BBC News

Newspaper headlines: Vaccine by the weekend and care home visits return

By BBC News

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image captionThe Daily Telegraph reports that a vaccine could be rolled out by the weekend, while The Times says the government does not yet have any doses to administer

The Daily Telegraph proclaims that the NHS is to start providing a Covid vaccine "within days". The paper says Whitehall sources believe Britain is on course to be the first Western country to authorise use of a vaccine. It predicts that the Pfizer jab could be approved by regulators by the weekend and distributed within eight hours of the decision.

The Times suggests there's likely to be a lag of a week or more following regulatory approval before vaccination can begin, however. It says officials have admitted that the government doesn't yet have any doses in its possession to administer. The paper quotes a government source as saying that, this year, it may be realistic to offer vaccinations to healthcare workers, care home staff and maybe the over 80s.

"Mail Wins Care Home Hugs for Christmas" is the Daily Mail's front page headline. It hails the decision to allow care homes to welcome visitors indoors if they've tested negative for Covid as a victory for its own campaign for families to be reunited. The Times leads on the same story, cautioning that care home managers will remain responsible for setting rules in each establishment.

The Guardian reports that cultured meat, grown from cells in bioreactors without any animals being slaughtered, has been approved for sale as food. "Chicken bites" produced by US company Eat Just have apparently passed a safety review by the Singapore Food Agency. The company says the decision is one of the most significant milestones in the food industry for decades and could open the door to a future when all meat is produced without the livestock being killed. Dozens of firms are said to be developing cultivated chicken, beef and pork which, the Guardian says, would reduce the impact of production on the climate and provide "cleaner, drug-free and cruelty-free meat".

The end of 200 years of retail history is marked by the Financial Times, which puts the demise of Debenhams on its front page. It says the collapse of the chain "sends tremors through bricks and mortar retail" and it predicts a knock-on effect on other stores - with Debenhams set to offer big discounts before closing for good, leaving many shopping centres without a main attraction to lure in customers.

And as non-essential shops reopen in England, the Daily Express is launching a campaign to encourage us to "buy British" to boost the economy.

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image captionThe Queen and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh will be spending Christmas "quietly" at Windsor Castle

"Throne Alone" is the front page headline in the Metro, which says the Queen "is facing a lonely Christmas after abandoning plans for her traditional family gathering at Sandringham because of coronavirus restrictions".

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove is portrayed as a Scotch egg on the front page of the Sun - his face wrapped in sausage meat and breadcrumbs and with yolk running down his nose. The paper highlights confusion over what exactly constitutes a "substantial meal" - which from today must be served by pubs in tier two which serve alcohol. "Scotch egg on his face" is the headline. Meanwhile, the Telegraph's cartoonist, Matt, shows a dishevelled drinker staggering through his front door and clutching his stomach after a night out, telling his wife "We went on a pub crawl. I'm afraid the fifth substantial meal was a mistake".