Covid-19: British PM Boris Johnson hospitalised amid reactions to queen's speech


IN THE PAPERS - Monday, April 6: British papers react to two big pieces of news: their leader's hospitalisation with Covid-19 and a message from their monarch about the pandemic. Spain's prime minister issues a plea published in nearly a dozen European papers calling for European solidarity in the face of the coronavirus. We also look at the gruesome situation in Ecuador, where families have been forced to store the bodies of loved ones or put them out in the street. Finally, how some priests are coping with empty churches as worshippers are forced to celebrate Holy Week from home.


Many British papers re-did their front pages for Monday after the news broke late last night that Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital. The prime minister tested positive for Covid-19 10 days ago. Downing Street says his hospital admission is just a "precautionary measure", but the Guardian notes that it comes after days of rumours that his condition has been worsening. 

As we saw on The Guardian’s front page, the other story dominating the UK papers today is that rare televised address from the queen. Many papers are seeing echoes of World War II with her use of the phrase "We’ll meet again", the title of one of the most iconic songs of that era. The times have changed though, as we see in this cartoon from Morten Morland – he imagines the queen, like many of us working from home, waiting for her subjects to log on for a video conference.

Papers in Europe are also talking about a plea from Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez published in a handful of EU papers, including Germany's conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He calls for the creation of so-called "coronabonds" to help the hardest-hit EU countries. It’s an issue that has Europe divided between north and south, with Italy and France also calling for the joint EU bonds, but Germany, Austria and others opposed. 

Papers today are also expressing their alarm over the coronavirus outbreak in Ecuador. French daily Le Monde writes that in the city of Guayaquil, bodies are "overflowing into the street". With hospitals and mortuaries overwhelmed, authorities have had to distribute cardboard coffins and create a telephone helpline that families can call to have the bodies of victims removed.  

To end on a positive note, this week is Holy Week for Christians around the world. As many religious leaders - including the pope himself - are left celebrating mass in empty churches, the Huffpost reports that priests in France and Italy have asked their congregants to send photos of themselves that they've then taped to their church’s pews. A way of creating a crowd and feeling a little bit less alone. 

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