tv BBC News at Ten BBC News December 15, 2020 10:00pm-10:31pm GMT
tonight at ten: the pressure grows to change the covid rules across the uk over the christmas period. easing the rules for a five—day period is "rash" and will lead to the loss of many lives according to experts at the uk's leading medicaljournals. our health system is not going to manage if we allow the current trend to continue on top of the super spread event that will be these five days at christmas. more talks are planned between london, cardiff, edinburgh and belfast tomorrow. also on the programme... as the debate rages over school closures in england, one in five pupils were absent from class last week. more people were made redundant in the three months to october this year than at any comparable period. the hospitality industry
is badly affected. in the us, six weeks after the election, joe biden is formally confirmed as president—elect by the voters of the electoral college. and deta hedman is well known in the darts world but she's the first black woman to compete in the pdc world darts championship. and coming up in sport, on bbc news... pedro neto scores a late injury time winner for wolves as they come from behind to beat chelsea 2—1 at molineux. good evening. there's growing pressure on the four home nations of the united kingdom to make changes to the covid rules agreed for the christmas period. further talks will take place tomorrow amid concerns that the guidelines as they stand will lead to a very
significant rise in cases. two leading medicaljournals have joined forces to warn that easing the rules for a five—day period is "rash" and will cost many lives. labour has called for the guidelines to be clearer and tougher. we start tonight with this report by our health editor hugh pym. christmas mixing will be a big mistake, that's the bleak message from two publications representing health and medical leaders. if the rules agreed by the uk's administrations which allow some household mixing aren't changed, they argue that virus cases will escalate and the nhs will be overrun. the real striking, stark truth of the matter is that our health system is not going to manage if we allow the current trend to continue on top of the super spread event that will be these five days of christmas with three or more households meeting. people will find it hard to stick to those rules. but ministers were sticking
to the line that people should make their own decisions within the rules set out. we have to trust the british people to act responsibly and do the minimum necessary for them within their family situation. but we should recognise it has been a very difficult year for many families. many families will want to come together. but the government at westminster is facing calls to look again at the planned easing of restrictions over christmas. i say to everybody, look at the evidence as it is, the last two or three days have seen a spike in infections going up, notwithstanding the tiered system. we can't stand back and ignore that, this needs to be reviewed and this needs to be done pretty urgently now. and scotland's first minister suggested there might need to be a rethink. it's important we have that discussion across the four nations, given family patterns across the uk, but i do think there is a case for us looking at whether we tighten the flexibilities we are giving any further both in terms of duration and numbers of people meeting.
the politicians will have to gauge public opinion. spending time together was not going to be the best thing... joe has already cancelled a christmas trip to see his sister. i think people just have to be sensible this year. and really think deeply about what really matters to them. but others have made plans they say will be hard to change. the turkey's on order. £15 turkey. if there's onlyjill and i for christmas dinner that's a hell of a lot of turkey to eat. you're happy to have your injection today? yes. vaccination centres are now up and running including this one at barnet football club where they're hoping to get through 350 jabs each day, starting with the over 80s and the first appointments today. vaccination centres like this may have got under way but it will take at least four weeks and two jabs to build up protection and the process of getting through the most vulnerable patients will take time. and doctors in this north london area are very concerned about the rising case numbers
they're seeing now. it is a phenomenal threat, it is very, very worrying. the number of cases and results coming in with patients being covid positive and actually unwell, especially at this time of year when we have the easing of the lockdown, people are mixing with each other, mixing with families, it's rising. some european countries are tightening up in response to higher infections but allowing a little leeway over christmas. the uk's governments will continue talks tomorrow on how to strike the balance. hugh pym, bbc news. our political correspondent chris mason is at westminster. as we know the talks will take place tomorrow, are you detecting any signs that there could be changes to these christmas rules? may be a change in tone but not in the law. it has been the central dilemma for leaders in the uk and around the world, throughout this pandemic, to manage the balance between robbing
us manage the balance between robbing us of the liberties we take for granted and protecting us from the virus and what we do over christmas is the ultimate example of this. political leaders are conscious they don't want to rob people of the chance to see loved ones, a cruel end to a cruel year, but we heard the warning from the medics that frankly the relaxation could cost lives, so what can the government do? they met earlier this evening and there seems to be an agreement that they will shift the tone and the messaging that we will hear from them, so they will say that the rules are a limit and they are not a target. if you are going to see vulnerable people over christmas, like the elderly, change your behaviour now, restrict how many people you are meeting, and if you are living in an area with high numbers of the virus, think about that, and stay local if you can. the new approach is not yet signed off and there will be another meeting tomorrow involving the government
