England facing another lockdown and Brexit talks being bogged down dominate the papers, along with controversy surrounding a senior Conservative.
The Daily Mail says the country is on the verge of “the bleakest midwinter” due to the impending tightening of restrictions to fight the spread of Covid.
Southern hotspots in particular face the threat of a new lockdown, The Times reports, amid fears London commuters are driving up a new wave of infections.
The Times 18/12/20Â Â— The Times Pictures (@TimesPictures) December 17, 2020
It looked like summer but it was a chilly dip for Edinburgh students in the Firth of Forth. Photo : Arch White/Alamy#tomorrowspaperstoday #thetimesÂ #buyapaperÂ @thetimes pic.twitter.com/xlv4gxB8Sx
The i says “millions more” will be “trapped” in the toughest tier restrictions in the south and the east of England.
And the Daily Mirror calls the coming shifts in pandemic-related measures “Tiers before bedlam”.
Tomorrowâs #frontpage - TIERS BEFORE BEDLAM - 38million under toughest rules.. until Xmas free-for-all 4 days later #tomorrowspaperstoday— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) December 17, 2020
Read more: https://t.co/tEPIVTM5em pic.twitter.com/1zSN5Hu1hm
Meanwhile, Brexit trade talks have become bogged down again, this time in a dispute over state aid, according to the Financial Times.
The Daily Express says Boris Johnson and the EU remain “poles apart” in their negotiations.
And The Daily Telegraph says the Prime Minister has urged the EU to take the final steps on fishing and state aid to close the deal, while also reporting a third lockdown is looming for England after Christmas.
The Guardian leads on a shortage of hospital beds amid the pandemic, while also reporting Ms Truss, the women and equalities minister, has been caught up in a race and gender row.
Guardian front page, Friday 18 December 2020: Revealed: more hospitals short of beds amid coronavirus surge pic.twitter.com/LoIwMynhfX— The Guardian (@guardian) December 17, 2020
The Independent reports on Ms Truss and her Thursday speech on equality, saying she has been “condemned for belittling racial injustice”.
Metro carries a story on the plight of health care workers amid the coronavirus crisis, with 39% of Britain’s nurses saying they had missed meals because they are so poorly paid.
The Sun splashes on Sir Paul McCartney’s plans to be vaccinated against Covid, riffing on a Beatles hit with a headline of “Get Vacc”.
And the Daily Star leads on a coming “hair crime apocalypse”, with reports the mullet is making a comeback.