Tuesday briefing: ‘Pivotal moment’ in Covid battle

大家早上好. I’m Martin Farrer and these are the top stories today.

England faces the growing prospect of lockdown restrictions beyond the promised easing deadline of 21 六月 as the coronavirus variant first detected in India continues to spread. Scientists and doctors are urging the government to address the problem by speeding up second doses of Covid vaccines and delaying a decision on easing the rules in three weeks’ time. Some experts believe the country could be in the early stages of a third wave of the virus thanks to the variant, which will now be known as Delta in a decision by the World Health Organization to name the different strains with the Greek alphabet. The British Medical Association said the country faced a “pivotal moment” and urged Boris Johnson to honour his pledge to respect “data, not dates” in deciding whether to lift restrictions. Rising cases are also a concern in Scotland. The government is reportedly considering extending the school day by 30 分钟 in order to help children catch up on lessons lost in the pandemic shutdowns.

The prime minister has also been told by a cross-party group of MPs that he has a “moral duty” to match each vaccine dose administered in Britain with one for the developed world. A federal court in Australia has rejected a challenge by a rightwing thinktank to the government’s ban on overseas travel.

Military extremism – Soldiers, air force and naval personnel are among at least 16 members of the armed forces who have been referred to the UK’s terrorism prevention programme, mostly because of concerns about far-right activity. They were investigated under Prevent, the government programme which aims to stop people becoming radicalised, 卫报了解到. From Oswald Mosley to Tommy Robinson, the armed forces have often proved a fertile recruiting ground for rightwing groups.

‘No other choice’ – Myanmar is on the verge of a civil war, according to the country’s parallel government, as people take up arms to protect themselves from military violence. The country’s border areas have seen conflict for decades, but the crackdown in the wake of the February coup has prompted at least 58 armed groups to be formed to resist the junta. “The people of Myanmar have been left with no other choice,” a spokesperson for Myanmar’s national unity government said. “They just have no other option left.”

Post-Brexit squeeze – Tens of thousands of UK citizens living in France, 马耳他, Luxembourg and Latvia have yet to apply to secure their post-Brexit rights. If they don’t act before the deadline at the end of this month, they face being forced to leave. One expert says vulnerable people or those living in remote areas risk “falling through the gaps” and losing their rights unless there is better communication from governments.

Back to nature – The actor Mark Rylance has issued a rallying call for the arts to persuade people to “fall in love with nature again” and prompt the government to back green policies. As his new BBC Radio 4 drama Song of the Reed starts this month, the star says the arts are needed to show people “we are part of the same family as the nature around us”. The drama, co-starring Sophie Okonedo, is set in a nature reserve and examines the challenges faced by conservationists amid climate change.

Greener Glasgow – Councils have agreed to plant 18m trees across Glasgow as the city prepares to host the COP26 climate summit later this year. The Clyde Climate Forest plan would see 10 trees planted for every person in the region and would help tackle climate change and a lack of biodiversity, leaders said.

The Olympic Games were meant to be a moment of national celebration but, with coronavirus cases rising in Japan, this summer’s postponed Olympics are the subject of recrimination and protest. Can widespread public opposition overcome huge commercial pressure to go ahead?

V, the playwright formerly known as Eve Ensler, addresses how the pandemic has unleashed a wave of violence against women. She argues that this “disaster patriarchy” is a full-blown assault on their rights, and that it is time for women to fight back against a system that allows them to be sacrificed, erased and violated.

Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from Roland Garros a day after she was fined $15,000 by the French Open following her decision not to speak with the press during the tournament. The events in Paris, writes Jonathan Liew, show up the problems of press conferences. Great Britain will be without a women’s player in the second round this year after 19th seed Johanna Konta was outplayed in the opening round by the world No 54, Sorana Cirstea. 同时, Roger Federer won his first grand slam match since January 2020 with a straight-sets win over Denis Istomin.

Gareth Southgate will tell seven players today that their hopes of representing England at Euro 2020 are over, after deciding to wait until the last possible training session to finalise his 26-man squad. Gareth Bale has cast doubt over his future after twice declining the opportunity to deny reports he could retire after the 欧洲锦标赛 finals this summer. The Scottish Football Association will offer Steve Clarke a new contract as reward for taking the country to a first major tournament since 1998. And Kyrie Irving says banning fans who mistreat NBA players will not solve the problem, after a water bottle was thrown at him following Brooklyn’s 141-126 victory over the Celtics.

The pound touched a three-year high of $1.425 in Asian trade overnight as it continued to benefit from the economic recovery and the weak greenback. It was also up against the euro at €1.164. The Bank of England is carefully monitoring Britain’s booming housing market amid concerns that the recovery from Covid-19 will lead to a sustained period of inflation. Sir Dave Ramsden, deputy governor, expects price pressures to be temporary but would “guard against” runaway inflation. The FTSE100 is looking flat this morning after the bank holiday break.

While most papers agree that the picture of the day is people enjoying the bank holiday sunshine, they are divided about the best story. 这 监护人 leads with “Scientists demand rethink on 21 June end to lockdown”, 而 时代 has “Longer school days in bid to help children catch up”. 这 Yorkshire Post goes for “Fears for lockdown lifting as variant cases rise” and the Telegraph lead is “‘Give third world extra jabs to halt variants’”. 这 Express combines the weather with a Covid-related line – “Sunny Outlook! Jabs Boost Economy” – and the 太阳 calls on readers to get themselves vaccinated: “Jabs army needs you”. 这 Mail wants action on what it calls the excessive cost of tests for holidaymakers: “Now end the holiday Covid tests rip-off”. 在苏格兰, 这 Herald says “Warning parts of Scotland face lockdown easing delay”. 这 Mirror leads with “Face of hope” about the fight to beat a genetic disorder. 这 i has “Police fail to tackle racism by officers” and the FT splash is “EY Europe revamp sparks fears over sharing of Wirecard damage”.

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