here and the governments around the uk but expect that to be what we hear from the uk but expect that to be what we hearfrom the prime minister in uk but expect that to be what we hear from the prime minister in the coming days and from the devolved leaders as well. chris mason, thanks for joining leaders as well. chris mason, thanks forjoining us. under the christmas rules as they stand, agreed by the four home nations, families will be able to travel across the uk and three households will be allowed to gather under one roof. but many experts believe these guidelines will provide the perfect conditions for a significant rise in cases. our science editor david shukman examines why. # rocking around the christmas tree... it's a precious time of year for restoring morale and scientists researching the virus recognise that. but they also know that spending long hours in packed rooms is the most effective way to spread it. on the one hand, schools will be closed over the christmas break along with most workplaces and that should help to reduce infections. but on the other hand,
having more people gather indoors is bound to increase transmission. this animation by an industrial modelling company simulates someone infected. researchers are worried. i think there's a big risk over christmas of essentially a transfer of infection from younger groups with more contacts into older age groups who might not usually have this level of mixing, especially in this kind of year. even in normal years we do see an increase in hospitalisations for things like pneumonia after the christmas period. the rule across the uk is that three different households can form what is called a bubble over the christmas period and should not be mixing with people outside it. scientists say it is within homes that the virus spreads most easily because people are so close together. on average, someone infected may pass the virus to three others so the more people in a bubble, the greater that risk. and another worry is after christmas, when people who are newly infected return home to other parts
of the country and start mixing with friends and family there. after the american holiday of thanksgiving last month, with 4 million people travelling, health officials are watching for signs of a new surge in infections. british scientists say that their studies show keeping gatherings small will make a big difference. it's easy to imagine a kind of terrible scenario but, actually, when you start modelling it, you can start thinking about how you would balance the increased risks somewhere else and how, if people who don't need to form a christmas bubble decide not to, how that actually improves the overall situation. and if you do get together, open the windows. this animation shows how fresh air helps to disperse the virus. no one can be so sure of the impact of the christmas break but there are ways to reduce the risks.
david shukman, bbc news. the latest government figures show another 18,450 cases of covid—i9 have been recorded in the latest 24—hour period. it means the average number of new cases reported per day in the last week was 19,697. 1,602 people were admitted to hospital on average each day over the week to last friday. 506 deaths were reported for the last 2a hours, that's people who died within 28 days of a positive covid—19 test. on average in the past week, there were a11 deaths per day. the total number of uk deaths so far is now 611,908. children from the most deprived areas in england have been hit hardest by school disruption, according to new research published by the children's commissioner. anne longfield warned that pupils could not afford to miss more
time in the classroom. her comments came as greenwich council in south—east london decided to withdraw its advice to local schools to close from tomorrow and move teaching online. rapid covid testing for staff and pupils is set to be rolled out in secondary schools and further education colleges in england from january, as our education editor bra nwen jeffreys reports. a school day overshadowed by uncertainty. greenwich council in london advised schools to teach online. faced with legal action by the government, a reluctant public climb—down. i think one of the sadnesses of the current situation is that we have to recognise we cannot continue to run the pandemic response entirely from whitehall and my responsibility looking at the data i have for greenwich shows clearly that the coronavirus is on the rise and we are rising exponentially and, actually, immediate action is required to address that. greenwich isn't alone. tonight islington council withdrew similar advice.
confusing for parents and schools. other areas telling schools to make their own decisions. south—east england now hit hard as the north west has been. look at this map of secondary pupil attendance this term. in the darker, red areas, it dropped as low as 50% in some places. schools in the north and midlands badly hit. now new analysis shows the poorest communities have lost the most time in school. a warning that this could widen further the gap in exam results. those children now in a situation where they have been falling behind, they need more support to be able to get to the point where they are on a par with others but really, the differentials in their learning and their time out of school really needs to be recognised in the exam system as we go forward.
