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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 20, 2020 12:00am-12:30am GMT

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this is bbc news — with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. i'm lucy grey... new covid restrictions come into effect in london and surrounding areas — nearly eighteen million people are affected. with a very heavy heart i must tell you we cannot continue with christmas as planned. in england, those living in tier 4 areas should not mix with anyone outside their own household at christmas. italy goes into a full national lockdown — to slow the rising number of coronavirus infections there. the uk government warns the eu — there'll be no brexit trade deal without a substantial shift from brussels. and — president trump plays down the scale of a major cyber attack on us government agencies — and questions whether russia was responsible.
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tough new covid restrictions for parts of london and the southeast of england have come into effect. the measures were announced earlier by britain's prime minister — boris johnson. millions of people have been told to stay at home, not meet in each others' homes and not travel outside their local area. the announcement comes after scientists said a new variant of covid—19 was spreading rapidly in london and the surrounding area. our political editor, laura kuennsberg reports. literally i sat in my chair in floods of tears. and messaging my family, you know, what are we going to do? leslie nelsen was planning a family christmas round the table in norfolk. the spare beds are made up, the presents bought. she spent the last two in hospital and fears this year might be her last.
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now her sister can't visit and her sons can't stay. itjust seems so unfair for somebody like me, i am terminally ill, i will not be here next christmas. people can think ok, that's all right, we will celebrate christmas in the summer. i don't know if i'm going to be here in the summer. my sister is going to be sitting at home by herself hundred miles away. and her presents are under the tree. but rising alarm about the new variant of the virus has left number ten feeling there simply is no choice. christmas plans have to be dropped and a third of the population is back under limited lockdown in less than two hours. it is with a very heavy heart i must tell you we cannot continue with christmas as planned. in england those living in tier 4 areas should not mix with anyone outside their own
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household at christmas. the support bubbles will remain in place for those at particular risk of loneliness or isolation. we have a particularly fast—moving problem with increased numbers in the area going into tier 4. but a generalised increase across the country. on wednesday you told me and our viewers it would be inhuman to change the plans. and now that is exactly what you have done. aren't millions of people whose plans have just been torn up entitled to feel that you just love this too late? listen, we of course bitterly regret the changes that are necessary but alas, when the facts change, you have to change your approach. professor whitty, if someone is packing a bag right now listening to or watching this, trying to leave the south—east by midnight tonight, what should they do? my short answer would be please unpack it at this stage. rules will only be relaxed for get—togethers on christmas day in scotland, too, and the next day, all
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of scotland's main land will be under the tightest limits. rules will only be relaxed for get—togethers on christmas day in scotland, too, and the next day, all of scotland's main land will be under the tightest limits. travel to other parts of the uk will be banned. it makes me want to cry, as i'm sure listening to it, many of you want to cry. because i know how harsh this sounds. i know how unfair it is. but this virus is unfair. but the new variant of the disease is already in wales so like the south—east of england, limited lockdown is there are hundreds of people in wales who are suffering from this new variation and they are to be found in every single part of wales. and those figures are very likely to be an underestimation of the prevalence of this variation. in northern ireland, from boxing day, there will already be six weeks of tougher restrictions. but conversations are ongoing about changes to christmas plans. in the uk opposition had already called for a national rethink. i'm really frustrated because i raised this with the prime minister on wednesday and he dismissed that and went on to tell people to have a merry little
