of coronavirus has already arrived within their borders. the world health organization says early evidence suggests the variant named omicron poses an increased re—infection risk. in the netherlands samples from 61 people who tested positive for covid after arriving from south africa are being examined to see if they contain the new strain. and germany and the czech republic say they have suspected cases. our correspondent caroline davies has more. it is all taking... stuck on an aeroplane as the authorities grapple with what to do next. jack was one of 600 passengers who were stopped at shippable airport yesterday after flying from south africa. they were kept in the terminal for hours waiting for the results of new pcr test. jack is one of 61 people
the authorities have said are positives despite being double jabbed and testing negative before flying. people were crying, babies were trying, and the said, you're going to a quarantine hotel in amsterdam and we were put into the back of a van, a minibus kind of van, that had come to be fair, it looked like clingfilm or sheets or something hanging from the top, two guys in the front in hazmat suits. have you been told what will happen next? �* ., ., ., , ., , have you been told what will happen next? ., ., ., , ., , ., next? i've not had any e-mails, no text messages- — next? i've not had any e-mails, no text messages. no _ next? i've not had any e-mails, no text messages. no phone - next? i've not had any e-mails, no text messages. no phone calls - next? i've not had any e-mails, no text messages. no phone calls or. text messages. no phone calls or anything, nothing at all. the airport says it was a unique situation and they had done their best to make sure people were comfortable. around the world countries are closing their borders to rivals from southern africa including the usa. we to rivals from southern africa including the usa.— to rivals from southern africa including the usa. we are going to be cautious. _
including the usa. we are going to be cautious, make _ including the usa. we are going to be cautious, make sure _ including the usa. we are going to be cautious, make sure there - including the usa. we are going to be cautious, make sure there is i including the usa. we are going to be cautious, make sure there is no travel to and from south africa or countries in that region, except for american citizens who are able to come back. over the course of the last few months travel has been opening up, as the doors close trying to get you keep nationals out of southern africa before quarantine hotels start tomorrow is a struggle. south africa is a huge _ start tomorrow is a struggle. south africa is a huge definition - start tomorrow is a struggle. south africa is a huge definition for - africa is a huge definition for business and visiting friends and relatives, there is lots of stress for passengers, and many of them will not be able to get home because there is not the flight up left to get them back before quarantine comes in. ., , get them back before quarantine comes in. . , ., , comes in. there are still many questions _ comes in. there are still many questions about _ comes in. there are still many questions about the _ comes in. there are still many questions about the omicron l comes in. there are still many - questions about the omicron variant, while scientists around the world what to answer them, the world's government is struggling to buy more time. and our health correspondent katharine da costa is here. in response to this new variant labour has this morning called on the government to step up the
vaccination programme, what do you make of that?— make of that? labour is calling on the government _ make of that? labour is calling on the government to _ make of that? labour is calling on the government to shorten - make of that? labour is calling on the government to shorten the . make of that? labour is calling on| the government to shorten the gap between the second dose and the booster jab to five between the second dose and the boosterjab to five months instead of six, they want extra clarity on whether it should be rolled out to those under a0 and with thejcvi will consider vaccinating those under 12. many scientists are worried about this highly mutated variant because of the number of changes in the spike protein which is the part the virus uses to break into human cells which might mean it's more transmissible or are just as some of the vaccine protection. the world health organization said there are some early evidence that might suggest this variant omicron makes it more likely you might be reinfected compared to others. and it might be driving a new wave of infection and south africa. while it looks bad in theory, scientists need more time to gather evidence in the laboratory and real world about how
the civilian response in practice. several senior scientists advising the government have said the vaccine still offers very high protection against other variants and they are still optimistic it will be effective against omicron. if it is a more transmissible variant, travel bans will delay the spread to other countries, it will not stop it completely but it buys time for governments to do vital research, stepped up surveillance and sequencing and make sure more of their population have had both vaccines and boosters.- their population have had both vaccines and boosters. two men have been killed by falling trees as storm arwen hit parts of the country with high winds, rain and snow. the storm caused damage across scotland, northern england, midlands and wales with winds of nearly 100 miles an hour leaving more than 100,000 homes without power. there are further weather warnings across the uk today, as emily unia reports.