rapid tests like these are part of the government response, today promised weekly for staff in england's schools from january and for pupils in close contact with a case but research has questioned their reliability. back to your point... in this essex school, parents have voted with their feet, keeping children home before christmas. the school has had more cases in the last few days than the rest of the term and now harlow is moving into the high risk tier 3. anything that gives us a safer environment, we have to embrace. ok, so, seven asymptomatic kids this week, if we know they have the virus, they are not in here and they're not risking other people getting the virus so that has to be positive. the logistics of how that happens, who enforces it, is it mandatory, who actually does the test, are we expecting 11—year—olds to be able to do that themselves? what responsibility do we have for them doing it right?
christmas, a brief respite for schools and families, with the fear cases could rise again injanuary. branwynjeffreys, bbc news. more people were made redundant in the uk between august and october this year than in any other comparable period on record, according to official data. a total of 370,000 in the three months to the end of october — when the unemployment rate rose to 4.9%, up from 4.8% at the end of september. the hospitality industry was the hardest hit. and it's about to be hit again, as london and parts of essex and hertfordshire go into tier 3 restrictions from midnight tonight, joining other parts of england. the highest restrictions mean bars and restaurants will have to close, except for takeaways, at their busiest time of the year. our special correspondent lucy manning has been speaking to some of those affected. is it beginning to look even a bit like christmas?
not when your pub is shutting, you're losing yourjob and more of your patients are getting covid. we've got a lot of people booked in, a lot of people relying on us for their christmas dinner and to see their family with us on christmas day. it's not going to happen now. the staff and everyone, all the hard work we've done, we're just devastated. havering, in east london, has the highest covid rate in the city. now london and other parts of the south east will face the restrictions lancashire, yorkshire and others have had for months, including no pubs and restaurants — apart from takeaways. but as the capital heads into tighter restrictions, in just over a week's time, the christmas rules will come in. the tiers will stay, so pubs and restaurants will still be takeaway only, but it means londoners will be travelling across the country, mixing with their families. hiba was back on the stage for the first time since march. four nights of shows,
now she's unemployed again, despite london's west end having the lowest covid rate in the capital. it was very, very emotional, a lot of tears, because we just don't know when we're going to come back again. so i think that was very, very hard, just before christmas. if we're going to be strict then we need to be strict across the board. none of us want this to still be happening and it feels a bit of a blowjust before christmas for this to happen. but rates are increasing in every borough across london. it'sjust going up and up and up at the moment and so we needed to do something very quickly, and going into tier 3 will be part of it. i think they need to think again at christmas and i think most people think of christmas as a family time and the last thing anyone would want to do is give an infection to a member of their family. so london's football teams must shut the door again. brentford fanjohn scott had just got his golden ticket to a game. it's now looking more likely that i might not see a game at all. very, very disappointing,
gutting and from a... if you like, a mentality side, it... it hurts. mental health wise? yes. it's where you meet your friends, it's a day out. from tonight, 10 million more people won't be able to sit at cafes, meet in their own gardens or go to the pub and some will lose a lot more — theirjobs and businesses. lucy manning, bbc news. social media companies will face huge fines if they fail to remove and limit the spread of illegal content under new proposed laws published by the government today. big tech firms will have to abide by a legal duty of care to protect children. our media editor amol rajan has the details. this is frida, except that's not her real name and this isn't her real voice. in her 20s now, she wasjust 13 when the grooming began online. i got a message from an older man, just "hi", friend request, whatever,
and i added him because you're 13 and just try and add whoever you can on facebook to try and seem like you've got loads of friends and stuff. i don't think it took too long for it to get into him asking for more pictures of me and then sexual pictures of me, and him sending me sexual pictures. i still haven't reported it to the police. i probably never will because of how long and painful the process can be. i talk to the technology companies that dominate the internet very, very often and they would say about this kind of thing, you know what? we've built as good technology as we can to try to detect this stuff. what would you say to them if they were in the room now? i'd ask them who is taking responsibility for this? because currently, the man who has groomed me does not taken any responsibility for what happened and the tech companies did not take any responsibility for what has happened. so the only person taking responsibility for it is me, which is horrible. i am the only one facing
