image captionNews that European countries are banning passengers travelling from the UK because of a new variant of coronavirus dominates Monday’s papers. The Guardian says France’s ban on passenger and human-handled freight transport from the UK could have a “devastating” effect on supply chains, according to the Road Haulage Association. Meanwhile, senior Conservative MPs have reacted angrily to the timing of lockdown, with some accusing Prime Minister Boris Johnson of delaying a move to put millions of people in London and the south-east of England into tier four measures in a bid to avoid parliamentary scrutiny.
image captionThe Daily Telegraph also leads on the travel ban, which, it says, threatens to disrupt food supplies, Christmas gifts and even the coronavirus vaccine. The travel plans of an estimated 250,000 Britons have also reportedly been impacted. The European Union will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss a blanket ban that could cost UK consumers £400 million in cancelled bookings, the paper adds. Meanwhile, the Department of Health has said it has contingency plans in place to airlift the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from Belgium if travel bans stay in place. And government sources have told the paper that tier four restrictions could be toughened further and be in place until Easter.
image caption“Europe shuts door on Britain” is the headline on the front of the Times. Fears are mounting there could be gridlock on roads in Kent after Channel Tunnel services were suspended from 23:00 GMT on Sunday, the paper reports. Flights, ferries and trains from Britain are expected to be banned by Brussels, the paper adds, amid the “international scramble” to quarantine the country. Freight from France can enter Britain, but some hauliers might be reluctant to make the crossing in case they cannot get back.
image captionThe Sun accuses the French government of showing “no merci” over its decision to ban all travel from Britain.
image captionThe UK has been “put into isolation by Europe” over the highly infectious coronavirus variant, Metro says. More than 190,000 infections were confirmed in seven days, the paper adds, as new cases soared 51% in a week.
image captionThe i says the new variant of the virus is “so infectious” that it is likely to delay any return to normality by four months. Tougher restrictions could be applied across the UK, the paper adds. The PM’s tier four announcement on Saturday left thousands “scrambling” to get out of London and the capital’s streets were deserted on Sunday, just days before Christmas.
image caption“The worst noël – and agony set to last months” is the headline on the front of the Daily Mail as the paper reflects Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s comments that tier four restrictions could be in place for months. Labelling the lockdown “draconian”, the paper says it could be extended nationwide. Some 16 million people are living under the tightest restrictions.
image captionThe Daily Express also leads on Mr Hancock’s comments that the toughest restrictions could stay in place for at least two months, with millions facing lockdown “misery”.
image captionThe Financial Times leads with Mr Hancock’s warnings that the mutated variant of the virus is “out of control”. Sunday saw the highest daily figure for infections in the UK, with 35,928 people testing positive for coronavirus. The mutated variant of the virus is estimated to be 70% more transmissible than previous strains, the paper adds.
image captionAnd the Daily Star labels the government’s U-turn – and subsequent platitudes – a “load of baubles”. The paper says Mr Hancock “welled up” on television on Sunday as he spoke about missing his mother at Christmas. But, the paper says, the latest restrictions are the government’s “fault”.