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christmas. only three days later to rip up their plans. and i think the british public is entitled to more decisive leadership than that. so plans are changing for millions. some rushing for a last—minute late—night trim before hairdressers across the south—east close again. itjust means that i'm probably going to work until 12 o'clock less than two hours until so many doors close again, less than a week until the strangest of christmases. the end of the year of bizarre traditions, few would care to repeat. laura kuenssberg, bbc news. our medical editor, fergus walsh, told us more about this new covid—i9 variant here in the uk. this new variant appears to be up this new variant appears to be up to 70% more transmissible. that's really significant, crucially it does not appear to cause more significant disease, but it makes it much harder to
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control the epidemic. now it's thought that he could push the reproductive number of coronavirus up by 0.4, it's currently between 1.1 and 1.2 across the uk. it was first identified in kent in september, it seems to be one of these spontaneous mutations. and now accounts for six in ten cases in london, and in the east of england but has spread throughout the uk. viruses mutate all the time, and itself is not a worry but sometimes when they become more transmissible they become less lethal. coronavirus is actually much more stable than flu, we need a new flu vaccine every year because it mutates such a lot. it's not that the current vaccine will still be effective against this new variant. 350,000 people in the uk have 110w 350,000 people in the uk have now had their first dose, and the hope is that most over 65
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and vulnerable will be protected by easter, but that's a long way off and it's going to meana a long way off and it's going to mean a long winter of restrictions ahead. mark lobel is our reporter — mark — these restrictions they come into force in last few minutes, it just they come into force in last few minutes, itjust announced a few hours earlier today people and businesses have not had very long to prepare, have they? that's right, just eight hours ago we heard the news and all nonessential retail shops have closed the last time before christmas. relying on these earnings the lead up to christmas after a very difficult year, and other british chamber of commerce said to through and their plans into chaos, and borisjohnson just a week ago was saying such a move would be in human, and today saying that when the virus changes its method of attack we must change our method of defence. that means for 17 million people christmas is essentially cancelled. a snapple done in the last eight hours has found that around 80%
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of people would support these measures, so the government may be able to rely upon that support. and the reason it's all happened is because of this variance. it enters of cells and bind to cells in a more effective way than the other dominant strain previously dead. that's why we are seeing hospitalisations that were this new strain is the dominant sell. it's obvious he going to be of interest to countries around the world, and england has submitted its scientific evidence to the world health organisation on friday night. they believe it began in the southeast of england in the first occurrence was noted in the middle of september and on scientific adviser saying he think that might be in other parts of the world. and the key questions about it are can it make you, is there a higher mortality rate links to it. now oui’ mortality rate links to it. now our chief medical officer was saying no but also asked if the current vaccines saying no but also asked if the current vaccines doing the rounds can protect against it,
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and he said the working assumption at the moment is that it's safe. although suggesting there that more data needed on that. and i guess we got to look now at the next two weeks. there will not be any changes the next two weeks come about by boxing day pretty much all of the uk except for small parts of england potentially will not be in it such a lock down. and the premise of raking to stress that when it comes to the new year don't expect any big changes before that. though celebrations are essentially cancelled too. in europe, italy has imposed new national restrictions to kerb rising coronavirus infection rates over the christmas and new year period. the country has recorded the highest covid death toll in europe. the measures taken by rome will come into effect on monday. people will be allowed to leave their homes only once a day but are banned from leaving their region. residents of switzerland will as of tuesday enter a ‘light‘ lockdown in which bars and restaurants will shut for a month.
