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tv   Ros Atkins on... What 2021...  BBC News  December 18, 2021 6:45pm-7:01pm GMT

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fixtures with seven matches off because of french travel restrictions in response to the omicron variant. one match that did get played against all odds though was harlequins against cardiff blues despite the welsh side having 42 players out because of quarantine, injury and suspension. they put up a valiant display before eventually losing 15—17. lydia campbell watched this one. dan fish has tried to retire twice from rugby but with cardiff in cry because he was back to help them in a time of need. they travelled with a time of need. they travelled with a mix of semi—prose and academy players but it didn't stop them silencing the stupa after five minutes. this was a display full of grit and spirit from the visitors, but there isn't much that can
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compensate for this, marcus smith showing why he is the darling of england, to put harlequins into the lead. despite that, this bunch of cardiff misfits were having some fun, look at this from the 19—year—old, in scoring it was remarkably level at the break. in the second half, cardiff have to and parted but harlequins eventually blew the blues away, scoring four unanswered tries in 21 minutes. smith putting marchand through for the bonus point and ending hopes of a cardiff christmas miracle. glasgow—exeter has gone ahead too. although the foggy conditions at scotstoun aren't exactly making this the easiest game to follow. what we can tell you is that glasgow scored the only points of the first half with this penalty from ross thompson — luckily for him, it was awarded fairly near the posts, so at least he could see them.
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now 6—0. and just lastly, match of the day is on bbc one tonight and as you might have worked out, it is literally that — match of the day! so surely there's gonna be none of the usual hullaballoo on twitter about the running order, right? we are going to start match of the day this week with a lead united versus arsenal. last on the running order this week is lead united versus arsenal. so we will show lead united against arsenal tonight after the news on bbc one. and i will have martin keown and danny murphy to talk about leeds and arsenal, and hopefully you will join talk about leeds and arsenal, and hopefully you willjoin us. an talk about leeds and arsenal, and hopefully you willjoin us.- hopefully you will 'oin us. an hour one, hopefully you will 'oin us. an hour gone. leeds — hopefully you will 'oin us. an hour gone, leeds still_ hopefully you willjoin us. an hour gone, leeds still trailing - hopefully you willjoin us. an hour gone, leeds still trailing 3-0. - that's all from sportsday. next on bbc news, ros atkins looks at how the covid pandemic has evolved and what we've learned.
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christmas is coming, and so is omicron — at speed. the covid variant was first reported in south africa in november. it's already spread to dozens of countries. and the who has this message for us. omicron�*s very emergence is another reminder that, although many of us might think we're done with covid—19, it's not done with us. to put it mildly — this is not where we hoped we'd be. ifeel like we're... it's 2020 all over again, in a way, you know? we're back where we were. i want to consider where we were with covid and where we are, and look what we've learnt about this virus in 2021. back injanuary, wealthier nations had onlyjust started their vaccine roll—outs. this was israel. the pandemic death toll passed
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two million, and the number of cases reached 100 million. in the uk, the infection rate was rising, as was the pressure on hospitals. we have a very significant problem. the next few weeks will be the worst weeks of this pandemic. and, amid all this, the who had a message of defiant hope. this was from february. i don't want to ask people to hide i under their desks or duvets in fear. actually, i want people to be connecting with each other and saying, you know, "this is a virus that's particularly nasty. "but it is within our power to be able to resist it." almost 12 months on, have we shown we can resist it? to answer that, we need to look at how this pandemic and our understanding of it have evolved this year. certainly on one thing, there's been no change — we were told the vaccines worked, and they do. in the uk, as vaccinations increased, the number of hospitalizations dropped dramatically. the number of deaths dropped dramatically, too,
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right across the year. what was less clear was whether vaccines stopped infections. what we really don't know, though, at the moment, is, does the vaccine reduce transmission? does it block infection? that was in january. by the summer, the picture was clearer. what we know with the vaccines is that they are actually remarkably effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths. they are less effective at preventing infection. the vaccines did reduce serious illness, but wouldn't stop the spread of the virus. delta in particular had made sure of that. and, by the end of the summer, it was also clear that two jabs would not be enough. people's immunity was waning. and, in many richer countries, including the us, that's exactly what happened. we are announcing our plan to stay ahead of this virus l
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by being prepared to offer covid—19 booster shots. . now at this stage, boosters were a response to waning immunity. but right now, they're needed for another reason, too — the omicron variant. we know that two doses of vaccine are not enough to stop you getting infected with omicron. but a booster will cut your risk of symptomatic infection by around 70%. that's why in the uk, we've seen people queuing for hours to get a booster. this year has shown the need for a third jab. and omicron has also taught us other ways the pandemic has evolved. for one, just like the scientists said they would, variants have arrived. alpha, beta, and delta drove covid infections globally with devastating consequences in india. my colleague yogita limaye described the situation. every crematorium we've been to, we've seen body after body being brought in. it's hard for anyone to keep count, but what workers have been
