Friday morning news briefing: Social distancing until autumn?

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Members of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guard set up a Covid vaccination centre in Glasgow - Jeff J Mitchell /Getty
Members of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guard set up a Covid vaccination centre in Glasgow - Jeff J Mitchell /Getty

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Pandemic risks repeat of 1930s chaos, says forces chief

It is a stark suggestion the world could face another large-scale conflict. The head of the Armed Forces has warned that coronavirus has led to the erection of "nationalist barriers" and economic crises reminiscent of the lead up to the Second World War. General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said the "security challenges" presented by the pandemic were similar to those faced in the 1930s. In an interview with The Telegraph, Sir Nick argued that better global cooperation should tackle the pandemic and its economic impact. "There are moments in history when significant economic challenges have led to security challenges because they act as a destabiliser," he said. Defence Editor Con Coughlin reports that his intervention comes ahead of the publication of the Government's "integrated review" next month.

Meanwhile, Tory MPs warned that reopening schools on March 8 must be "signed in blood" as fears emerged that the date could be pushed back. Concern is developing at the chance of a delay as the Government declined to confirm the exact date the Prime Minister will reveal his "road map" for easing lockdown. It comes as ministers reportedly consider plans for social distancing rules on wearing masks and staying one metre apart to remain in place until autumn. Matt lifts the mood with today's cartoon.

Stealth tax raid on personal allowances to raise £6bn

The Treasury is considering freezing personal income tax allowances in next month's Budget, in a "stealth" tax raid that could bring in up to £6bn. Officials are interested in scrapping the planned increases to both the £12,500 and £50,000 thresholds in a move that would result in tens of millions of people paying more. It would effectively cancel planned tax relief, with the average family forecast to miss out on a £250-a-year saving by 2024-25. Political Editor Ben Riley-Smith reports it would be politically appealing for the Treasury because it would raise significant revenue without strictly breaking manifesto promises. Jeremy Warner argues it would be better to be honest about the need for tax rises. GDP figures this morning revealed the UK has avoided a double dip recession.

Analysis: Meghan boosted privacy hopes of all royals

In ruling that being a royal does not make "one" public property, Mr Justice Warby undoubtedly chalked up a significant gain not only for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex but the Royal family as a whole. Members of the House of Windsor have long argued that they deserve a private life despite having to endure intrusion. But Associate Editor Camilla Tominey writes that "publicity games always tend to have two players". Read Meghan's letter to her father, as published in the court ruling.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

US warning | Donald Trump could run for president in 2024 and unleash a violent mob on the Capitol once more unless he is convicted, his impeachment trial heard. Prosecutors said Mr Trump had shown "no remorse" for inciting a mob to attack the seat of US democracy and would "do it again" if given the chance. US Editor Nick Allen says harrowing CCTV will lose the former president vital public support.

Around the world: Uprising in Myanmar

The military dictator of Myanmar has warned civil servants striking in protest against his coup that they will face consequences if they fail to return to work. Gen Min Aung Hliang demanded an end to a civil disobedience campaign that has drawn in health workers, teachers, and even police officers since Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown last week. View more striking pictures from around the world.

Protesters pack the road leading to a Unesco World Heritage site in Bagan - STR/AFP/Getty
Protesters pack the road leading to a Unesco World Heritage site in Bagan - STR/AFP/Getty

Comment and analysis

You've got this: Getting you through lockdown

  1. Holiday hopes | Where and when should I book? What the travel experts are doing

  2. A year alone | 'I'm one of the super-lonely suffering from skin hunger'

  3. Big night in | How to dress for a stay-at-home Valentine's Day - and beyond

Business and money briefing

Finance face-off | In the words of ex-Bank Governor Mark Carney, the UK has been "Europe's investment banker" for years. But experts say Brussels has "never been 100pc comfortable" with London's dominance in financial services. As Europe attempts to rein in the City, Russell Lynch says Europe risks cutting off its nose to spite its face.

Sport briefing

Olympics resignation | Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori bowed to mounting pressure and resigned this morning over sexist remarks, but his replacement was not clear after opposition emerged to his favoured successor. The vacuum adds to the woes of organisers struggling to win over the public less than six months before the virus-delayed Games.

Tonight's dinner

Chicken schnitzel with brown butter and herb salad | An old-fashioned dish is made new by Eleanor Steafel with capers and lemon. View the recipe and try our Cookbook newsletter.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

Like something out of Harry Potter | It is a castle on the wind-blown Welsh coast with a royal roster. Atlantic College in the Vale of Glamorgan - better known as 'Hippy Hogwarts' - has become beloved among the international elite thanks to its mission for global sustainability. One mother of former students explains its appeal.

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