image captionAs coronavirus cases continue to rise in the UK, the issue of whether schools in England will stay closed when the new term begins makes the front of the Daily Telegraph. After it was announced that all London primaries would remain shut – in what the paper calls an “about-turn” from the education secretary – the National Education Union called for all schools to close. The government’s schools policy has been left “in chaos”, the paper says.
image captionThe Guardian also focuses on the government’s “U-turn” on schools, following what it calls a “rebellion” from councils, school leaders and teaching unions. It says the government’s hopes that the pandemic might abate in the new year “are unravelling” as the number of new coronavirus cases topped 50,000 for the fourth day in a row. The paper suggests the closing of London primary schools could prompt parents elsewhere to demand their school closes.
image captionThe coronavirus vaccine rollout also makes the front of several papers. The Daily Mail says doctors are rebelling against the government’s decision to extend the gap between administering the first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, so that more people can get the first jab. But GPs are refusing to cancel people’s second jab appointments, the paper says.
image captionThe Times has spoken to a member of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine team, who suggests two million doses of the newly-approved vaccine will be ready each week by the third week of January. It comes as pressure builds on the government to speed up immunisations, the paper adds.
image captionThe Daily Star also leads with the vaccine story, but borrows a phrase from TV personality Mr T in its headline which reads: “Stop your jibber jabber, fools.” The paper reports that “red tape” is preventing the NHS from recruiting volunteers to help with the rollout.
image captionThe i newspaper focuses on the warning from NHS staff over the UK’s rising Covid infection rate and the extreme pressure it could put on the health service. The paper also has an exclusive quote from a member of the government’s group of scientific advisors, Sage, who says hospital admissions could double before the current wave hits its peak.
image captionThe Daily Mirror takes aim at the “hundreds” of people who gathered for parties on New Year’s Eve. The paper says the “reckless partygoers” have risked spreading the virus as the number of hospital admissions rises. It quotes one medic as saying: “We don’t know when this is going to stop.”
image captionBrexit makes the front page of the Daily Express, which quotes some upbeat messages from business leaders and a government trade minister. The paper says the economy will “roar back to full health this year”, with the Confederation of British Industry saying homegrown firms will be the “beacon that guides us from the gloom” of the pandemic.
image captionThe Financial Times’ top story is also on Brexit, after the transition period ended on New Year’s Eve and the UK left EU rules. The paper says Prime Minister Boris Johnson described it as an “amazing moment” – but it suggests Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon rained on his parade as she tweeted: “Scotland will be back soon, Europe.”
image captionAnd the Sun reports that TV presenter Ant McPartlin has become engaged to his girlfriend Anne-Marie Corbett. He proposed on Christmas Eve, the paper says.