image captionThe UK will open up “by Easter” says the Times which reports Boris Johnson’s pledge following the approval of the Oxford vaccine. The paper says at least two million people a week will receive a jab – with a 30 million target by the end of May 2021. It adds that work to secure enough supplies to follow through with the promise is under way.
image captionThe Daily Telegraph says the Oxford jab could “stave off full lockdown” in England. The paper reports Mr Johnson as saying that not only is there light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel itself “has been shortened and we are moving faster through it”. But the Telegraph notes that a million primary pupils in England will need to stay at home next month as “sweeping” school closures are enforced.
image caption“School chaos” is how the Guardian sees it. The paper says classrooms in the worst-hit areas of England will remain closed for at least two weeks from Monday. It highlights criticism of what it describes as the government’s “fractured approach” to the start of the new school term.
image captionThe Daily Star awards Education Secretary Gavin Williamson a “C minus” – saying he left “us all scratching our heads!!” The paper claims pupils were told to check the internet to see if they have to return to classrooms next week. Meanwhile, the Star’s most eye-catching – and outrageous – front pages from the year are printed in a special pullout.
image captionThe UK is in a “very dangerous situation” in its battle against coronavirus, says the FT. The paper reports that evidence of the rapid spread of the new virus variant “took the edge off” the approval of the Oxford vaccine. It says questions have been raised over plans to deploy it – and whether the virus can be outpaced.
image caption“One giant hope for mankind” says the Sun which depicts a needle carrying the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine blasting skyward like a rocket. The paper says 44 million people in England are now under the toughest tier measures – and it notes Wednesday’s daily UK death toll of 981.
image caption“Two giant leaps to freedom” says the Daily Mail, as the paper links Wednesday’s main news events – the passage of the UK-EU trade deal through Parliament and the approval of the Oxford vaccine. The “historic day” saw the Brexit legislation pass before the 23:00 GMT deadline – and the jab approval provided hope for millions, the paper adds.
image captionThere will be enough doses of the two approved vaccines for everyone who wants one, reports the i paper. It says Health Secretary Matt Hancock is “highly confident” the pandemic will end by the spring. But health experts warn of “over-optimism”, it adds.
image captionThe Daily Mirror reports the sombre news that the UK recorded its highest daily death toll since April on Wednesday. The paper says “another grim day” also saw 20 million more people in England move into tier four. “It’s always darkest before the dawn…” is its headline as it notes the approval of the Oxford jab.
image caption“Grim… but light at the end of the tunnel” is how the Daily Express reports the daily death toll and the approval of the Oxford vaccine. Elsewhere, the paper predicts the UK’s final exit from the EU customs union and single market will be the UK’s “finest hour”.