image captionA “gold command” meeting of ministers and officials has discussed extending tier four – “stay at home” – to cover more areas of England from Boxing Day, says the Daily Mail. It is one of several papers to report millions more could be placed under the strictest curbs on Saturday. Whitehall sources tell the Mail an announcement could come as soon as today – even though the next formal review isn’t until the day before New Year’s Eve.
image captionHotspots including Birmingham could enter tier four on Boxing Day, reports the Daily Telegraph. It says ministers are expected to sign-off plans for extending tougher measures at a meeting on Wednesday morning. Among the areas to be affected are those neighbouring current tier four areas, a government source tells the paper. And another source adds there is a “high chance” of a full lockdown in England in the new year.
image captionThe Sun also reports more areas face tier four from Saturday, as it reports the new variant of coronavirus has been detected in the South West, Midlands and the North of England. “Kick in the baubles,” is its headline – as it reports how French President Emmanuel Macron “caved in” to pressure to reopen the UK-France border. The British Army will help carry out Covid-19 tests on lorry drivers parked in Kent, the paper adds.
image captionThe decision to reopen the French border comes after both sides used the 48-hour ban to prepare measures to combat the new variant of the virus, the FT reports. It says 7,000 lorries are waiting to cross the Channel – and Paris has allowed a “fast-track” clearance system to operate on the route. The use of on-the-spot “lateral flow” tests means thousands can be screened in a matter of hours, the paper notes.
image caption“No room at the inn” says the Metro. The paper reports the Salvation Army has stepped in to feed stranded truckers – as some face a third night holed up in Kent.
image caption“With friends like these!” exclaims the Daily Express – as it criticises Mr Macron for “the treatment meted out to our truck drivers”. The paper says the French president was “no friend to Britain” in his handling of the travel ban – which began on Sunday and is set to end overnight into Wednesday.
image captionThe i paper says drivers were stuck in poor conditions across Kent – as the military is deployed to help clear the backlog as the border reopens. It reports the new coronavirus variant has already crossed into Scotland and Wales – and it says all this comes as negotiations for a UK-EU trade deal continue.
image caption“Trucker chaos” says the Daily Star as it picks up on the number of lorries held in Kent awaiting the border to reopen. It’s lead image – featured in several papers – shows huge numbers of vehicles stacked up on the runway at Manston Airport.
image caption“Utter chaos” is how the Daily Mirror sees it. The paper says a “huge port backlog” comes amid “rationing” at some supermarkets and amid the threat of a full national lockdown in England.
image captionNHS leaders have raised concerns about the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine, reports the Guardian. It says the government is being urged to speed-up the vaccination programme by the chair of the British Medical Association, Dr Richard Vautrey. Elsewhere, an exclusive story reports how suppliers to fashion chain Boohoo are allegedly paid just 29p per hour in Pakistan. Boohoo has suspended a supplier and a factory while it investigates the claims.