image captionThe new Christmas restrictions announced by Boris Johnson dominate Sunday’s front pages. “Christmas cancelled for millions” is the headline leading the Sunday Telegraph, with families’ plans thrown into “chaos”. England’s chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty advised those placed under tier four – the latest and highest level of restrictions – to unpack their bags. From midnight, London and large parts of south-east England are in tier four and will not be allowed to mix with anyone not in their household. In the rest of the UK, relaxed indoor mixing rules have been cut from five days to just Christmas day. The announcement came just three days after the prime minister pledged not to cancel Christmas, the papers adds. The tougher restrictions come after scientists said a new coronavirus variant was spreading more rapidly.
image caption“Bozo stuffs Xmas” is splashed across the Daily Star Sunday, accompanied with a photo of the PM’s head superimposed on the body of a turkey. Describing Mr Johnson’s tier four announcement as “brutal”, the paper says the government’s U-turn has put millions into “lockdown 3”.
image captionThe Sunday Express says Mr Johnson is “bitterly disappointed” to cancel festivities, blaming the “fast spreading” new coronavirus variant.
image caption“When the virus changes its method of attack, we must change our method of defence,” Mr Johnson said at Saturday’s Downing Street briefing, the Sunday Times reports. The new variant is thought to account for the majority of new infections in London, the paper adds. Meanwhile, ministers have alerted the World Health Organisation to the outbreak and expect other countries to prevent UK residents from crossing their borders.
image captionThe Mail on Sunday asks: “Will this nightmare ever end?” Despite his efforts to blame the U-turn on the new variant, Mr Johnson is facing fury from Tory MPs, one of whom said “heads must roll” if scientists had not provided enough warning to ministers, the paper adds. In happier news, comedian Bill Bailey features on several of Sunday’s front pages after he was crowned this year’s winner of Strictly Come Dancing.
image caption“Lost Xmas” is the headline on the front of the Sunday Mirror as the paper reflects the “public fury” over the government’s last-minute announcement.
image captionAnd the Sunday People says the PM was “grim-faced” when he issued the latest guidance. When asked if his original promise of a five-day festive relaxation of the rules was reckless, Mr Johnson said: “No, we’ve always taken account of scientific advice.”