Most of the UK national papers were splashing on some permutation of coronavirus Christmas crisis on Friday morning.

Allie Hodgkins-Brown
(@AllieHBNews)

Friday’s GUARDIAN: “Revealed: more hospitals short of beds amid coronavirus surge”#TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/VZLpzUsgi7

December 17, 2020

In this morning’s Guardian, my colleagues Denis Campbell and Nicola Davis report that growing numbers of hospitals in England are running short of beds and having to divert patients elsewhere and cancel operations.

According to the NHS figures, hospitals had to tell ambulance crews to divert patients elsewhere 44 times last week – the highest number for four years.

With hospitals in London, Leicester and Northampton particularly hard hit, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, warned: “It already feels like we’re in the grips of a really bad winter, and there’s a very long way to go.”

Allie Hodgkins-Brown
(@AllieHBNews)

Friday’s TIMES: “Southern hotspots in danger of lockdown” #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/kJWdWfvtHv

December 17, 2020

The Times reports on the prospect of further restrictions on coronavirus hotspots in the south east of England, “as fears mount that London commuters are driving a wave of infections in southern England.”

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, put the home counties into the toughest measures yesterday and urged people in Kent to “behave as if they have the virus”.

Mr Hancock is understood to be considering additional curbs, including closing non-essential shops, for the worst affected areas if mass testing fails to check the wave’s momentum.

Allie Hodgkins-Brown
(@AllieHBNews)

Friday’s Daily MAIL: “The Bleakest Midwinter” #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/61kS94P7Ek

December 17, 2020

According to the Daily Mail, Britain faces “the bleakest of midwinters” and a potential third national lockdown.

Tier Three restrictions were extended yesterday so that two thirds of homes in England – and 38million people – can now expect to go into the new year under the toughest curbs.

Swathes of the Home Counties will join London in the highest tier tomorrow while Manchester and the North East were told they could not move down a grade despite recording fewer cases.

Experts fear the decisions will not be enough to avert more draconian measures because Covid is surging nationally.

Tomorrow’s Papers Today
(@TmorrowsPapers)

Friday’s Mirror: TIERS BEFORE BEDLAM – 38million under toughest rules.. until Xmas free-for-all 4 days later #TomorrowsPapersToday #DailyMirror #Mirror pic.twitter.com/jvEkyyQV7U

December 17, 2020

There will be “tiers before bedlam”, pronounces the Mirror, as it notes that millions more people in England will be put into the tightest level of coronavirus restrictions short of a complete lockdown – only for rules to be lifted again for Christmas.

MILLIONS more people will be put into Tier 3 tomorrow, days before rules are relaxed for Christmas.

Swathes of the South will face the toughest rules, with 38 million people now in Tier 3. Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth begged Matt Hancock “think again” on the festive break.

Tomorrow’s Papers Today
(@TmorrowsPapers)

Friday’s i: “Millions more trapped in toughest tier” #TomorrowsPapersToday #iNewspaper pic.twitter.com/nlSbAtKQky

December 17, 2020

The i notes Matt Hancock’s warning to people in England that “we mustn’t blow it now” after he refused to ease covid restrictions in the north and tightened them in the south.

But the Health Secretary’s highly cautious approach provoked a backlash from council leaders and MPs who accused him of failing to consult over the decision and piling economic pain on their areas.

Tomorrow’s Papers Today
(@TmorrowsPapers)

Friday’s Sun: Get Vacc #TomorrowsPapersToday #TheSun #Sun pic.twitter.com/4EAG2K9PBp

December 17, 2020

And the Sun reports that Paul McCartney, the musician, has said that he will have the coronavirus vaccine as soon as he is able to get it.

The Get Back songwriter, 78, pictured, said: “The vaccine will get us out of this.”





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