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people are advised to stay at home and not travel during the festive period. austria will go into its third lockdown of the pandemic starting on december 26 until january 24. shops, restaurants and schools will be allowed to reopen the week of january 18. sweden for the first time is now recommending that people wear facemasks on public transport during peak hours. the number of people allowed to meet in restaurants has also been reduced. after falling ill with covid—19, french president emmanuel macron is said to be stable. his doctor says he's suffering from fatigue, coughing and stiffness. mr macron him himself posted a video update on twitter, saying he'll continue working on brexit and other issues remotely. so let's get more on the situation in italy where the death toll from covid is the highest of anywhere in europe italy has announced a nationwide lockdown for much of the christmas and new year period, in an effort to slow the country's rising number of coronavirus infections. bars and restaurants will be closed and movement restricted. here's our rome
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correspondent, mark lowen. paolo maccionni has lived through many vintages. the third generation to run the century—old family restaurant built on the ruins of ancient rome. but christmas 2020 might bring it all to an end. his hopes for a crucial boost after the worst year they have had dashed with another lockdown. translation: my work is my life. i have been doing it for so many years. it passed from my grandfather to my father to me. if this goes on, we are likely to close. it is terrible. i don't see a future now. not much merriness before a two—week shutdown from christmas eve, though some shops can open for four of the days. there will be strict limits on movement and only two visitors allowed per household. it is an urgent attempt to slow infections, the second wave has torn through italy crippling the poorer south this time, too. and leaving the country with the highest death toll in europe. visiting the grave today of herfriend carmen, we met anita pauletto,
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she was infected on the same day but pulled through. carmen didn't make it. translation: she was a gift to me, and i miss her. we cannot lower our guard against this cruel virus. the new measures are horribly tight. i will be on my own for christmas. but this is a matter of life or death. christmas goes to the heart of italian culture. faith, family, food. restricting it is a decision no italian government takes lightly. but by doing so, this country hopes desperately to avoid a next year as agonising as this one. who could have believed that curbing christmas is what might finally bring comfort and joy? mark lowen, bbc news, rome. the first of millions of doses of moderna's covid—19 vaccine are being prepared for shipping to locations across the united states. on friday night, the us food and drug administration granted the moderna jab emergency
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approvalfor use. this vaccine can be stored in normal freezers, at minus 20 degrees celsius. the authorities hope this will make it easier to support smaller and more rural areas. distribution of mud vaccine has already begun. they have moved vaccine from their manufacturing sites to mckesson. who will serve as the central distributor. at mckesson distribution centers, boxes are being packed and loaded today. trucks will begin rolling out tomorrow from fedex and ups delivering vaccines and kits to the american people across the united states. the israeli prime minister benjamin neta nyahu has received a covid—19 vaccination live on television. it comes ahead of a mass vaccination drive across the country over the coming days. the prime minister was innoculated with the pfizer biontech jab alongside the country's health minister. mr netanyahu said he hoped it would serve as a personal
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example and encourage the public to be vaccinated. this is bbc news — the headlines... new covid restrictions come into effect in london and surrounding areas — nearly 18 million people are affected. italy goes into a full national lockdown — no breaks a trade deal with a substantial shift from brussels. —— brexit trade deal. professor robert west is a member of the behavioural advisory group of sage — the uk government's scientific advisory group for emergencies. he says that sticking to the rules is more important than ever. even without this new variant, i think many of us felt that the relaxation of the rules over christmas with the infection rates as high as they were was not really a sensible strategy. and interestingly the population, by and large, agreed with that, and people were already mostly saying
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that they wouldn't take advantage of the relaxation but now we have this new information about this new strain, then, as you say, it's even more important. but i am pretty confident that people will abide by the new roles because they are generally worried, as you say. even though these changes have been announced today, the relaxations haven't been cancelled altogether, people can still meet up on christmas day, even if it is a shorter time. was there a sense, do you think, that people were going to break the rules so they needed to be given something to get them to comply most of the time? there was a concern about that and that was certainly factored in to the thinking about relaxations, a sort of harm reduction approach, how do you try and get the maximum adherence to the most effective social
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distancing type rules. but the situation has changed, obviously, with this concern about the new variant. but even then, before that, the public has, by and large, been a little bit ahead of the westminster government on this, in terms of saying, actually, you know what, i think we should be having stricter rules than the government are saying. the majority of people have actually favoured that. you'll always have people, it is understandable, who will say, i'm not going to abide by this but certainly in this country, they are a minority. do not get a sense of fatigue out there when it comes to compliance? there are certainly fatigue, we are all sick and tired of it, but what is really interesting, and we had studied this, looking at it over the months, you know, since the first
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lockdown, is that it hasn't translated into a reduced motivation to adhere to the rules. and i think that is ready to peoples credit that they, you know, they really are sick and tired of this but they also really understand how important it is to adhere to the rules because the virus has always done what it does and now, if we have this new variant, which looks like we have, then it is even more virulent so it is even more important. you can engage in wishful thinking or you like and hope that it is not really that bad but it is, it is exactly what it is, and people, once they come to terms with that, they make adjustments where they can. the us state of california has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic — reporting continued daily record highs in hospitalizations and deaths.
