Over-50s shielding ditched after Cabinet backlash
In under 48 hours, proposals to extend shielding to some over-50s this winter were abandoned. Downing Street killed off the plan to tell huge swathes of the population to stay at home after ministers warned it was impractical, could damage the economy and sent out mixed messages on the day the Government wanted workers to get back to the office. Charles Hymas explains how Cabinet ministers mounted a backlash against the plan. Remind yourself of the current rules on coronavirus shielding. Read the musings of six of our best writers on why the move would have been a terrible decision. This is what your fellow readers had to say. And Matt uses the ditched idea as inspiration for today's cartoon.
Meanwhile, a Lancet study published today suggests that reopening schools without an improvement in "test and trace" could cause a second wave more than twice the size of Britain's first Covid-19 peak. As Health Editor Laura Donnelly reports, researchers said that pubs may have to be closed or millions of people urged to work from home if significant progress is not made tracking the spread of the virus in the next month.
Russian 'hack' prompts government security review
Claims that Russian hackers stole classified documents from the email account of a Cabinet minister have prompted a review of government security. Sources said Dr Liam Fox, the former international trade secretary, was the victim of what appears to have been a "state-backed" operation ahead of last year's general election. Stolen details of US-UK trade negotiations were published online and used by Jeremy Corbyn to claim the NHS was being put up for sale. Allegations about who stole the files are currently the subject of a police investigation. Political Editor Gordon Rayner explains how ministers and MPs have been reminded of the need to follow rules set out by the National Cyber Security Centre.
Duchess of Cambridge hails Red Cross as part of family
The crucial work undertaken by Valerie Glassborow at Bletchley Park during the Second World War has long been a source of pride to her granddaughter, the Duchess of Cambridge. But today, the Duchess reveals that not only was her paternal grandmother a code-breaker, she also served in a Voluntary Aid Detachment with the British Red Cross. Read a personal letter sent by the Duchess to volunteers to mark the charity's 150th anniversary - and highlighting her own family ties.
At a glance: More coronavirus headlines
- Workplaces | Staff in the office resent those at home, experts say
- London | Khan in row with Johnson over M25 lockdown plan
- Deal | Diners' £10 eating out discount signals 'new weekend'
- Property | Young people suffer in overcrowded house shares
- Animals | Lockdown blamed for rise in sheep and cattle rustling
Also in the news: Today's other headlines
MP rape claims | The Chief Whip's defence for failing to suspend an MP accused of rape has been undermined. The alleged victim has urged him to name the ex-Tory minister arrested on Saturday. Mark Spencer said he did not want to "do anything to identify the victim". But Harry Yorke reports the ex-parliamentary worker said the excuse did not hold water.
- Juan Carlos | Spain's ex-king to go into self-imposed exile
- £100k hoard | Detectorist guards silver for two sleepless nights
- Lesbian kiss | BBC says scene was important for inclusivity
- Rillington Place | 'My sister wasn't killed by a serial killer'
- John Cleese | One-star review: 'National treasure bores for Britain'
Around the world: Virtual goodbyes in Peru
Brother Ronald Marin, a 30-year-old layworker from Venezuela, sprinkles holy water on the coffin of 97-year-old Ruben Val in Comas, near Lima, Peru. His granddaughter Leslie Gonzalez holds her mobile phone in place so that her parents can take part in the service via video conferencing. View our gallery for more striking world images.
Comment and analysis
- Toby Young | The PM's lockdown strategy is a car crash
- Celia Walden | The woke have won at our universities
- John Longworth | People will want a cleaner Brexit break
- Ed Power | Most Netflix shows are eminently skippable trash
- Reader letters | Now allow us to rescue our livelihoods
Editor's choice: Features and arts
- Duchess of Sussex | Why at 39, Meghan's tough year may have only just started
- Working from abroad | Multi-million-pound mansions with stunning home offices
- Gauguin and the Impressionists | Review: the dazzling spoils of a very canny collector
Business and money briefing
Staff safety | Banking giant HSBC could disown pro-democracy staff who are arrested in Hong Kong under a draconian new Chinese security law. Announcing a plunge in profits, chief executive Noel Quinn said the bank followed the law in every country where it operated. It risks sparking a further backlash over HSBC's support for the Hong Kong law.
- Tax hacks | 10 ways to cut capital gains tax on shares and bonds
- Investment tip | Pawnbroking could prosper in post-Covid world
- Alex cartoon | See our cartoonist's latest work on world of finance
Contract ripped up | Alexis Sanchez's Old Trafford nightmare is drawing to a close. The Manchester United striker is on the verge of joining Inter Milan. The Chile striker has agreed to effectively rip up his £560k-a-week contract for a pay-off ahead of a free transfer to Inter.
- Stokes aims for Pakistan | All-rounder could return to attack
- £160m showdown | Brentford one win away from Premier League
- Justin Rose exclusive interview | 'My golf has been poor for a year'
And finally... for this morning's downtime
Britain's most popular SUVs - tried and tested | Like it or not, the SUV rules the UK's roads. But which is the best and which is the worst? From family-friendly features to stupid sensors - Gary Payne has trialled 10 of the UK's most popular makes, revealing their strengths, weaknesses and what offers the best value for money. Read his verdict on the models to choose - and the ones to avoid.