands of NHS staff so they could return to work have been found to be flawed, according to the Daily Telegraph. The paper says it has seen a leaked memo from Public Health England which warns of “degraded” performance, meaning the results are less reliable than first thought. The paper says it raises the prospect that thousands of nurses and doctors who were told they were free of the virus may have been sent back to work while they were still contagious.

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And the Daily Mail reports that the pandemic is resulting in thousands of cancers being missed every week, because patients are not visiting their GP. Cancer Research UK said the numbers being referred by doctors for urgent hospital appointments or checks had dropped by 75% since the start of the outbreak.

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