THE threat of another lockdown, chaos at the airports and fraudulent business Covid support payments were the coronavirus topics raised by columnists and contributors in the newspapers.

The Daily Express

James Whale said he is not happy about lockdown continuing.

“If there are hotspots around the country where Covid is causing a problem, then shut them down,” he said. “But shutting the whole country down seems to be a little ridiculous. I don’t think the majority of people in this country are prepared to put up with another clutch of restrictions. Certainly it’s unfair on businesses, particularly small ones.”

He said he feels sorry for those who are too scared to go outside their homes but believes they are in a minority.

“Let’s open the country up, invest in the NHS, sort out its management structure and go out and make sure that our health service can cope with all eventualities so that we never need to shut the country down again.”

The Independent

Victoria Richards was in the Algarve when Portugal was moved from the green list to amber.

“All around the beaches and hotel resorts, British people were shouting into their phones: nobody knew what it meant,” she said. “There were the unforeseen costs – such as the near-doubling in price of a taxi to the airport. As I arrived at the airport, it was chaos: the queues outside for pop-up Covid testing (which I had done online) matching the queues inside.”

She said social distancing was impossible, with hundreds crammed into a small space.

“Will I be trying to go abroad again any time soon? Not a chance. I’ve booked a few days in the Isle of Wight for the end of the summer, and will be watching sundown from Sandown, instead.”

The Scotsman,

Catherine Feechan, a partner at Davidson Chalmers Stewart LLP, said businesses were urged to review how they applied for Covid support as a HMRC taskforce was launched to investigate, prosecute and recover unlawfully claimed payments.

“Because the first lockdown was suddenly imposed and businesses were desperate for support, many claims were made in haste at a time of incredible stress,” she said. “It’s unsurprising mistakes may have occurred.”

She said major risk areas were around furlough payments, for employees who continued working during the claim period or claims for non-existent or non-qualifying employees.

“While uncovering and reporting any discrepancies may result in some funds having to be repaid, along with possible penalties, that’s far preferable to potential criminal charges and associated reputational damage. Ignorance will not qualify as any form of defence.”