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nearly all of the state is under emergency stay—at—home orders. and with hospitals struggling to cope with demand, there are fears that the state could run out of intensive care units by new year's eve. dr peter chin—hong is an infectious disease specialist and a professor of medicine at the university of california san francisco. he says the situation in the state is reaching breaking point. it is very dire. there is a disconnect between what is happening on the outside and some restlessness and resentment between the people and what is happening on the inside of the hospitals with zero capacity in many regions of the state and filling up very quickly and others. a lot of people are putting the blame on celebrations over thanksgiving and people getting together, does that tally with what you have seen in terms of the numbers of cases? yes, despite restrictions that were recommended or imposed by the governor of california,
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50 million americans travelled and 10 million by plane. so, the estimates 88 million americans travelling over the christmas holidays, which is very frightening if you think about the surge on surge that is inevitably going to happen. in terms of intensive care units and pressure on them, but presumably this is having a knock—on across the board at hospitals as well, in terms of other treatments and the impact that will have. yes, definitely. it is not just intensive care units, it is the whole hospital. and, you know, we have medicines now, we have dexamethasone, we have remdesivir, but if we don't have enough beds or enough health care personnel to treat people, it doesn't matter if you have state—of—the—art therapies, you willjust be making decisions between life and death. such a grim situation to be in.
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i suppose there is some positive news in terms you've got the moderna vaccine being approved, you had the vaccinations on the ground? so, the impact wouldn't be felt on the population level, u nfortu nately. i think the cat is already out of the bag. in our hospital, five times increased hospitalisations from the beginning of october, but it would have an impact on the health care worker population. with the approval of moderna, we will double the amount of vaccines coming to californian from 1 million to 2 million. but we have 2.4 million health care workers so you can see it is not going to target everyone. nevertheless, by keeping health care workers safe and covid free during this huge surge, we can at least keep the staff
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available and on guard to help the sick people who come in. a uk government source has said there will be no trade deal with the eu unless there's a "substa ntial shift" from brussels in the coming days. saturday was dubbed fish day by negotiators in brussels who are engaged in a race against the clock — trying to solve one of the most thorny issues left on the table. it's understood a decision might be reached before christmas. but uk sources say it is increasingly likely the uk will leave with no deal. our political correspondent nick eardley has the details. the view in london is that there is going to have to be a decision in the next few days before christmas, and it is a big call for borisjohnson. again over whether he signs up to this trade deal, there are two things in particular on which the talks are stuck. one is state subsidies, that the extent to which governments can pour money into domestic industries to try and give them some sort of advantage in competition. both sides are worried about
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that because they don't want one undercutting the other. the second issue, one that's been issued since the start of these negotiations, it's fishing access. extent to which you both can come into waters after brexit, after the transition period ends. there has been some movement between the two sides on fishing, they are coming slightly closer together. but the view in london tonight is that they are still quite far apart. and the language coming from a government source tonight is interesting. they say that there has not been enough flexibility from eu states. not necessarily the negotiators themselves, but from eu states. the second thing they're saying if there is not a substantial shift this will end up without a deal. when you get to this point there's always some hard negotiating going on. both sides are really pushing this to the wire to try and get exactly what they want.
