Newspaper headlines: New booster target and 'don't cancel Christmas' – BBC


By BBC News
Staff

A number of front pages highlight what the Guardian calls Boris Johnson's "clash" with health officials over the new Covid rules, after the head of the UK Health Security Agency, Dr Jenny Harries, suggested people should cut back on unnecessary socialising over the festive period.
The prime minister then "contradicted" that advice, reports the Guardian, as he urged people not to cancel their Christmas parties or nativity plays.
The Mail says Mr Johnson rejected "alarmist rhetoric" about the threat posed by the new Omicron variant by calling on people to "keep living your life". The Star is confused; "party snogs are off this festive season – or maybe not", it says, describing the row as "mixed messages for Christmas smoochers".
The main news for the Telegraph is that some of the latest Covid rules have been enshrined in law until March. It says the requirement to self-isolate for 10 days if you come into contact with someone infected with the Omicron variant has sparked fears among some Conservative MPs of a new "pingdemic" – with healthy people being fined if they leave their homes.
The paper's leader column is concerned that a "disconcerting sense of deja vu lies heavy in the air". It says it understands the government is being ultra cautious but argues that with only 22 cases of the new variant in the UK "we are a long way from knowing whether it will supplant the dominant strain".
The acceleration of the rollout of booster jabs is featured by the Times. It says the prime minister has pledged to "throw everything" at the vaccine drive to combat the Omicron variant, with the aim of allowing more than 23 million people to be able to book a third jab by the end of January.
"Armycron", says the Metro's headline, noting that 400 troops will be involved in helping to deliver the boosters. Writing in the Sun, Mr Johnson issues what he describes as "a call to arms and a call to get jabs in arms", urging people to both come forward for a booster and volunteer to administer the shots to others.
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The Mirror claims Mr Johnson and his staff have been accused of breaking Covid rules by enjoying crowded parties last year. It says the prime minister gave a speech at a leaving do in Downing Street during the second lockdown last November before members of his top team held an unofficial Christmas party the following month.
Up to 50 people are alleged to have been crammed "cheek by jowl" at both events. The paper's leader column says the incidents show the "reckless hypocrisy of a prime minister incapable of leading by example". Downing Street has told the Mirror Covid rules "have been followed at all times".
The latest assessment of Britain's most endangered birds is front page news for the Guardian, after the so-called "red list" increased in size to 70 species.
The paper says this is more than a quarter of Britain's 245 bird species – and almost double the number when the list was first compiled 25 years ago. Swifts, house martins, greenfinches and Bewick's swan are among the species now considered at risk.
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