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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 22, 2021 2:00pm-2:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news — broadcasting to viewers in the uk and around the world. i'm matthew amroliwala. our top stories — world leaders reinstate covid restrictions. germany and portugal announce more post—christmas curbs. france warns daily cases could pass a 100,000 a day very soon. 13 million people are put into covid lockdown in one chinese city — just weeks ahead of the winter olympics. the welsh government introduces new measures from boxing day, groups of no more than six people will be allowed to meet in pubs, cinemas and restaurants. 0micron is here already in wales. and it is now spreading quickly. new covid rules in england — isolation can end after seven days —
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instead of ten — for those with two negative lateral flow tests. israel plans to become the first country to roll out a fourth dose of covid vaccine — as it prepares to deal with the 0micron variant. one other headline, at least 27 people have been killed in malaysia's worst flooding in decades. welcome to the programme. world leaders are re—instating covid restrictions — as 0micron continues to spread fast. germany and portugal have announced new measures that will kick in after christmas. announced new measures that spain has reported its highest number of daily cases, since the start of the pandemic, and france has warned they could soon pass a 100,000 a day. yesterday, the uk recorded more than 90,000 cases.
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in germany, the curbs are due to come in on the 28th of december. private gatherings will be restricted to 10 people and nightclubs will close. portugal has ordered bars and nightclubs to shut from 26th december, and made working from home obligatory. out of europe, in china the northern city of xi'an has ordered all 13 million residents to stay at home in a strict lockdown, after 52 covid cases were reported on wednesday — bringing the total to 143 since 9th december. in the uk, the welsh government has announced groups of no more than six people will be allowed to meet in pubs, cinemas and restaurants in wales from 26 december. in england — new rules mean people with covid can now stop self—isolating after a week — following two negative lateral flow tests — effectively opening up christmas for thousands. let's start with more on that with jonathan blake. with hundreds of thousands of people
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forced to isolate for ten days after testing positive for covid, staff shortages are becoming an issue. it is already affecting train companies, hospitality and, crucially, some hospital trusts. let's notjust measure the pressure on the nhs by looking at the number of hospitalisations in london, because staff absences are likely to be just as great, if not an even more important indicator of how much pressure the nhs is under. now in england at least, the rules are changing, with the time spent in isolation cut from ten days to seven. but to do that, you must record two consecutive negative lateral flow tests from day six onwards and those tests must be taken a minimum of 2a hours apart. what has changed is the availability of tests, the fact we have ordered a lot in advance and we are using them as a tool, the fact that the uk hsa are testing all of these various systems and then put sensible approaches in place. people ending isolation early are still strongly advised to be cautious, to work from home, limit contact
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with vulnerable people, and not visit crowded or poorly ventilated spaces. that is because, as this graph shows, it is still possible to be carrying the virus at levels that can't be detected by lateral flow devices, even some days after first falling ill. but for some, like lee, it means christmas plans are now back on. well, it has saved christmas for me. i thought i was here till midnight | on boxing day in self—isolation.| so i can go back to the family home now and see my young daughter. i the new rules have also come as a huge relief to those who have been struggling to keep their businesses running as staff fall ill, although finances remain very tight. i think the government have been very supportive to the hospitality industry throughout the pandemic, so i can't criticise that. however, the six grand doesn't go very far and particularly for small businesses at this time of year when christmas is so important. there are no plans for a rule change
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in scotland or northern ireland, but the welsh government has announced more restrictions from boxing day, including limiting to six the number of people who can meet up in pubs, restaurants and cinemas. the government has also ordered more than four and a quarter million extra doses of antiviral drugs to treat covid, preventing it from becoming a more serious illness. these antivirals are a significant new defence. we haven't had these before, one of these antivirals that has already been approved by our regulator was quite recent. and so it is the first time we have got this type of defence. changing isolation rules means that for some, christmas has come early, but this still threatens to be a very challenging festive season, with the new variant spreading fast. dominic hughes, bbc news. as you've been hearing — further restrictions will come into force in wales from boxing day. gatherings in pubs, cinemas and restaurants will once again be limited to six people per group.