up to what's happened. i now call secretary oliver dowden to make his statement. the culture secretary today outlined some of the specifics. a 13—year—old should no longer be able to access pornographic images on twitter. youtube will not be allowed to recommend videos promoting terrorist ideologies, and anti—semitic hate crime will need to be removed without delay. as part of the proposals, senior managers could eventually face criminal prosecution, though that will require secondary legislation. there will be exemptions for smallerfirms, so as not to stifle innovation. and articles or comments on news websites will be unaffected, to protect free speech. i don't think those firms are taking it seriously enough. ian russell has been campaigning on this issue since the death of his daughter molly, who took her own life. it later emerged she had seen pictures of self—harm on instagram, which is owned by facebook. there are things that they could have done better. they could have included criminal sanctions to senior management up
front and that would've put a bigger impulse to bring about change, which is much needed. urgent though these issues clearly are, these proposals have been years in the making, are largely untried and still face huge practical challenges. the sheer volume of material online puts addressing this stuff beyond the reach of mere manpower. then there's the fact that one person's online harm is another‘s freedom of expression. but despite all of that, a concensus has emerged in the west that these global data giants have had a free pass for too long. tech giants have invested billions in safety and say they welcome regulation. these new rules probably won't be in place until 2022, leaving plenty of time for their lobbying. amol rajan, bbc news. let's take a look at some of today's other news. all nhs trusts in england have been given until next monday to make urgent safety improvements in their maternity units. nhs england is demanding the changes
after last week's interim report on poor care at the shrewsbury and telford trust. women with complex pregnancies are to be allocated a named consultant, while staff will be given more training. more than 1,200 people in scotland died of drug misuse last year, the highest since records began in 1996. it's up 6% on 2018 and the figure is more than double what it was in 2014. most of those who died were men between the ages of 35 and 5a. scotland has the worst drug death rate in europe. the aston villa and england footballer, jack grealish, has been banned from driving for nine months. the 25—year—old had admitted two counts of careless driving. grealish was also fined £82,500. in the united states, one of the republican party's most prominent leaders — the senate leader mitch mcconnell — has acknowledged joe biden as the president—elect.
mr biden was formally confirmed last night by the electoral college, representing all states of the union. but there's still no acknowledgement from president trump. our north america editorjon sopel is at the white house. is there any significant support for mrtrump is there any significant support for mr trump left is there any significant support for mrtrump left in is there any significant support for mr trump left in the republican party? well, up untilyesterday, what was remarkable is how solid republican support had been for the president when you think it is over a month since it was declared that joe biden had won the presidential election campaign. but then came the vote of the electoral college and the dam is starting to break, with mitch mcconnell, the most significant voice to come out and say, enough is enough, joe biden has won the presidential election, it is time to move on. since when there have been a lot of other republican senators who have come out to acknowledge it is no biden who is the next president. there was a briefing at the white house a couple
of hours ago, where the president's press secretary was asked, does the president now congratulatejoe biden question might we were told no, there is ongoing litigation. what that ongoing litigation is, it is ha rd to that ongoing litigation is, it is hard to imagine because there have been 50 legal cases which have been heard by 80 judges, some appointed by trump and others not, some by federaljudges and others by state judges and they have got absolutely nowhere. there have been two attem pts nowhere. there have been two atte m pts to nowhere. there have been two attem pts to ta ke nowhere. there have been two attempts to take it to the supreme court, again got absolutely nowhere and now we have had the electoral couege and now we have had the electoral college certifying the result. now, joe biden may have written to santa and say what i would like is a card from donald trump saying congratulations, i concede. from donald trump saying congratulations, iconcede. forthe moment, there is absolutely no sign of that happening. many thanks again. jon sopel with the latest from the white house. the ongoing negotiations over a trade deal between the uk and the eu are being followed closely in northern ireland, given the renewed concerns over the future of the border between the north and
the republic of ireland. the long shadow cast by decades of hostility between catholics and protestants is still a hugely sensitive challenge for society. as part of the bbc‘s our lives series, fergal keane, who reported from northern ireland during the years of the troubles, has been back to meet some of those confronting the legacy of violence. belfast in lockdown, where the pandemic emptiness recalled a long—ago city, where the streets were once emptied by the fear of bombs and bullets. i've come back in a time of uncertainty to meet people struggling to break the hold of the past. my name's katriona fields. my daddy was gary mccartan and he was murdered when he was 17 by loyalist pa ramilitaries. 33 years ago, i reported on gary's death. newsreel: in the hallway of the family home, on the ormeau road, the victim of loyalist gunmen. he was the fifth member of the family circle...
