Skip to main content

tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 18, 2021 11:00am-11:31am GMT

11:00 am
this is bbc news. these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world. tighter covid restrictions across europe as nations battle to contain the spread of the new omicron variant. uk government scientific advisers warn that tougher covid restrictions are needed "very soon" to prevent a big rise in hospital admissions in england. shopping centres and football stadiums will be among nearly 3000 venues in england offering booster jabs this weekend. some will open round—the—clock. the uk's top civil servant steps down from running an inquiry into downing street parties because of an event in his own office. the british socialite, ghislaine maxwell — who denies sex trafficking charges in the united states — has told the court she won't be giving evidence. and a typhoon that hit
11:01 am
the philippines on friday is now known to have killed at least 31 people. hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. the french prime minister, jean castex, has likened the spread of the 0micron variant of coronavirus to lightning, as he announced new measures to slow its advance. mr castex said major public parties and firework displays on new year's eve would be banned. the rapid spread of 0micron has seen a raft of new restrictions brought in across europe. lucy grey has this report. as countries across europe brace themselves for a sharp rise in cases due to the 0micron variant, hospitality and travel are the main
11:02 am
targets for the new restrictions. the 0micron variant of the covid—19 virus is exploding throughout europe. it is here, it is in our country. and we are going to see a massive rise in infections. in ireland, all restaurants, bars, cinemas and theatres will have to close at 8pm from sunday, although weddings for up to 100 people will be allowed until midnight. the government is promising new financial support for companies after warnings that the new rules could cause up to 70,000 job losses. this was the scene at london's eurostar late on friday as britons rushed to try to get over to france before it closed its borders to uk passport holders. the french government has banned major public parties and fireworks displays on new year's eve and the army has been brought in to help with the boosterjabs and ministers have approved the use
11:03 am
of vaccinations for children from the age of five. record numbers of new cases in denmark have brought restrictions on restaurant opening hours, too, and cinemas, theatres and concert halls are closing. in switzerland, from monday, you will have to show proof of vaccination or recovery from covid to be allowed into restaurants or a negative test result to get into bars or nightclubs. the german government is warning that the next wave will be a massive challenge for its hospitals and society as a whole and has banned unvaccinated people from restaurants and nonessential commerce. french and danish travellers who have not been vaccinated will now have to quarantine on arrival in germany. with health care systems across europe under strain, the head of the european commission says that vaccination is key. we know that our health care systems are overstretched right now and this is partly linked to the large number of unvaccinated patients, so in conclusion, the answer can only be to increase vaccination to include children over five years of age, boosting and protective measures, that has to be the answer that we give to this new variant.
11:04 am
and in the netherlands, is the health care system deals with an influx of covid patients, routing care and all but urgent operations have been postponed. dutch ministers are meeting health advisers on saturday after they recommended that the country go into a strict lockdown. lucy grey, bbc news. i've been speaking to the epidemiologist catherine hill, who's based in paris. i began by asking her about the situation right now in france. we have little 0micron from the time being, but a lot of delta and we are in the middle of a fifth wave with 50,000 cases diagnosed every day, increasing numbers arriving in hospital every day, an increasing number arriving in icu units. they have begun transferring patients from marseille to brittany, which is a very long travel for people in intensive care. because the hospitals are already submerged in some parts of france, so the situation is really not good.
11:05 am
that paints quite a clear picture, then, with patients having to travel long distances for treatment. in terms of the measures to try to control the spread, obviously the borders with england have been shut now. what impact do you think that will make? pretty much zero. the 0micron is already in france and a lot of people travelled before yesterday and so, you know, closing borders simply does not work. it makes no difference. ok, so what measures do you think should be in place? what would make a difference, and what is being done? what's being done is pretty much as many booster doses per day as the uk, ijust heard 900,000 yesterday in the uk, and that was pretty much the same number in france, so we are doing a lot of boosterjabs. but we are not very
11:06 am
good at vaccinating... delivering primary vaccinations to older people. there are still more than five million people aged 12 or over who could be vaccinated and have not been vaccinated at all, including 13% of the people aged 80 plus. so these people who are very high risk, a lot of them have not been vaccinated so that is really a problem. so when you look at the spread of 0micron in france and say obviously it's delta currently that's causing the problems and hospitalisations are increasing, what is your reading of the impact of omicron? we know how quickly it's spreading, we are increasingly getting data after it first emerged at the end of november, it was officially identified in south africa at that point, but what is your sense on the data so far as to how serious 0micron is going to be? well, there is not much sequencing.
