What the papers say – March 18

The national papers are dominated by Westminster’s measures to battle the coronavirus, including government-backed loans worth £330 billion – equivalent to 15% of GDP.

The Guardian reports the Government has promised to battle Britain’s “biggest peacetime threat” in a package described by the Daily Mirror as aimed at helping businesses and families amid the pandemic.

The Sun also covers the story of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s “huge virus bailout” and offers its readers a free NHS poster.

The Daily Telegraph calls the package a “lifeline” for Britons, while the Financial Times covers how an Italian town’s aggressive testing “cuts new infections to zero”.

The Independent reports the bail-out will allow those struggling with bills to get a three-month mortgage holiday, The Times says hospitals will cease “routine operations for months” and Metro says “we’ll do whatever it takes” next to a photograph of Mr Sunak.

The Chancellor’s “war chest” will be used to keep Britain in business, according to the Daily Express, while the i details more of the bail-out including the cancellation of Mother’s Day and the suspension of rates for hospitality businesses.

The Daily Mail refers to the bail-out as a “kiss of life”, and covers the temporary release from prison in Tehran of British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

And the Daily Star says those “defiant” people in lockdown have invoked Britain’s bulldog spirit by saying “Stick it up yer virus”.

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