What the papers say – December 29

Many of Tuesday’s front pages feature mounting demands for the Government to keep secondary schools closed in January over surging coronavirus infections.

The Times says Boris Johnson is “under pressure” from Cabinet ministers and scientific advisers to delay school reopenings, while The Guardian reports the Government is “split” over the matter.

Robert Halfon, chairman of the Commons education committee, is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying keeping schools shut could “embed a new epidemic of education poverty in this country”.

The Government has been warned it needs to double the current target for coronavirus vaccinations to avoid a third wave, according to The Daily Telegraph.

NHS chief Sir Simon Stevens tells The Sun 22 million Britons will be vaccinated by spring, in what the paper describes as a “much-needed dose of optimism”.

The Independent reports NHS data shared with hospital bosses on Monday shows England’s hospitals “now have more coronavirus patients than at any other point in the pandemic”.

An agreement signed with Turkey means Britain now has trade deals with 62 countries and is “heading for a post-Brexit boom” worth £900 billion, the Daily Express says.

The Financial Times reports the EU is expected to sign a business investment deal with China this week which will “likely” cause friction with incoming US president Joe Biden.

And British explorers in Antarctica are “planning a wild and boozy New year’s Eve megaparty” without any pandemic restrictions, according to the Daily Star.