11:07 am
the number of sequences with 0micron found so far is something like of the order of a few hundred. i think you probably have to multiply that by four, because about one test in four is being not sequenced, but tested with pcr tests that lead to suspicion of 0micron. so we have not very good estimations, but it's increasing fast and it's going to be dominant in a few weeks, like everywhere, i think. covid case numbers are also rising sharply across large parts of the united states, with new york reporting its highest daily number of new infections. there've been long queues at testing centres in the city, and some broadway shows have been cancelled. unveiling a raft of new measures to try and control the spread— the outgoing mayor of new york bill de blasio explained the situation now facing new yorkers. it is clear that the 0micron variant
11:08 am
is here, in new york city, in full force and we are announcing a series of measures to address the situation. obviously we knew 0micron was here and we knew it was going to be more of a presence in our city. it is now quite clear that it is. scientists advising the uk government on coronavirus say more stringent restrictions will need to be implemented "very soon" in england if ministers want to prevent hospital admissions reaching 3000 per day. the comments are included in leaked minutes from a meeting of the scientific advisory group for emergencies, or sage. the government's cobra committee will meet this weekend, to discuss the spread of the omicron variant. professor neil ferguson — who sits on the group — told bbc radio 4 that the situation looks precarious the epidemic of 0micron is in london, very obviously now, but it is not obvious in every
11:09 am
region, so we think 0micron is doubling in case numbers every three days or so at the moment and that will become more apparent across the entire country in the coming week. the thing we are most anxiously looking at and analysing is what is happening to hospitalisation numbers, because that is really the key indicator in terms of how well we are coping with this epidemic. and we see quite a significant surge of hospitalisations in london, the region which is most ahead, but less of an indication in other regions. 0ne bit of good news is that the booster programme really has accelerated this week. we were up to nearly 900,000 boosters given yesterday and that has almost doubled in the matter of the few days and everything we can do to boost immunity in the population is going to be good news going forward. 0k.
11:10 am
but as far as hospitals are concerned, we can see from the leaked minutes of sage that they say without extra restrictions, the number could peak at 3000 a day or more and that in england, in the last winter, at the height of the last winter wave, it was 4000 people admitted to hospital in england every day with covid. are you saying that with the infection picture at the moment and with the doubling rate, that we might well be heading for a very serious position with hospitals in the next few weeks? yes, and i think everybody, i mean chris whitty is said exactly the same in his last press conference, that is the major concern and we will be able to be more certain of that scenario, exactly what we are heading into, in the next few days and i think with the increasing amounts of data coming in, there is a real concern we will be heading into something which has the risk of overwhelming the health service. the nhs in england says boosterjabs
11:11 am
will be available at nearly 3000 locations across the country this weekend, in response to the spread of the 0micron variant. 0ur reporter, ben boulos, is at a vaccination centre in north london which is staying open for 2h hours. here at this vaccination centre in north london, they have been going throughout the night, running what they call a 24—hour jabathon. they started at six o'clock yesterday evening and they are going right through until six o'clock this evening. already they have delivered 2500 vaccinations, they are aiming to deliver 5000 by the time they finish this tent. as you can see, here people arrive, they check in, register for the vaccination and then they go through where the vaccination volunteers and the medical practitioners are giving out the doses. there are first doses, second doses and the boosters and it is particularly important here in london, where 0micron is hitting hard and case numbers are rising. we will speak to the gp who has overseen all of this and it is doctor russell hearn. russell, the idea of a 24—hour
