Preliminary UK studies suggesting that people with the Omicron variant of Covid are at lower risk of being admitted to hospital make the lead for most of Thursday’s papers.
The Times says they offer early support for Boris Johnson’s decision to pause further restrictions in England.
Similarly, the Daily Mail says the eagerly awaited findings vindicate his decision to hold fire.
According to the Daily Telegraph, cabinet ministers and Tory MPs say the research “weakens” the need for more restrictions.
One cabinet minister is quoted as saying that if hospital numbers do not grow, it could represent a “killer blow” against those in the government who support more rules.
Emergency cabinet meetings and the possible recall of parliament early next week are now thought to be increasingly unlikely, the paper adds.
But the i says researchers believe it is too early to say categorically that Omicron is milder than Delta because there may be other factors affecting the situation such as age and the relative levels of vaccinations.
The Guardian adds that as daily Covid cases topped 100,000 for the first time yesterday, experts warned that high transmissibility meant the NHS was still at risk of being overwhelmed.
It says prices remain at unprecedented levels – and ministers are understood to be considering a number of options to mitigate the impact of the jump in household bills.
The Sun reports that people who cross the Channel in small boats could be fitted with electronic tags to monitor their whereabouts.
It says the measure – being drawn up by the Home Office and a Cabinet Office task force – aims to deter others from making the dangerous crossing.
The paper’s leader column says whether the idea survives contact with human rights judges and activist left-wing lawyers is another matter entirely.
British Overseas Territories have for the first time become eligible to apply for city status, in a competition for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – and the Telegraph is optimistic about their chances.
It points out that Port Stanley in the Falklands – with a population of about 2,500 – might seem small for a city, but St Davids, in Pembrokeshire, is a city with a population hundreds smaller.
And like St Davids – it adds – Port Stanley is suitably fitted out with an Anglican Cathedral.
Finally, Uber has revealed the most popular destination for its passengers in the whole of Europe during 2021.
According to the i, it was Selfridges, the department store on Oxford Street, as people raced to go shopping and clubbing in the area following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
The paper says more than half a million Uber trips were made there, beating the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
In the UK, the second most popular journey was to the London Eye, followed by Buckingham Palace.