What the papers say – December 31

PA

As swathes of the country were plunged into Tier 4 restrictions overnight, most of the front pages focus on ways out of the suffering caused by Covid-19.

The Independent’s health correspondent reports the NHS is “at breaking point” as its wards have been “overwhelmed”.

The Financial Times says the surge in coronavirus cases in England paints a “grim picture” but notes the Oxford-developed vaccine has been hailed as a “game-changer”.

The i quotes Health Secretary Matt Hancock as saying he is “highly confident” the UK will have escaped the pandemic by spring.

The Daily Express says the jab means there is “light at end of the tunnel” and the Daily Mirror reports the highest daily death toll from the virus since April shows “It’s always darkest before the dawn”.

There is a “race” to roll out the Oxford vaccine “to stave off full lockdown”, according to The DailyTelegraph, while The Sun refers to the latest jab as “One giant hope for mankind”.

The vaccines being distributed around the UK will ensure freedom for the country “by Easter”, reports The Times.

The Daily Mail says the Oxford jab’s approval occurring on the same day as the latest Brexit development can be translated as “Two giant leaps to freedom”.

And The Guardian reports there is “Schools chaos” amid the latest restrictions, for which the Daily Star gives “thicko” Education Secretary Gavin Williamson a “c minus”.

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