11:12 am
jabathon, it sounds great, but it takes a bit of organising, how easy was it to get this off the ground? yeah, we have got a big team already, we have been vaccinating for a year, we just went past our one—year anniversary of giving the first vaccination, one of the first in north london. 150,000 just about we have given now. so, we were well established, we have been running almost seven days a week, so it was pretty easy to get going for tonight. we had lots of enthusiasm from the team and as well as vaccinating overnight last night and up until six o'clock today, we will be going every day this week up until christmas. it is all very well having a facility available in the middle of the night for people to come and get vaccinations, where people actually turning up in the dead of night? yeah, we have had a surprising number of people come for their first vaccination, who found it convenient, second vaccinations and boosters and in particular some shift workers, people finishing theirjobs in restaurants coming during the night, police men, ambulance drivers, policewomen,
11:13 am
all sorts of service industries and our colleagues in the 999 services. how many are you hoping to get done here by the time you finish? yes, at the moment we are pretty much on track to get to about 5000. we have got another 1200 book patients coming between now and 6am and probably another 800 or 1000 walkins, so we could even breach that 5000 mark. 0k, doctor russell hearn, thank you very much indeed. it is worth saying, we were hearing about long queues at vaccination centres earlier this week, three or four hours in some cases. here, the average waiting time for walkins is between ten or 15 minutes and it is possible to get it done. it is worth saying also that this is one ofjust many sites, just one of the many sites around the uk that is supplying vaccinations this weekend. 3000 in all, including sports stadiums, racecourses and even christmas markets. plenty of opportunity to get boosted this weekend. the headlines on bbc news... tighter covid restrictions across europe — as nations battle
11:14 am
to contain the spread of the new 0micron variant uk government scientific advisers warn that tougher covid restrictions are needed "very soon" to prevent a big rise in hospital admissions in england. shopping centres and football stadiums will be among nearly 3000 venues in england offering booster jabs this weekend. some will open round—the—clock. the uk's top civil servant has stepped down from leading an inquiry into downing street lockdown parties, after it emerged an event was held in his own office last year. simon case's investigation was supposed to clear up whether rules had been broken — but instead it's another damaging step for the prime minister after a bruising couple of weeks. 0ur political correspondent nick eardley reports. westminster is packed up for christmas, but it is events from this time last year that are continuing to cause controversy. simon case is the man the prime minister asked to look
11:15 am
at allegations of rule breaking at parties, but yesterday it emerged that there had been an event at his own private office. e—mails had invited people to a christmas party, which it emerged yesterday, was a quiz. the cabinet secretary did not attend, but he did speak to staff as he left. last night, it was announced that he would stand back from the enquiry and another top civil servant, sue gray, would complete the probe. it is incredibly hard to believe that no one in government knew that these parties were happening and there is a huge amount of evidence now and i do believe that the investigation that sue gray is going to be leading up, if the evidence is there, they need to carry that investigation out very swiftly to restore the public trust and then hand over that evidence to the police because no one is above the law. it is another damaging episode after a damaging few weeks for the government. from accusations of not taking sleaze seriously, to big rebellions in parliament, to this.