the sectarian murder of a catholic teenager with a three—month—old daughter. katriona believes security forces may have helped the killers but with around 2000 unresolved murders here, answers are slow coming. yes, you learn to live with it because you've no other choice but you're never going to get over it. it's not something that can just be healed and forgotten about. can you trust the other side? and i'm shocked that i'm even using the words "the other side" all these years later after the peace process. well, yes because i have friends on the other side, a family on the other side. do you think we'll ever get away from there being an "other side"? no, never. 80 miles away on the westernmost edges of the union, the protestant graves of castlederg — a story of loss memorialised in black granite.
michael darcy, on the left, was a founder of a local loyalist band with his friend trevor donnell. there was myself and... michael was one of four band members to be murdered by the ira. it's over 20 years since i last saw trevor. so, there you are, handing out the big bass drum. yeah. that was your drum at the time, yeah? it's the way we were brought up, it's our culture to be in the loyalist bands. the band is still uncompromisingly loyalist. an effigy here of a long—ago protesta nt traitor. but in the 20 years since we last met, there's been change. the band now plays alongside catholic musicians at community
events, at christmas, raising funds for cancer research, despite criticism from some fellow loyalists. cancer has no boundaries, there's no difference between a catholic and a protestant for cancer and if we can play a bit of music at a concert or whatever to raise a few pounds to try to get a cure, well, we'll do it. hope always begins with the small acts of courage, and i was on my way to see how they can flourish. the bombing of the enniskillen memorial day service in 1987 was a defining event of the troubles. 12 killed, more than 60 injured in a no warning ira bomb. but out of tragedy, something inspiring has grown. # silent night...#. after the bombing, local parents set
up this school to educate catholic and protestant together — in a society where most are still educated separately. from 64 pupils back then to 436 now and representing an increasingly diverse community. you're forming them. you're starting their thinking. you're starting their process. you're starting theirjourney on acceptance, tolerance, respect and you want to start them the right way. do you worry that with the rising tension that's going on at the moment, people worrying about brexit, people worrying about borders, that you could go ever go back to the days of violence or do you think it's well and truly gone? no, i do worry. and you just hope that people have the sense to be brave. and you'll keep teaching, whatever happens? we have to keep going. we still have our children coming in this door. it was the same during covid,
the children still come, you have to keep them happy, secure, teach them, prepare them and you just have to get on with that. # all is bright # round yon virgin mother and child # holy infant so tender mild # sleep in heavenly peace...#. here it is the patient work of trust that best vaccinates against hatred. fergal keane, bbc news, enniskillen. and, finally, a 61—year—old postal worker will become the first black woman to compete in the pdc world darts championship, which gets underway tonight. deta hedman has been a leading figure in the women's game for decades, but this tournament presents a new challenge for her,
as our correspondent andy swiss reports. deta hedman! a sensation at 61. darts is no stranger to the remarkable, but deta hedman‘s story is something else. born injamaica, hedman moved to britain as a teenager, began playing against her brothers and never looked back. commentator: let's find out if she can manage it. oh, unbelievable! by the early 1990s, she was one of the top female players and she's now qualified to face the top men at the pdc world championship — a new pinnacle in a career that began some 40 years ago. can you remember winning your first title, when was that? not really! she laughs it's too long ago. i'm 61 now, the grey matter is going a little bit. ijust go through life as i always have, just take it in my stride. ijust look at it, ok, i'm still fairly healthy, still breathing and whatever and i willjust go and enjoy it.