THE R number, the importance of schools in our national revival and imagining celebrities diaries in lockdown were topics covered by columnists and contributors in the newspapers.

The Guardian

Rowland Kao, a coronavirus modeller with Scotland’s Health Protection Agency, said attention has turned to a potential second wave of infections as England eases lockdown restrictions.

“In Germany, where shops and restaurants have tentatively reopened, the reproduction number R has risen to 1.1,” he said. “In Seoul, a recent outbreak of at least 170 infections has been linked to five bars and nightclubs.”

He said the potential rise in R - reproduction - number after lockdown measures are eased is something epidemiologists are well aware of.

“Regional differences in the value of R are also important,” he added. “Easing the lockdown in areas with greater health resources, fewer Covid-19 cases and where more people have already had the virus, may be practical compared with another part of the country where outcomes of an increasing R would be more severe.”

He said lowering our chance of a second wave will involve restricting mass gatherings and restricting movement over large distances.

“It also means having in place a testing and tracing strategy that allows health authorities to identify new cases of Covid-19,” he said.

“These concepts are intuitive, but what network science tells us is that the risk associated with even a small change in patterns of human contact can be substantial.”

The Daily Express

Leo McKinstry believes reopening schools is central to the relaxation of lockdown measures.

He said the alternative of leaving schools closed longer was ‘simply not tenable’ and claimed unions were exploiting parents fears.

“They have adopted a hostile stance, urging their members “not to engage” with the Government’s proposal and even threatening to sue school leaders if they ask teachers to go back too soon,” he said. “It seems as if pupils are being used as fodder in another round of the classroom war waged by radical campaigners.”

He said the unions ‘posturing’ was ‘grossly misplaced.’

“Education is one of the keys to building a strong, prosperous society, and it can only be done properly in schools,” he said. “Home teaching by computer, no matter how enthusiastically conducted, is no substitute, especially as most parents do not have the skills of the classroom professionals.”

He pointed out that a recent study revealed 700,000 children were getting no home schooling at all.

“The biggest losers from this neglect, then, are children from deprived backgrounds,” he said. “They are the ones whose life chances are crushed in the lockdown, as highlighted in a survey by the social mobility charity Sutton Trust, which showed that pupils from private schools are twice as likely to receive online tuition as those at state schools.”

He said a Danish headteacher claimed that, due to extra hygiene and discipline at his school, “conditions here are actually safer than before the lockdown”.

“Such reassurance is an antidote to the unions’ irresponsible scaremongering. If they are allowed to function again – and they must – schools will be part of our national revival.”

The Daily Mail

Jan Moir took a lighthearted look at the imagined diaries of celebrities chronicling life in lockdown as Britons were asked by the Mass Observation Project — which was conceived in 1937 — to write diary entries to create a permanent record for future generations.

In true Bridget Jones fashion, Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s entry read “Weight: Lost 10 lb. Alcohol units: Six. Corona virus tests: 100,000 per day. Calories: 800 (no time to eat). Cappuccinos: Six.

“At 3pm my secretary appears with a cup of tea. ‘I suppose you’ll want a biscuit with that?’ she says .Listen little lady, I DON’T LIKE YOUR TONE, I shout. Why oh why am I surrounded with such insolence and subordination all the time?”

Prince Harry’s entry reads ‘People are so friendly! Especially the generous, millionaire landlord we’ve never met. We love his/our new home, which even has its own in-house, cold-pressed juicery plus a poolside beauty barn.’