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but is not completely clear to me tonight that there is the political space on either side of the channel where the political will to get this done in the next few days. although we did hear from the european side that there was the desire from both sides to get a fair deal, we also heard from michel barnier, the negotiatorfor the eu will about their still being a chance of a deal even though that path was very narrow. it did sound slightly positive, but not may be quite so much now. i think it's quite hard to tell exactly how positive we should be about this, but i think the important thing to remember tonight is that this is not done. and that although the two sides looked like they have signed off on the vast majority of things, because they have come off on the vast majority of things, because they have, the things that are remaining are important, they are hard to commit that's why they have been left till last. and as i say, although both sides want a deal and are not going to walk away from these talks, both sides are also say they're not going to sign up to something that does not protect
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their interest. there's no guarantee it will be done. in other news, donald trump has dismissed allegations that russia was behind a major cyber espionage attack that penetrated several us government agencies. writing on twitter, the us president blamed the media for exaggerating the gravity of the situation and said everything was under control. our washington correspondent nomia iqbal told me more about donald trump's response to the cyber attack: he downplayed it, he blamed the media or as he likes to read that to the media as the fake news media for he says are making a bigger deal out of it. he then continued the familiar pattern of effectively defending russia and instead suggesting that maybe china was behind it. and this is direct contradiction to his own secretary of state mike pompeo who was very clear on this. he said it is russia to blame for putting malicious code into software systems of the us government and governments and other countries and companies around the world. donald trump also used those
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series of tweets to suggest that the hacking somehow impacted evoking machines, so again continuing another familiar pattern of his which is to push out those unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. but his form ahead of the cyber security agency tweeted about an hour ago to basically make the point that you can't hack paper. so, it is interesting to see how mr trump views it and as far as russia is concerned, russia has done what it always does when it is accused of cyber hacking, which is to deny it. a resta u ra nt a restaurant in singapore has become the first ever to sell chicken made in the laboratory. the culture to meet which was approved by singapore prospect food agency earlier this month was an ingredient in chicken nuggets. the restaurant owner described as a revolutionary step towards solving climate change and creating the opportunity to feed the world
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without overwhelming the planet. you can reach me on twitter — i'm @lucyegrey hello. there is some more rain in the forecast of the next few days. that rain coming on top of what we already had over the last week or so. so much rain that in some places flood warnings are enforced. you can check the bbc weather websites to see if flood warnings are affecting your area. low pressure in charge of the moment feeding showers in from the west, some of the showers continue to be pretty heavy through the day on sunday. focusing in the western areas, further east not as many showers and more generally i think the showers will become fewer and further between for a time during saturday afternoon. at the same time this band of heavy downpours will swing in through northern ireland to the far west of scotland, it will stay quite blustery here as well with gusts of 40 to
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maybe 50 mph or more in the most exposed spots. just a touch down on saturday prospect values for some of us highest between eight and 11 degrees. during sunday night we will see these heavy showers pushing across from the south without a persistent rain would push in the southern england and wales, east anglia by the end of the night. and the southern parts temperatures climbing as the night wears on, 11 degrees by five o'clock in the morning. a little bit chillier for the north. that sets us up for monday because it's his frontal sister but continues to bring rain across parts of england and wales commit some of that ring getting to southern scotland but to the south of it feeding it's a mild air or as further north some chilly air working its way in. some tipster contrasts through the day on monday. rain pushing eastwards out of eastern england, quite early on a monday but continuing across northern england up until scotland at the same time showers across the far north. brighter into northern ireland, you can see that temperature contrast. 6 degrees in glasgow, 14
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in london well above the norm for this time of year. as we head deeper into the week another area of low pressure will bring more rain for some on wednesday. that will then start to slide a wake high pressure will build in dryerjust in time for christmas but it will also start to feel quite chilly for all of us. single—digit temperatures by thursday and friday, but for most places will be dry with some spells of sunshine.
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this is bbc news — the headlines... eighteen million people in and around london are entering a new lockdown — to help kerb a variant of the coronavirus that spreads very quickly — though it's not thought to be more deadly. the prime minister said he made the decision with a heavy heart so close to christmas.
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a uk government source has warned there won't be a post—brexit trade deal unless there's a "substantial shift" from the eu. a senior brussels source insisted it was in both sides' interests to reach a fair deal. there are less than two weeks until the transition period ends. president trump has dismissed allegations that russia was behind a major cyber espionage attack that penetrated several us government agencies — as well as organisations around the world. mr trump alleged on twitter that the attack wasn't as bad as reported in what he called the fake news media. the retail and hospitality sector have faced unprecedented challenges because of the pendant. the announcement today that all nonessential shops will have to close in every guess moving into tier 4 is a further blow to retailers of the last weekend before christmas. it is our business correspondent katie


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