The front pages largely feature initial findings of new research into the Omicron variant, which so far suggest it is less likely to lead to hospitalisation compared to Delta.
The i and The Independent report the UK studies suggest the Omicron variant is less severe than Delta, however the current rate of infection continues to have experts worried about its impact on the NHS.
The Times and The Daily Telegraph also run with the early findings, with the latter including Cabinet opting against a lockdown before Christmas as ministers claimed the new data “weakened” the call for restrictions despite surging infections.
The Daily Mail similarly carries the research’s early findings, with the paper saying it “vindicates” the Prime Minister’s refusal to lock down before the festive season.
The Guardian adds the NHS may still be overwhelmed despite the early data suggesting Omicron is “milder”.
Guardian front page, Thursday 23 December 2021: Risk of hospital stay is 40% lower with Omicron variant, data shows pic.twitter.com/f9wsNqbAmw— The Guardian (@guardian) December 23, 2021
The Financial Times leads with the “stratospheric” rise in gas prices and demands from suppliers for the Government to intervene ahead of a potential “national crisis”.
Just published: Front page of the Financial Times, UK edition, for Thursday 23rd December pic.twitter.com/FVXc6lEnsD— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) December 22, 2021
The Daily Mirror reports that unvaccinated “young people are dying in intensive care”, while the Daily Express carries the Health Secretary’s plea to get jabbed as Covid-19 cases continue to soar.
And the Daily Star carries fears over UK roads being the busiest they have been in five years due to “chaotic” train driver strikes.