11:16 am
cheering and applause. the remarkable result in north shropshire, with the liberal democrats overturning a 26,000 majority for the conservatives and they think they burst the prime minister's bubble in the process. that is always the signal sent by the public when they feel that things have gone wrong and that the answer to that is very simple, it is not more of the same, it is the reality that if we want to get the vote back, then we have to be able to show that we deserve that support. the past few weeks have led to questions over borisjohnson�*s authority and his politicalfuture. many conservatives think things need to change in here let's speak to hannah white from the insitute for government. what impact do you think simon case stepping down from this enquiry will have? i stepping down from this enquiry will have? ~ , have? i think it is the right thing to do at this _
11:17 am
have? i think it is the right thing to do at this stage. _ have? i think it is the right thing to do at this stage. it _ have? i think it is the right thing to do at this stage. it is - have? i think it is the right thing to do at this stage. it is really i to do at this stage. it is really important that the process commands public confidence and that the outcome of it, the outcome of the enquiry, is seen to be accurate and that it comes swiftly. the question is why he didn't recognise that it was not appropriate for him to conduct the enquiry in the first place, and why it has had to come to those that the person running this
11:18 am
has had to change midway through that enquiry. h0??? has had to change midway through that enquiry-— that enquiry. how much of a responsibility _ that enquiry. how much of a responsibility as _ that enquiry. how much of a responsibility as their - that enquiry. how much of a responsibility as their own i that enquiry. how much of a l responsibility as their own suit grade to establish credibility and make clear every possible thing is looked at? currently things are only coming out through this drip of leaks and things get added piecemeal into the enquiry. i things get added piecemeal into the en . ui . ~ things get added piecemeal into the ennui . ~ , ., enquiry. i think it is important. it is the responsibility, _ enquiry. i think it is important. it is the responsibility, she - enquiry. i think it is important. it is the responsibility, she but - enquiry. i think it is important. it is the responsibility, she but she| is the responsibility, she but she is the responsibility, she but she is used to. if so conducting the sort of enquiry not necessarily in these high—profile circumstances. as you say, the difficulty is the way this was approached from the start. what you would have expected is that the government would have done a quick analysis of what had gone on before the enquiry started to make sure whether there is any possibility it might be sides simon case might need to recuse himself, before anything began. that does not seem to have been done, the denials of converts, and that seems to have led to this drip, drip, drip of leaks with people trying to say that actually from what i know this complete denial that anything was done wrongly is not accurate. what's our done wrongly is not accurate. what's your understanding _ done wrongly is not accurate. what's your understanding of— done wrongly is not accurate. what's your understanding of how _ done wrongly is not accurate. what's your understanding of how these - your understanding of how these things work? if a claim is made about something, it goes all the way up about something, it goes all the way up to the prime minister and with this one we had a very swift denial when the first allegation of the party emerged, that there wasn't a
11:19 am
party. how much scrutiny as they're behind the scenes? who gets involved? what choices are made around how deeply it gets looked at? as i say there is the propriety ethics team in the cabinet office that sue gray ran for a long time and they are responsible for doing these sorts of enquiries. and something comes up in the years like this the prime minister would have been involved at an early stage and briefed by civil servants who would have told them what they were aware of, in terms of what parties had gone on and so on, and made recommendations to him in terms of how to proceed. then a political decision in what was said to the media at that stage of the complete denial will have been the decision of the prime minister, and then that as i say seems to be what has led the journals to keep digging and people who might have been involved or known of parties to start sort of
11:20 am
drip feeding to the media every groups that the denial wasn't necessarily accurate —— evidence that the desire wasn't necessarily accurate. the british socialite, ghislaine maxwell , who's facing sex trafficking charges in the united states — has told the court she won't be giving evidence. ms maxwell said there was no need to testify because the prosecution had failed to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. she denies grooming girls for the late convicted paedophile, jeffrey epstein. 0ur correspondent nada tawfik has been outside the courthouse in new york. the defence has rested its case today, and it comes after ghislaine maxwell decided not to take the stand in her own defence, as she stood up and addressed thejudge, she said that there was no need to testify because the prosecution had not proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
11:21 am
so a very defiant response there from ghislaine maxwell, who has been very involved throughout this whole trial, passing notes to her lawyers during cross—examination of the accusers and others who have testified, stating that she will not tell her side of the story on the stand. of course, that would have been a very risky strategy, opening her up to intense cross—examination by prosecutors, but really this trial is moving incredibly fast. we are now set to have closing statements from both sides on monday. the defence's case, after initially saying they might call 35 witnesses, they rested after calling nine witnesses and none really revealing too much more to help their case. it seems that the defence is really relying on their cross—examination that happened during the prosecution's case of the key four accusers, hoping that they have shown enough
11:22 am
doubt injurors minds to avoid a conviction for their client, ghislaine maxwell. at least 33 people have died and many remain missing in the philippines after typhoon rai hit the country on thursday. the storm, which affected the country's southern provinces, packed sustained winds of 195 kilometres per hour and dumped heavy rain triggering flash flooding and landslides. the typhoon has now left the philippines, moving westwards over the south china sea. the family of an indian student who was jailed after sharing a whatsapp message celebrating pakistan's win in a cricket match, have appealed for his release. shauqat ahmed ghani — along with two other muslim students — has spent two months in prison, accused of "anti—national" behaviour. authorities say the arrest was in the interests of law and order, but critics argue that laws are being misused to silence free speech. rajini vaidya nathan reports.
