The national papers are running with more new Omicron findings amid record cases and a quietening of lockdown calls.

The Guardian leads with a plea for caution from Sage despite the results. Although the UK Health Security Agency study found the risk of hospital admission is up to 70% less with Omicron than Delta, Sage warned a 90% drop in severity may be needed for the wave to stop short of the UK’s previous hospitalisation peak.

The Daily Telegraph adds to its report of the same study with comments from insiders that it is “increasingly unlikely” new rules will be introduced before New Year’s Eve.  The i also highlights the optimistic findings, with the paper saying it eases the “threat” of restrictions in England after Christmas.

But the Financial Times, also leading with the new study, says Boris Johnson’s Cabinet is “deadlocked” over the question of post-Christmas curbs.

The Independent features new figures revealing NHS staff absences have risen by 50% in a week as hospitalisations rose.

The Daily Mail has a very royal-focused front page on Christmas Eve, running with the Sussexes’ new family photo and a preview of the Queen’s Christmas Day message.

The Daily Express and Daily Mirror also run with the Queen’s speech and its focus on the loss of the Duke of Edinburgh.

And the Daily Star says Nasa is being urged “to help astronauts have more sex in space”.