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Dec.15, 2021: @acenewsservices

#AceDailyNews says here’s todays Newspaper Headlines: Five-hour-long queues, swamped walk-in clinics and an overwhelmed #NHS booking website have so far characterised “Britain’s race to get boosted”, according to the i’s front page. Featuring a photograph of masked-up people waiting for their #COVID19 booster vaccinations, the i says the #NHS has declared a national incident and warned it won’t be able to meet the government’s accelerated target to offer boosters to all over-18s by 31 December more soon folks …..

The Guardian 14 December
The NHS has been put on a “crisis footing” with hospitals in England told to free up beds after a rapid rise in UK cases of the Omicron variant, the Guardian says. In a letter to hospitals, NHS England bosses have said “patients who could be discharged to care homes, hospices, their own homes or hotels before Christmas to free up beds should be” – with the Guardian reporting that hotels are now operating as temporary care set-ups with workers flown in from Spain and Greece to relieve pressure on NHS beds.

The Times also leads on the same booster warning by NHS leaders, who have told the paper they fear they are being “set up to fail” in the goal to offer all adults a booster by the end of the year. The paper says the warnings come as vaccination centres have been told to be prepared to run 24 hours a day “and through Christmas”, deliveries of vaccine doses to units have been doubled and councils, fire brigades and police have been asked to offer up any of their trained vaccinators to the accelerated rollout.

BBC News: Staff:

The Daily Telegraph also focuses on the scramble for booster vaccinations amid modelling estimating the current number of daily infections was around 200,000. The paper reports the NHS booking website was “repeatedly overwhelmed” after it saw more than 4.4m visits from people looking to book jabs – and by 17:00 GMT, just 415,000 people managed to book slots, of about 20m people who are eligible, with as many as 127,000 waiting in online queues.

“Britain fights back” is how the Daily Mirror describes the rush for booster vaccinations, with one such queue – at St Thomas’s hospital in central London – pictured on its front page.

The Metro leads on a call by Boris Johnson and the NHS for tens of thousands of volunteers to “sign up to the Omi army” to help deliver the accelerated Covid booster scheme. But the “record-breaking” rollout promised by the prime minister got off to a “shambolic start” the paper says, with “many” people who queued for six hours for a booster jab being turned away and the government’s website running out of Covid lateral flow tests after a change in the rules.

The Daily Mail also leads on Mr Johnson’s plea for volunteers to help in the booster rollout, reporting that hundreds of pop-up vaccine sites will be set up, including at football stadiums. The paper says more than a million people have either had or booked a booster in the 24 hours since the PM urged the public to take up third doses to combat Omicron.

And the Sun has a similar theme – calling on its readers to join the “Christmas Jabs Army”. Its campaign has been endorsed by the Duchess of Cornwall.

Elsewhere, the prime minister has been accused by business leaders of overseeing a “lockdown by stealth” according to the Financial Times’ splash. The paper says the PM is braced for a “massive rebellion” from scores of Conservative MPs during Tuesday’s vote on Plan B measures for England – which include advice to work from home, mask-wearing, and Covid passports to enter some settings. In light of the new rules, the FT says Mr Johnson is “under pressure” to consider fresh government help for sectors like hospitality, retail and travel.

More than one in five Tory MPs are set to oppose or sit out the Commons vote on the tougher Covid measures, with the PM prepared for a “wave” of resignations from ministerial aides over Covid passport rules, the Daily Express claims. The paper says Mr Johnson is “desperately trying” to win over critics of the new measures, warning there is “no room for complacency” after the spike in Omicron, which now accounts for a fifth of all infections in England.

“We’re all rocket scientists now” according to the Daily Star, which claims a survey has shown that aerospace engineers and heart surgeons are “no smarter than the rest of us” – except for the prime minister, Matt Hancock and Dominic Cummings, who the paper depicts as clowns.

The papers are dominated by what the i calls Britain’s “race to get boosted”. The pictures on many of the front pages demonstrate one of the problems the accelerated booster jab campaign immediately ran into – long queues outside vaccination centres. 

The Metro says the prime minister believes what it calls an “omi army” of volunteers could be the solution. 

The Daily Mail leads on the same story – saying Boris Johnson has appealed for “tens of thousands of helpers” to “deliver Covid jabs around the clock”. 

“Join the Xmas jabs army” implores the front page of the Sun. It carries a quote about the volunteers from the Duchess of Cornwall: “You make us proud and give us hope for brighter days ahead”, she says.

People queuing for booster jabs at Sevenoaks Pharmacy in Kent on Monday

With government models suggesting there were 200,000 Omicron cases in a single day, it says the NHS was last night put on to a “crisis footing”. 

Hospitals in England were told to discharge as many patients as possible – the paper says – leading doctors to call for further restrictions to be imposed to “stem the rise in cases.”

That would be no easy matter for Boris Johnson – who the Daily Express suggests is “facing his biggest revolt yet” from Tory backbenchers “furious” over the new Covid rules he’s already announced. 

The paper says he is “desperately trying to win them around” ahead of a House of Commons vote later today. But the Express says he’s braced for a “wave” of ministerial aides “quitting in fury” over new Covid passport rules. 

The prime minister is coming under pressure to consider a new package of government aid for badly affected sectors, including hospitality, retail and travel, the FT says.

After the opening of a railway in Laos, it says it’s now possible to travel from Portugal to Singapore with just a few changes of train. You’ll need a bit of time on your hands though – the 11,655 mile trip would take three weeks to complete.

#AceHealthDesk report ……….Published: Dec.15: 2021:

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