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all licensed venues will be restricted to offering table service, the two—metre social distancing rule will return in public places and people will be encouraged to take a lateral flow test before they mix with other households. 0ur wales correspondent, tomos morgan is in cardiff with the latest. the first minister has put regulations in place that will come in on boxing day in wales. they mostly involve the hospitality sector, the rules of six will come into force again in restaurants, in cinemas and theatres as well. and table service will be required in licensed premises. the two metre social—distancing rule will also come back in and that will dictate how many people can attend weddings and funerals from boxing day. when it comes to household mixing, this is the thing the welsh government cabinets were wrestling over in the last few days, they have issued guidance, not regulation. but they have said to people to limit the amount of people they mix with in their homes and to change who they mix with on different days as well. and what they have also said it is although that is guidance, there is a ban on groups of 30
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or more inside. and these rules are in addition to the rules already announced this week in that nightclubs will close on boxing day and no spectators at sporting events as well. the northern ireland executive is meeting now to consider a range of new covid measures, as cases of 0micron increase in the country. people are already limited to indoor gatherings of 30 people, face coverings are mandatory on public transport and indoor settings and a covid pass or negative test result is required to gain access to some hospitality premises. let's get more with our health correspondent — jim reed. last week, ministers warned a significant intervention could be needed before christmas, if cases continue to rise, in spite of a big increase in numbers of vaccinations. jim reed joins me now on the programme. i want to start in terms
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of the data that you have been looking at, because in london, with a lot of unvaccinated people, a lot of real—world data is coming through. what is that telling us? i think it's definitely worth focusing on london, because that is head of the rest of the uk, when it comes to this 0micron wave, partly because it is a big international hub, people came from southern parts of africa to london, primarily, and that is how the virus was ceded on spread. looking at where i am at the moment, and a place called lambeth, one of the areas in the south of london. at the areas in the south of london. at the moment, one in every 35 people in this borough have currently tested positive with covid. that's not one in every 35 have had it, one in every 35 currently have it. and we haven't had numbers like that throughout the entire pandemic. infections have been going up very strongly across most parts of london, especially in this part of
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south london. having said that, over the last three or four days there are some more encouraging signs that those infections, at least in london, are starting to slow down. in some places, they are going to plateau. why would that be? there are lots of different reasons that it could be. one which is often cited is could we be seeing some constraints in testing capacity? you know, taking longerfor test results to come through because so many people are infected. another one which is possibly more important is behavioural change. even before any very strict new regulations are brought in in england, are we starting to see more people restaurant bookings and so on? that appears to be making a real difference now.— appears to be making a real difference now. �* ., ., , ., difference now. before i ask you the next question. _ difference now. before i ask you the next question. i _ difference now. before i ask you the next question, i want _ difference now. before i ask you the next question, i want to _ difference now. before i ask you the next question, i want to put - difference now. before i ask you the next question, i want to put onto i next question, i want to put onto the screen the current graph. it shows the daily cases per 100,000, a rolling seven day average across europe. the graph is pretty self—evident. you can see the spike in uk cases that you are reflecting
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on, france, that we had in the headlines, worried about it soon reaching 100,000 cases a day. in terms of what you are seeing in london, briefly, on this point, what is the latest on the doubling time on the implications for hospitalisation?- on the implications for hospitalisation? on the implications for hos - italisation? ~ ., on the implications for hositalisation? ~ ., hospitalisation? well, we had those reall , hospitalisation? well, we had those really. really _ hospitalisation? well, we had those really, really sharp _ hospitalisation? well, we had those really, really sharp increases - hospitalisation? well, we had those really, really sharp increases in - really, really sharp increases in cases last week, when the number of cases last week, when the number of cases in london was doubling every two days. that was unprecedented. now that seem to have calmed down and we are looking at hospitalisations in london. the last data we have, for sunday, there were 245 data we have, for sunday, there were 2115 people admitted to hospital with covid, up from 157 the week before. we are seeing some quite sharp increases, but that is slightly below the level that might be expected, given the number of cases we have had. so, it's not entirely bad news. we have had. so, it's not entirely bad newe— we have had. so, it's not entirely bad news. ~ ., , ~ ., bad news. and saying last week that we could see — bad news. and saying last week that we could see the _ bad news. and saying last week that we could see the numbers _ bad news. and saying last week that we could see the numbers get - bad news. and saying last week that we could see the numbers get to - we could see the numbers get to record levels in hospital, but these days could be shorter. a final question about the other change in
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england, the significant change in terms of isolation duration. in terms of isolation duration. in terms of isolation duration. in terms of the advice that we see in other countries, how much are we breaking ranks? i other countries, how much are we breaking ranks?— other countries, how much are we breaking ranks? i mean, we are the first country. _ breaking ranks? i mean, we are the first country. as _ breaking ranks? i mean, we are the first country, as far— breaking ranks? i mean, we are the first country, as far as _ breaking ranks? i mean, we are the first country, as far as i _ breaking ranks? i mean, we are the first country, as far as i am - breaking ranks? i mean, we are the first country, as far as i am aware, l first country, as far as i am aware, that has moved down from ten days, to seven days for self isolation. in france, it is still very much a ten days. in other parts of the uk, wales, scotland and northern ireland, at the moment, they are thinking about changing it. but at the moment it is still ten days. the idea is, at the moment, because so many people are infected in the united kingdom, they could bring pressure on hospitals, on the police force, and transport. so, actually reducing down to seven days makes sense that respect. this is what people are being asked to do. if, after six days, you asked to take one of these rapid lateral flow tests every day, to hopefully suggest, if not prove, that you are not infectious at that point. thanks for auoin not infectious at that point. thanks for going through _ not infectious at that point. thanks for going through all _ not infectious at that point. thanks for going through all of _ not infectious at that point. thanks for going through all of that, - for going through all of that, thanks for your time.
