What the papers say – December 19

The lingering prospect of a third national lockdown in the UK leads many of Saturday’s papers, while developments on another Covid-19 vaccine, Brexit and Strictly also feature on the fronts.

The Daily Mail writes ministers are drawing up a new Tier Four as a way of avoiding a third national lockdown as the paper reports on alarm over a “deadly surge in virus cases”.

The DailyMirror says Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not ruled out “new year national curbs” as the R-number has reached between 1.1 and 1.2, while the i says a third lockdown “looms across UK”.

The Times says proposals for home testing kits, said to be vital to avoid a third national lockdown, have been blocked by the regulator after it considered they are not accurate when self-administered.

While TheGuardian writes plans to mass test secondary school pupils are “in disarray” after unions said it was “inoperable for most schools and colleges”.

Approval for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine should come before January, reports The DailyTelegraph.

And the Independent says London will run out of hospital beds by January 5 after a rise in Covid-19 cases in the capital.

Elsewhere, the FT Weekend writes French customs officers will be deployed onto Eurostar at the end of the Brexit transition period to monitor goods entering the EU.

The Sun says the Duchess of Cornwall is to appear at the Strictly Come Dancing finale after voting every week in the TV show.

The Daily Express says this year’s Queen’s Speech will be “kept under wraps” to make a “dramatic impact” on the nation.

And the Daily Star leads on its campaign to make 2021 the year of the mullet.

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