11:23 am
tea rs of tears of pain and display. her brother injailfor a crime she tears of pain and display. her brother in jail for a crime she says makes no sense. 22—year—old engineering student is accused of supporting pakistan instead of the national team india. translation:- national team india. translation: ., . ., , national team india. translation: ., ., ., translation: on 24th of october on a cricket match — translation: on 24th of october on a cricket match between _ translation: on 24th of october on a cricket match between india _ translation: on 24th of october on a cricket match between india and - cricket match between india and pakistan he and friends exchanged some messages, because of which they were picked up. as india's arch one, they shared these messages to celebrate. this one shows appreciation for pakistan batsmen. the family are pleading for his release. translation: ' , release. translation: ~ , ., release. translation: g ., ,, ., translation: my heart is burning for m son. i translation: my heart is burning for my son- i want— translation: my heart is burning for my son- i want to _ translation: my heart is burning for my son. i want to see _ translation: my heart is burning for my son. i want to see him. _ translation: my heart is burning for my son. i want to see him. everyday l my son. i want to see him. everyday i am struggling as i wait. i am appealing to the government to free him. ., .
11:24 am
appealing to the government to free him. . . ., . ., him. the men watched the match at their college. _ him. the men watched the match at their college, and _ him. the men watched the match at their college, and are _ him. the men watched the match at their college, and are now— him. the men watched the match at their college, and are now being - their college, and are now being held here at this high securityjail not too far from the famous taj mahal. among the charges they face, sedition, a colonial era law that criminalises anything that could be considered antinational, but many say the law is being misused to stifle any criticism against the government. as they arrived for a court hearing, the muslim men were heckled by locals, including some from right—wing hindu groups. even the city's lawyers are refusing to represent them. translation: , ., ., translation: this is a matter of national sentiment _ translation: this is a matter of national sentiment so _ translation: this is a matter of national sentiment so we - translation: this is a matter of national sentiment so we thoughtj translation: this is a matter of. national sentiment so we thought it best to refuse them national —— help, they live in india so that
11:25 am
hurt us. , ., help, they live in india so that hurtus. , . ., ., hurt us. this man saying anyone who cheered the — hurt us. this man saying anyone who cheered the pakistan _ hurt us. this man saying anyone who cheered the pakistan team _ hurt us. this man saying anyone who cheered the pakistan team should i cheered the pakistan team should face sedition charges. another saying these arrests were necessary to maintain law and order. others say it is leading to a climate of intolerance in the country. this muslim comedian spent 37 days in jail this year after supporters of the bjp complained to police about his jokes. the bjp complained to police about hisjokes. he recently cancelled the bjp complained to police about his jokes. he recently cancelled a string of shows after getting threats from hindu nationalists. how free is in india today? it threats from hindu nationalists. how free is in india today?— free is in india today? if you are a politician. — free is in india today? if you are a politician. it _ free is in india today? if you are a politician, it is _ free is in india today? if you are a politician, it is free, _ free is in india today? if you are a politician, it is free, if _ free is in india today? if you are a politician, it is free, if you - free is in india today? if you are a politician, it is free, if you are - free is in india today? if you are a politician, it is free, if you are a l politician, it is free, if you are a comedian it is not free, it is costly. if half of the people agree with myjoke and half of the people don't agree with myjoke, then it's
11:26 am
a democracy, right? don't agree with my 'oke, then it's a democracy, right?— don't agree with my 'oke, then it's a democracy, right? many feel that freedom of expression _ a democracy, right? many feel that freedom of expression and - a democracy, right? many feel that freedom of expression and today's| freedom of expression and today's india comes at a price. for those that feel they no longer have a voice, it is far from funny. in the past few minutes — the mayor of london has been speaking about the coronavirus situation in the capital. let's hear what he's been saying just how bad is the situation as far as the maxi variant in london as things stand in your assessment miss i'm incredibly worried. if we were speaking a few weeks ago, london had the fewest cases of covid in the country, now we are the region with the largest number of cases. omicron is now the dominant variant, but over the last 2a hours we've had 27,000 new cases of covid, those are the ones that have been tested, and over the last week that figure is above 70,000. i'm incredibly