storm arwen brought winds of more than 90 miles an hour to pummel the coast of north—east scotland. the met office issued a rare red weather warning, meaning there was a potential risk to life. i can barely stand up. sean, a storm chaser, filmed treacherous conditions near edinburgh for social media. pushing through. that is brutal. this is portobello beach in edinburgh. i have never in all my life seen a storm like this. passengers travelling from inverness to aberdeen ended up spending the night on a train. i got on the train at elgin around three yesterday afternoon, and about five o'clock, we hit huntly and we stayed there for about 17 hours. trees blew down across the north—east of england and like the rest of the country, there was major disruption on the rail network. near rochdale, 120 lorries got
stuck in snow on the m62, and there were power cuts across the north west. we've had a very high number of incidents on the network, a high volume of faults. about 7a,000 customers have had their power supply interrupted at some time, but we've restored supplies to a3,000 of those customers already. on this farm near st asaph in north wales, a shed roof blew down, damaging cars. and the bad weather also affected itv�*s i'm a celebrity, which had to be pre—recorded. a yellow weather warning for high winds across central england, scotland, wales and northern ireland remains in place until o'clock this evening. emily unia, bbc news. as officials in france continue to try and identify the victims of this week's mass drownings in the channel the bbc has been hearing from the family and friends of the first
victim identified. maryam nuri mohamed amin was a 2a—year—old kurdish woman from northern iraqa and was trying to reach the uk. lucy williamson reports. it isa it is a face that will haunt both sides of the channel. 2a—year—old maryam nuri mohamed amin from northern iraq was crossing to the uk to meet her fiance. northern iraq was crossing to the uk to meet herfiance. he northern iraq was crossing to the uk to meet her fiance. he told the bbc she had been messaging him when the boat began to lose a. in her last message she tried to reassure him that help was coming. in iraqi kurdistan herfamily�*s that help was coming. in iraqi kurdistan her family's anger assured through their grief. translation: going to britain is very difficult. she tried to go legally twice, she went to the embassy but the process was delayed. she was forced to go the way she did. one of herfriends the way she did. one of her friends has also been speaking about her death. her
humanity was _ speaking about her death. her humanity was so _ speaking about her death. he: humanity was so good, always advising me. she was like someone i looked up to for advice, so no one should try this, no one, no one deserves to die this way. this disaster has _ deserves to die this way. this disaster has changed - deserves to die this way. this disaster has changed little in the minds of people living in migrant camps here. they arejust minds of people living in migrant camps here. they are just waiting for the right weather conditions to make the same journey. take the same risks. there's been lots of finger pointing across the channel over who is to blame for the growing crisis, european interior ministers are due to meet here tomorrow to discuss the problem but at the british home secretary has been this invited —— uninvited in the middle of a diplomatic feud between boris johnson and emmanuel macron. investigations have begun to identify those who died and find out why help never arrived. harder to explain after all the diplomacy, all the deterrents, the loss of 27 lives
in a narrow stretch of sea. tributes from across the world of musical theatre have been paid to the composer and lyricist stephen sondheim, who has died. he wrote the lyrics for west side story and scores to many of the last century's most successful musicals, including a little night music and sweeney todd. stephen sondheim was described as one of theatre's greatest geniuses, who's died aged 91. history will be made at twickenham this afternoon. for the first time, the barbarians men's and women's rugby teams are playing a double bill on the same day at the same ground. the men's side take on samoa first with the women facing a springbok 15 afterwards. joe lynskey reports. archive: the all blacks _ and their opponents the barbarians take the field together at cardiff arms park.
