Newspaper Round Up: 11th of August 2020

2020-08-11107
Daily Mirror
"Sack track and trace failures" is how the Daily Mirror sums up Labour's calls for private firm Serco to be axed from running the "shambolic" NHS test and trace system. The paper reports the party's stance that the £300m cost of renewing Serco's contract must be "urgently" given to local health groups "in a bid to save lives".
Times
The Times' splash reports that secondary school pupils can transmit coronavirus as easily as adults, according to a study by Public Health England (PHE). The scientists, who studied thousands of pupils, believe that tougher rules may be needed for older children - who according to one of the paper's sources - are said to be the "most likely to get infected, have silent infection, transmit infection and get sicker". The Times also features the news that McDonald's is suing its British former boss, Steve Easterbrook, who it says was "one of the few Britons to have made it to the highest echelons of corporate America".
Daily Express
The Daily Express's top story reports claims that millions of retired homeowners are being "sabotaged by unfair rules" on mortgages. The paper quotes research which suggests that eight out of ten of over-55s are being "frozen out" of getting a traditional, retirement or lifetime mortgage when they make an application.
Daily Star
The Daily Star's front page story says the RSPCA is desperately hunting for a runaway Emu called Ethel, who resembles the TV puppet of comedian Rod Hull. The organisation fears "timid" Ethel, who fled home five days ago, could charge into traffic.
Guardian
The Guardian's top story says ministers are facing "mounting anger" over what it calls the "botched handling" of English A-level results. Students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are due to receive their A-level grades on Thursday, following the cancellation of exams due to coronavirus. The paper says "the immense pressure" comes as the Scottish government apologised and promised a review after the exams authority rejected about 124,000 grade recommendations from teachers, leading to students' results being downgraded when they received them on 4 August.
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail's front page focuses on the government's "dramatic bid" to improve the "beleaguered" NHS test and trace scheme in England, after it announced 6,000 contact tracing staff would be cut by the end of August. The remaining contact tracers will work alongside local public health teams in a more community-driven approach - which could see people who fail to answer phone calls from the service receive a knock on their door and be told to self-isolate.
Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph also leads on what it calls the "overhaul" of the contact tracing system. It says under new plans, councils will be given dedicated "ring-fenced teams" from the national service to help with community virus tracing - which will involve local workers tracking down anyone who cannot be reached by national call centres after 48 hours. Separately, the front page pictures Steve Easterbrook, formerly chief executive of McDonald's, who is being sued by the fast-food chain for £35m in severance pay. McDonald's alleges that the Briton had relationships with three colleagues and accused him of lying about them.
Financial Times
The Financial Times' main story reports that Beijing has imposed sanctions on 11 American politicians and human rights figures in a "retaliatory move" to similar US actions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials following a controversial new security law in Hong Kong. The paper reports that media mogul Jimmy Lai was detained by the territory's police for allegedly breaching the security law, in what it calls the "most high-profile arrest" since the legislation was introduced in June.
i
The i leads with the findings of a survey which suggests that two thirds of families are concerned about sending their children back to the classroom when schools reopen next month after they were shut during the coronavirus pandemic. The findings come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to ensure that all pupils return to schools in England when the new term starts.
Metro
"Anti-mask mob mock shoppers" is the headline of the Metro's top story, which reports that a group of activists urged customers in a Morrisons supermarket in Peckham, south London, to remove face coverings - which must be worn in shops in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland - because they are "so bad for you". The action was organised by the StandUpX group, which describes itself as "peacefully questioning the narrative."