11:27 am
concerned about the number of londoners with this variant but also the impact on our hospitals, hospital admissions are now going up as well. , , , , ~ hospital admissions are now going up as well. , , , , ,, ., as well. despite this kind of facilities, _ as well. despite this kind of facilities, the _ as well. despite this kind of facilities, the latest - as well. despite this kind of facilities, the latest figures | as well. despite this kind of - facilities, the latest figures show something like one in three londoners still hasn't even had a first vaccine dose. how has that happens? what has gone wrong? the brilliant happens? what has gone wrong? tue: brilliant news happens? what has gone wrong? he brilliant news is happens? what has gone wrong? tte: brilliant news is more happens? what has gone wrong? ttl brilliant news is more than 15.4 million vaccines have been given out in london, so 87% of those above the age of 16 have had the vaccine, there is above the age of 1498% have at both doses and the brilliant work of nhs partners and others we've administered more than 2.5 million boosterjabs, which are truly important. it is still the case that in some pockets of london, there are black and there is, muslim and there and there are some eastern european plunderers who have not had the vaccine so we are reaching out to
11:28 am
those communities, try to answer any questions they've got —— eastern european londoners. to make sure no one is left behind. we are sure more one is left behind. we are sure more on there is getting the first dose and here's the good news, on the course of the last few days, thousands and thousands of first doses have been given out and we will make sure no one is left behind. ~ : : will make sure no one is left behind. :, :, , behind. what are people saying about the pressures — behind. what are people saying about the pressures they _ behind. what are people saying about the pressures they are _ behind. what are people saying about the pressures they are facing - the pressures they are facing compared with earlier in the pandemic was we have a have is the number of londoners that the virus, and in relation to staff absences and in relation to staff absences and the ability of our public services to run at the optimum levels. �* : , , :, :, levels. i'm incredibly worried about staff absences _ levels. i'm incredibly worried about staff absences on _ levels. i'm incredibly worried about staff absences on the _ levels. i'm incredibly worried about staff absences on the nhs, - levels. i'm incredibly worried about staff absences on the nhs, the - levels. i'm incredibly worried about staff absences on the nhs, the fire brigade, the police service, in our councils across london. that's why it's so important for everybody who is eligible to receive the booster, everybody should be getting the vaccines as well.
11:29 am
now it's time for a look at the weather with sarah keith lucas hello. for many of us it was a bit of a misty, murky start to the day and things are not changing in a hurry through the rest of the weekend really, because we have got high pressure draped right across the uk, keeping things largely and settles, but largely trapping and a lot of low cloud and moisture, so some mist and fog patches and for some of us as we head into this afternoon, those fog patches will linger and especially for parts of the east, perhaps central and southern scotland, we could see a few fog patches all day, but the best of the sunshine will be across the higher ground of central scotland, perhaps the north of england, the pennines for instance, into western parts of wales as well. central and eastern areas stay murky through the course of the day and into this evening and overnight, not changing in a hurry. there could be some more frost and fog as well, particularly across parts of scotland and the north of england, that is where temperatures will fall lowest, so a frosty start here, but milder under the blanket of the cloud in the south. mostly cloudy, high is around 5—10 .
11:30 am
hello, this is bbc news. the headlines: tighter covid restrictions across europe as nations battle to contain the spread of the new omicron variant. uk government scientific advisers warn that tougher covid restrictions are needed "very soon" to prevent a big rise in hospital admissions in england. shopping centres and football stadiums will be among nearly 3000 venues in england offering booster jabs this weekend. some will open round—the—clock. the uk's top civil servant steps down from running an inquiry into downing street parties because of an event in his own office. the british socialite, ghislaine maxwell — who denies sex trafficking charges in the united states — has told the court she won't be giving evidence.
11:31 am
now on bbc news it's time for dateline.

31 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on