Our theatres are dark – and in danger

Car showrooms are open again: some dealerships, with a hint of forgivable hyperbole, report a surge of pent-up demand. And after building only 197 new cars this April, compared with 71,000 in April 2019, car factories are returning to production — even if under new safety rules that will slash productivity for the duration and accelerate the shift to job-eliminating robotics for the longer term. But still the Daily Telegraph offers an uplifting glimpse of Land Rover’s Solihull plant emerging from hibernation: ‘At 5 a.m., as the first shift came in, every production manager was out in the car park to greet returning staff.’ Perhaps most importantly, Nissan made two

Portrait of the week: Unemployment up, bathers banned and Corbyn’s brother arrested

Home The United Kingdom seemed reluctant to come out of its lockdown. ‘We are likely to face a severe recession, the likes of which we haven’t seen,’ said Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Unemployment rose by 856,500 in April to 2.1 million. More than two million claims had been made for the grant scheme for self-employed people. The government was estimated to be paying ten million of the UK’s 27.5 million private-sector workers. At quiet railway stations, wardens supposedly trained in crowd control stood around talking to each other. Police in England and Wales issued 14,444 fixed penalty notices for breach of the coronavirus regulations up to 11

Portrait of the week: Coronavirus hits cabinet, EasyJet grounded and postman soldiers on

Home Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, contracted the coronavirus disease Covid-19, as did Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary. The Prince of Wales had earlier been tested in Scotland and isolated himself with the disease for a week. Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser, also isolated himself after suffering symptoms, as did Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief strategist. By Sunday 29 March, 1,228 people in the United Kingdom had died of the disease, compared with a total of 281 a week before. Two days later the total was 1,789. Two more temporary hospitals, in Birmingham and Manchester, in addition to the Nightingale Hospital in the London docks, were being