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The Telegraph Frontpage for 2023 March 06

The Lockdown Files
By Sam Hall
The Lockdown Files reveal that Matt Hancock rejected advice from England’s Chief Medical Officer to replace the 14-day Covid quarantine with five days of testing because it would “imply we’ve been getting it wrong”.

Matt Hancock rejected advice to cut Covid isolation

Matt Hancock was told by Prof Sir Chris Whitty in November 2020 it would be “pretty well as good” for contacts of positive Covid cases to test for five days “in lieu” of a fortnight’s isolation. WhatsApp messages between the two men have also revealed that the 14-day quarantine period had likely been “too long all along”. By then, nearly a million people in England who had come into contact with an infected person had been told to self-isolate for a full fortnight, even if they had no symptoms. Although ministers reduced the self-isolation period to 10 days in December 2020, it was not until the following August that some groups were made entirely exempt from the requirement. In November 2020, Sir Chris and other government advisers were “in favour” of trialling the alternative system. But the then health secretary resisted, saying it “sounds like a massive loosening” and that removing the quarantine requirement could make it appear that ministers had made a mistake. Read the leaked messages that reveal how Mr Hancock chose saving face over cutting Covid quarantine here. The release of the messages about isolation came as other leaked WhatsApps revealed how Mr Hancock fought to take credit for the success of Britain’s vaccine campaign, telling colleagues: “Everyone knows I’m Mr Vaccine and this is the route out.”

Leak reveals Simon Case’s private warning about Boris Johnson

The country’s most senior civil servant said Boris Johnson was a “distrusted figure” and feared the public would not follow isolation rules if they were set out by the then prime minister, The Telegraph can disclose. A leaked cache of government messages has revealed how Simon Case, the current head of the Civil Service, said to Matt Hancock that the public needed to be told to isolate by “trusted local figures, not nationally distrusted figures like the PM”. The description of Mr Johnson is likely to be embarrassing for the Cabinet Secretary and potentially the former prime minister, whose character is being questioned – and who appointed Mr Case to his position. The conversation between the then health secretary and Mr Case took place on October 30 2020, as the Government was expanding its testing capability. Read this instalment of The Lockdown Files here.

Harry and Meghan ‘undecided’ about Coronation attendance

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not yet decided what to do about the coronation, despite receiving confirmation from Buckingham Palace that they will be invited, the Telegraph understands. The couple, who have barely been in touch with senior members of the Royal family following the publication of Prince Harry’s controversial memoir, Spare, are still considering their options about whether to travel to London for the ceremony on May 6. Our royal editor Victoria Ward reports that they could attend together, Prince Harry could attend alone or they may decide to remain in California to be with their son, Archie, as he celebrates his fourth birthday on the same day.

Also in the news this morning

Social media | Bosses of social media companies will face up to a year in jail if they refuse to provide bereaved parents with data to explain why their children died, under new laws being considered by Michelle Donelan, the Technology Secretary.

Around the world: Ukraine conducting ‘fighting withdrawal’ from Bakhmut

Ukrainian forces are preparing a fighting withdrawal from Bakhmut in east Ukraine as Russian soldiers try to encircle them and capture the city, James Kilner reports. Russian military bloggers and Western intelligence reports said that Russian troops had advanced in the destroyed city but that Ukrainian special forces were counter-attacking.
Ukrainian forces are still occupying front-line trenches facing Russian troops outside Bakhmut
Ukrainian forces are still occupying front-line trenches facing Russian troops outside Bakhmut Credit: John Moore/Getty Images

Comment and analysis

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Business news: Windfall tax putting billions of pounds of investment at risk, Hunt warned

Jeremy Hunt has been urged to reverse a tax raid on electricity generators amid warnings that billions of pounds of green investment could be at risk. In a letter to the Chancellor, seen by The Telegraph, executives from seven top wind farm companies said a windfall tax on the industry was making it harder to attract private investment to the UK. The letter adds to mounting pressure on Mr Hunt to offer tax breaks and incentives in his upcoming Spring Statement to encourage more business investment.

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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