the black—and—white hoops have stood firm for a century. the barbarians men first played in 1890. but it took 127 years for a women's side to form. well, here come the barbarians women at... barbarians are invite only — they bring players from around the world to one team. but that is hard to work through a pandemic, and the women's side now haven't played since november 2019. a two—year gap, but some have waited a lifetime. i remember being, like, 11, 12 years old, and buying a barbarian shirt, again, it was one of those things that you don't dream of because it doesn't exist. the guys went off, and all the famous names from the rugby world, played for the babas, the women just didn't do it so obviously a couple of years ago, it came about. and to be asked, for me, it's a massive honour. this stuff is really unique. on saturday the women's side play south africa, straight after the men face samoa. it is the first time both barbarians play on the same day in the same ground. and for daley—mclean,
her debut in hoops is her last match in the game. she's won a world cup and 100 england caps, and now signs off on home turf, but in a new shirt. the opportunity to go back to twickenham one more time and play with this group in the black—and—white hoops, for me, nothing will top that. yeah, this is it, one last time. they are rugby union's cosmopolitan team. they've brought this sport iconic moments. commentator: this is gareth edwards. a dramatic start! the barbarians now look for a new base of fans. their two squads have players from 1a nations. this is a fresh start for the team that is now truly for everyone. joe lynskey, bbc news. you can see more you can see more on you can see more on all of to date's studies on the bbc news channel. the next news on bbc one is at
hello. you're watching the bbc news channel with luxmy gopal. sport, now and a full round—up from the bbc sport centre. good afternoon. i'm kathryn downs with a croaky voice in the latest for you from the bbc sport centre. in tennis, great britain are playing france in their first tie at this year's davis cup finals and have got off to the perfect start. evans served for the first set but was broken to love by adrian mannarino, before breaking back straightaway. evans then won it 7—5. and then only needed the one break of serve to take the second set by 6—a.
dan evans' win gave great britain a 1—0 lead in their match against france. they're looking to take the match with cameron norrie up next against arthur rinderknech. he took the first set 6—2. he is currently down 5—7 in the second. later, in the doubles, neal skupski and joe salisbury face pierre—hugues herbert and nicolas mahut. emma raducanu's first home match since her historic us open victory will be broadcast on the bbc tomorrow. and it will be live from the royal albert hall when the 19—year—old plays elena gabriela ruse of romania in an exhibition match. the top billing is in recognition of her star status since her incredible run at the us open in september, when she came through qualifying to win her first grand slam title. coverage starts at 11.55am on the bbc iplayer, the red button, and the bbc sport website.
o nto onto football. six matches in the premier league today, with liverpool looking to close the gap on leaders chelsea later. they're at home to southampton at 3pm. there's one game approaching half time. it's at the emirates, and it's eddie howe's first game in the dugout after taking over as the newcastle manager. it's currently arsenal 0—0 newcastle. later aston villa will be looking to make it back—to—back premier league wins under new head coach steven gerrard when they travel to crystal palace. both brighton and leeds will be looking to return to winning ways in the league. norwich will be looking to make it three premier league victories in a row against wolves. liverpool's most recent top—flight game saw them beat arsenal a—0. here's whatjurgen klopp has said ahead of facing southampton. it's a good football team, i have to say, but the premier league is that strong that even if you are a good football team, you are not then in the top part of the table and you still have to fight for each point. but that is what southampton are doing, and we know about thejob, what we have to do, and the big
advantage we obviously have is that they didn't play midweek, we did, and we always said they didn�*t play midweek, we did, and we always said wednesday— saturday is not the best rhythm, but it is the rhythm we have, so we need to be as refreshed and is recovered as possible and be ready for a fight. england manager sarina wiegman said she was expecting the "toughest test" of her team in world cup qualifying so far against austria today. england are four wins from four and are playing at sunderland's stadium of light. the game got under way at 12:30, so we're heading to the break at half time. its currently 1—0 to england, alan white winning her 100th cap there. history will be made at twickenham this afternoon. for the first time, the barbarians men's and women's rugby teams are playing a double bill on the same day at the same ground. the men's side take on samoa first, with the women facing a springbok 15 afterwards. however, the men's match against
samoa hasjust however, the men's match against samoa has just been confirmed as being cancelled because of six cases in the main�*s site. however, the women's match will go ahead. coverage starts at 2pm. that's all the sport for now. you can catch more on all the stories and keep up—to—date with all the latest stories on the bbc sport website. i'm going to go and gargle some more tx mac to you. bless you, katherine! you are watching bbc news. more now on the growing number of countries, including the uk, who've announced restrictions on travel from southern africa, to try to contain a new variant of coronavirus. the world health organisation says early evidence suggests that the new variant — which has been named omicron — carries a higher risk of reinfection. earlier i spoke with dr angelique coetzee, chair of the south african medical association and a practising gp in pretoria.
