Wednesday morning news briefing: Who will make lockdown call?

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Danny Boyle
·5 min read
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Raab - GEOFF PUGH FOR THE TELEGRAPH 
Raab - GEOFF PUGH FOR THE TELEGRAPH

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Government power vacuum with PM still in hospital

Britain's lockdown was due to be reviewed next week. But Dominic Raab has cast doubt on whether that will happen, amid growing questions over who is going to make key decisions while the Prime Minister remains in intensive care. As Boris Johnson spends another night on ICU, the Foreign Secretary - who is to deputise for the PM in key meetings - refused to confirm if a decision on easing the restrictions would be taken on Easter Monday. Political Editor Gordon Rayner reports on a power vacuum at the heart of government. Deputy Political Editor Anna Mikhailova looks at the extent of Mr Raab's powers while Mr Johnson remains in hospital. Camilla Tominey writes in this analysis that the Cabinet is split over the lockdown dilemma. With Rishi Sunak named as Mr Johnson's second "designated successor", Harry Yorke reports on claims Michael Gove was overlooked due to fears over his loyalty. And Matt pokes fun at the chain of command in today's cartoon.

Mr Johnson's condition remains "stable" as he stays in St Thomas's for "close monitoring". We can disclose that his battle against coronavirus is being overseen by the country's leading lung doctor. Dr Richard Leach has taken charge of a pioneering team of consultants monitoring the Prime Minister. These are the four stages of coronavirus treatment - from a simple oxygen mask to the "last resort" bypass machine. And these are the possible outcomes after admission to an intensive care unit.

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Second home owners 'sneak into towns at night'

Is this the start of the great Easter "sneakaway"? Second home owners have been accused of sneaking into the West Country under the cover of darkness as plans emerge for the closure of tourist hotspots over the long weekend. Amid warnings the Government could introduce tougher measures - including a ban on exercise - if social distancing rules are flouted, some local authorities have called for roadblocks to prevent people flooding to rural escapes over the Bank Holiday. To make sense of the (current) new rules for daily life, read our ultimate Q&A.

Can blood from recovered virus victims help?

It is a breakthrough described as "remarkable" by scientists. A coronavirus patient was able to come off ventilation just two days after receiving the blood plasma of people who have recovered from the virus. There is currently no treatment for coronavirus and vaccines are unlikely to be available until the end of the year at the earliest. But Science Editor Sarah Knapton reports that the first trials looking at whether antibodies of survivors can help others do the same found that all 10 severely ill patients made a speedy recovery.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Comment and analysis

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Business and money briefing

Global hit | One-third of workers around the world could suffer financial hardship as coronavirus destroys jobs, cuts working hours and slashes pay. More than a billion workers are expected to feel the effects directly, says the International Labour Organisation, with the retail, transport, food, accommodation and manufacturing industries hardest-hit.  

Gallery: Virus fightback around the world

Love-in | Stuck at home with no visitors and not much else to do, a pair of giant pandas in Hong Kong finally decided to give mating a go after a decade of dodging the issue. Read more and view our world gallery.

Ying Ying and Le Le are seen embracing in an enclosure free from prying eyes and cameras. - AFP
Ying Ying and Le Le are seen embracing in an enclosure free from prying eyes and cameras. - AFP

 Also in the news today

Royal aide | The Duke of York's former private secretary has finally fallen on her sword, stepping away from a flagship business project as it emerged that the Duke himself had also broken contact with the initiative. Amanda Thirsk announced she had resigned as CEO of Pitch@Palace - five months after it was thrown into disarray by Prince Andrew's disastrous Newsnight interview about Jeffrey Epstein.  

And finally...

Costly error | A pensioner who turned down a free Van Gogh masterpiece when her in-laws said it was worthless has admitted that she was "very naive" after it sold for an estimated £13 million. Gaye Horrell, 76, was offered Peasant Woman in Front of a Farmhouse for nothing. View pictures of the painting.