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telling me is that the real scale of deaths caused by covid—19 in india is a lot higher than what official numbers reflect. the threat of variants was real — and their threat was being explicitly connected to vaccination rates. this is the co—creator of the astrazeneca vaccine. we need to be able to find the funds and the means to vaccinate widely across the world. if we don't, what will happen is more mutations arising in the virus, and we will have a harder and harder task to fight the virus as it continues to mutate. through the year, the richer countries pushed on with their vaccine roll—outs. nearly 70% of the uk population has been double—jabbed. but less than half of the overall global population has been. and in africa, it's 8%. and the who continues to focus on this issue. let me be very clear. the who is not against boosters. we are against inequity. our main concern is to
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save lives everywhere. we started the year with the who warning about vaccine equity, we finish it with the same message. and, while richer countries push on with their boosters, omicron has shown that even vaccinating most people in a country may not be enough. this is austria — it's now made vaccines compulsory from february. and here, and in much of western europe, health care systems are under pressure — despite ample vaccine supply. this is the french health minister. translation: the load | in the intensive care units and the number of hospitalizations will continue to increase in the next two weeks. and that is weighing on our hospitals, which are already very mobilised. the question, then, is what to do about this? and bringing in new restrictions remains a live issue. in the house of commons this week, a significant number of borisjohnson�*s own tory mps voted against new restrictions. one of them was andrea leadsom. covid will be with us - for many years to come,
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and it's unthinkable to think that every autumn from now on, - we will be limiting the qualityl of life for all citizens just to be on the safe side. these restrictions were voted through, and polling in the uk and elsewhere suggests public opinion remains behind them. but, as covid becomes ever more long—term, opposition to restrictions becomes more pronounced. and one of the most contentious restrictions of them all this year has been travel bans. at the start of 2021, there were heavy restrictions. international travel was down 49%, compared with 2019. in addition, countries like australia and new zealand effectively sealed themselves off — they wanted to suppress the virus. but in the end, delta made sure this wasn't possible. by august, for australia, the aim was no longer keeping the virus out. instead... that is our goal — - to live with this virus, not to live in fear of it. globally, international travel has returned in a form. there are still some restrictions, prices are high, and tests have to be done.
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and the who continues to question travel bans as an idea. and, while the uk briefly introduced some of them for omicron, it quickly changed tack. now that there is community transmission of omicron in the uk, and omicron has spread so widely across the world, the travel red list is now less effective in slowing the incursion of omicron from abroad. 2021 taught us that travel restrictions may buy a little time, but more transmissible variants will find a way through. and so, here we are at the end of 2021 — variants spreading, unresolved disagreements over vaccine distribution, over restrictions, over travel bans — and the statistics tell their own story. more people have died in 2021 from covid than in 2020. the who report that over five million people have lost their lives so far during the pandemic. and, for all these reasons, and with omicron spreading, it can be difficult to gauge how to assess the state of the pandemic. i thought this clip of the who's
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michael ryan perhaps spoke for a lot of us. but it introduces a level of concern and a level of fear, and a sense of, erm... ..more exhaustion that we all feel. well, here we go again. "here we go again," says michael ryan. and he also offered some advice. just because we have a new variant doesn't mean the situation will get worse. it means we have more uncertainty now. and that, perhaps, is the best way to summarise this year. two fundamental questions remain — can we vaccinate enough people, and how serious are these new variants as we try to do that? at the end of 2021, neither of those questions have definitive answers. and so, as michael ryan says, "we have more uncertainty now."
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a huge contrast today, sunny in some places, cold and gloomy elsewhere. little change in the weekend, the north and west with sunshine, other areas with cloud. high pressure to the north of uk causing this, very few isobars and the winds will remain light, breezy through the channel and the far south—west. tonight, holding the cloud, temperatures above freezing, 4—7. but under the clear skies, scotland and northern england will turn cold, widespread frost and the risk of some dense mist and fog patches. sunday, a cold start across parts of the north, towards wales and the south—west, some frost and mist and fog, but sunshine. if you breaks in
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the cloud to northern ireland, but central, southern and eastern england will stay grey and gloomy once again with perhaps a bit of drizzle in the thickest cloud. temperatures down, 5—7 would be typical, but even colder where we have started the day frosty. sunday night, similar, a lot of cloud in central, southern and eastern areas. northern ireland, clear skies, turning cold and frosty, with mist and fog, temperatures around 4—7 under the blanket of cloud. the new working week, monday looks pretty similar, a lot of cloud, the chance of some breaks towards the central and eastern england, southern england hasn't seen the sun shines in nearly a week, that would be a welcome change. the best sunshine across parts of scotland and perhaps wales, temperatures from around 1—7 in the mildest spots. through the run—up to christmas, we could see
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the weather fronts working to the south—west with milder air, but colder air battling ince on the north, so a sort of battleground around the christmas period. next week, the start of the week will be quite chilly with more sunshine. —— battling in. unsettled over the christmas period with rain, sleet and snow.
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this is bbc news. these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world. the dutch prime minister puts his country into a tough new lockdown as the latest coronavirus variant spreads. another 90 thousand covid cases are reported across the uk as the mayor of london declares a major incident. it's really important londoners understand how serious things are. the best thing londoners can do is to get both vaccines and the booster, they provide extra layers of protection. british holiday—makers are forced to cancel trips as france imposes tight travel restrictions on those arriving from the uk.


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