we are experiencing not a very high alert or increasing numbers of patients coming to the surgeries. it's about ten a day more, but also remember since last week that we have clinically become aware of this variant that is going around. but the symptoms of these cases are extremely mild, and i would go as far as to say that this variant has been here for longer than we think, because it is very, very mild. the patients are mostly complaining about a sore body and extreme tiredness, and we see it in the younger generations, not the older people, but again it is very early days. we haven't seen anyone severely ill in the general practitioners' space. we are not talking about patients
that might go straight to hospital and be admitted. but we are also aware that the numbers are very, very slightly going up in the icus, that it is nothing compared to what we have seen with delta. we understand that this is early days, and that is why we say it is not a storm in a teacup now. but it might change. two weeks from now, we might say something different. but i'm afraid that, looking at the symptoms, i think it has been missed by other countries as well, and i want to applaud south african scientists for doing their due diligence to pick up this variant, they picked it up at the same time i am sitting on the advisable committee. when i became aware of it last week, i alerted them, and that was more or less the same time as they also started to see changes in the pcr testing from the virus strains they are testing.
so it might be contagious, but so far, very mild cases. as i said, the whole picture might change going forward. absolutely, angelique. it is very early stages, as you say. what is your reaction to countries taking precautions and blocking travel from southern african countries? first of all i think it was very premature, and i don't think that the british government should have just acted, they didn't really consult with us, it is like a kneejerk type of reaction. instead of applauding and saying, let's shake hands, we were slammed immediately with a band, so going forward, i can promise you other countries when they pick up a new variant, they are going to be very careful before they announce it, looking at what happened to us. so yes, if this variant is going to cause havoc going forward,
that is something different. but there is nothing like that yet. but i suppose, angelique, in reaction to your criticism of the speed at which countries banned travel, they would argue that speed is of the essence when you have got a virus that is this contagious and can travel quickly. the thing is, we don't know. we only picked it up last week. our numbers, it's a 9.5% increase in numbers, it is not 200 or 300,000 patients. we are standing around 2,000 patients. yes, it is an increase, but it is nothing compared to what europe and other countries
are seeing, and again as i have said, it might be currently mild, we don't know what is going to happen, but at least it would have been better if there was a time where we can say, listen, we might impose restrictions on your country going forward, or for your own people travelling to south africa, butjust to come up overnight and slam us, i think that is a bit premature. remember what i'm saying for now, we are seeing mild cases, and it is really mild cases. we have so far been able to treat everyone at home from the gp fraternity, not speaking about the unvaccinated ones that might end up in icu, but we will only know weeks from now on. angelique coetzee from the south african medical association. england's chief medical officer, chris whitty, has said his "greatest worry" is whether people will accept new measures to tackle covid variants. professor whitty told a panel discussion hosted by the uk
local government association that he questioned whether people would comply if restrictions had to be imposed. he then went on to say that he did think the public would be brought on—side. stephen reicher is professor of social psychology at the university of st andrews, and a member of sage's subcommittee advising the uk government on behavioural science. he's been telling us about the importance of getting the message across in the appropriate way. i think it is really important to acknowledge how chris whitty has changed his position. the greatest error in behavioural science was the notion of behavioural fatigue early on in march last year, where it was assumed that people were not able to deal with restrictions, and as a consequence, we had to delay the measures taken against the first wave.
and so we did delay, and it's estimated that probably tens of thousands of people died as a consequence, and we discovered that the notion of behavioural fatigue was just plain wrong. people showed remarkable resilience, even though they were suffering, and they showed resilience because they came together collectively, and we supported each other and we understood why it was so critical to act together. now, this time, chris whitty, he still has doubts, and of course we all have doubts because we can never have a crystal ball to say exactly what will happen, but this time he says, i think people will go along with measures, but he makes another point that is critical, and that is the major issue is not fatigue, it's not whether people have enough resilience, resilience isn't the issue. trust is the issue, trust in government, and that's why there needs to be full transparency about information so people understand that this isn't something done to them, it is done for us and with us, for our own good, and i think that means we need to do more
than just have transparency. we need to listen to people, we need to support people, we need to protect people. if the government understands the centrality of trust and building trust, than i think we have a much more positive outlook than if suddenly things are imposed without really explaining why. but, stephen, isuppose given the year and a half that many people have had, even if ideally we would like people to be on board, and even if people do have trust in the government and believe that these covid measures, which are obviously abstract and theoretical at the moment, in future measures are necessary, there's no getting away from the fact that for some people further measures or any lockdown measures would be catastrophic for their careers. so, realistically, we can't hide from the fact that there are some people who would have fatigue. we all have fatigue. i remember in the first lockdown back at the time when dominic cummings had gone to barnard castle, that same evening
there was a piece on the channel a news about a family, a black single mother who had covid and her ten—year—old daughter was looking after the four—year—old, and they were living on watered—down baked beans, incredible suffering. that incredible resilience, and incredible support, because they understood the importance of it. so yes, people are fatigued, and yes, it's difficult, but if they understand the reasons for the measures, people still have that grit and resilience. especially if we revive that sense of community. resilience isn't something that happens within us, to something that happens between us when we realise we are all in this together and we begin to support each other. up and the country, up to 1a million people were involved in mutual aid groups. that is quite remarkable, and we begin to forget that, so we need to go back to that sense that it is not about me, it is not
about personal responsibility, it is about us and about social responsibility, and building that sense of community i think is our best asset in this pandemic. when the taliban swept to power, they inherited an economy that was reliable on foreign aid. all of that has now changed, and staff at local clinics have not been paid in three months. there are warnings medicines are running out. the bbc�*s world affairs editor, john simpson, travelled to a clinic in the hills south of kabul to see the impact the taliban's international isolation is having on ordinary afghans. the clinic here in musayyib is typical of the local healthcare system that was built up in the last 20 years with foreign help. not much to look at maybe, but highly effective. and then the taliban got back into power. instantly, the world bank,
which had been paying for almost the whole of afghanistan's health care, cut off the flow of cash to the country. this is the result. up to nine million people could be on the verge of famine. unicef was saying up to one million children could die of malnutrition. it's a humanitarian catastrophe is what it is. with no international money coming in, clinics like this are in dire trouble. this is the pharmacy. normally, the cupboards would be packed with medicines. now they're running out really fast. the collapsing economy and the foreign sanctions against the taliban mean people can't buy food. the result is malnutrition, and it's starting with the children.
translation: there will be a huge health crisis. - there will be no medicine and people will face massive problems. even health care staff will leave. the health care services will collapse. we will start to see lots of mothers and children dying. as winter approaches, the cuts which the world bank and foreign governments have introduced are having a greater and greater effect. in offices and government ministries, thousands of miles away from here, serious men and women are taking decisions to try to force the taliban to behave better in government. but it's these people here right down on the ground who are paying the price for those decisions. it will take time for the outside world's financial pressure to have an effect on the taliban — if it even does. they're guerrilla fighters, after all, used to living rough.
it's the ordinary people of afghanistan with no resources and no protection who will suffer. john simpson, bbc news, musayyib. now it's time for a look at the weather, let's cross the newsroom. nick, what is the latest with that situation? the storm is beginning to move away, but make no mistake it is still very windy out there, and there are still gusts along the north sea coast near 60 mph or so, so big and dangerous waves and along with that some cloud, some rain and sleet and snow mixed in at times. some nasty condition still around, particularly eastern parts of england and further snow showers in northern scotland. elsewhere a little sunshine to be have, they are slowly moderating into tonight with the wind and temperature here