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israel has become the first country in the world to make a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine widely available. it'll be offered first to people over the age of 60, and medical workers. 0ur correspondent tom bateman is injerusalem. tell me more about the plan, the data that it is based on and, of course, only ten days ago the world health organization was criticising countries for giving the whole population a third dose, let alone four? , . �* , population a third dose, let alone four? , ., �* , ., four? yes, that's right. i mean, this was israel's _ four? yes, that's right. i mean, this was israel's pandemic - four? yes, that's right. i mean, | this was israel's pandemic expert committee, who had met around the same time as its coronavirus cabinet, including the prime minister, naftali bennett, last night. the expert committee, a large group of scientists, came out with this recommendation and said that they were advising a fourth vaccine shot, a booster shot, for everyone aged over 60, as well as people with compromised immune systems and health workers. this was immediately
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welcomed by the prime minister, naftali bennett. he had previously said he was impatient for the green light to be given for this. he described it has wonderful news and immediately started preparations for that fourth shot to be given to those people. there is still a bit of rubber stamping to do by the health ministry, but it looks like it will go ahead. now, the issue here, as you say, is very much about data. what is the data behind this? we simply don't know, because the expert committee have not published the evidential basis for all of this. and one of the experts involved in the decision was on the radio in israel saying that they simply do not have the information, they don't have the numbers yet for whether or not immunity wanes after the third vaccine, and if it does, how long it takes, and by how much. she described that has quite a complex decision, and said, nevertheless, when you look at the way that omicron is spreading, its infectiousness elsewhere in the world, she described that as
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particularly frightening. i think thatis particularly frightening. i think that is what this decision was based on. there is politics around all of this. you mentioned that there is always calls when booster shots are administered by rich countries, there is a lack of supply in poorer countries in the world, that debate is always around. naftali bennett, he has staked his reputation on keeping the economy open, keeping schools open for kids, and he is very much of the school of thought of trying to intervene with the vaccines, ratherthan of trying to intervene with the vaccines, rather than shutting down the economy. vaccines, rather than shutting down the economy-— the economy. thanks very much for that. the economy. thanks very much for that- thank — the economy. thanks very much for that. thank you. _ the northern chinese city of xi'an has ordered all 13 million residents, to stay at home in a strict lockdown, as concern grows over a fresh outbreak of covid—19. all households may only send one household member outside once every two days to purchase necessities, with all others ordered to remain indoors except for emergencies, the city government said in a statement. our china correspondent steve mcdonnell has more.
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there have only been dozens of new cases today but as an indication of the preparedness of the authorities to stamp out any outbreak, we are seeing a citywide lockdown in xi'an, 13 million people told to stay home. the way it's going to work is that each household will be allowed one person go outside every two days to buy essential supplies. all nonessential services have been closed and nobody is allowed to leave the city without special permission from officials. interesting, because until recently, chinese officials have been able control the outbreaks with quite targeted lockdowns. so, neighbourhoods and the like. we haven't seen an entire large city lockdown for quite some time in china. i think the proximity
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of the olympics might have something to do with it. xi'an isn't that far to the west of beijing and they've seen omicron taking off in other parts of the world and itjust shows what china is prepared to do with its still sticking to the back to zero covid strategy. fascinating research from the us, scientists have been studying immunity levels for those that have been double vaccinated and then caught coronavirus. their findings have been raising eyebrows and it could have significant implications. let's speak to the report authors, from the oregon health and science university. thanks forjoining us. this is really interesting stuff. i was reading the details earlier. professor, what have you found out about immunity among the double
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vaccinated and people who have caught covid?— vaccinated and people who have cau~ht covid? ., ,, i. ., ., caught covid? thank you for having me. so, caught covid? thank you for having me- so. what _ caught covid? thank you for having me. so, what we _ caught covid? thank you for having me. so, what we have _ caught covid? thank you for having me. so, what we have found - caught covid? thank you for having me. so, what we have found is, . caught covid? thank you for having j me. so, what we have found is, we compared antibody levels from the double vaccinated, the individuals that were double vaccinated and exposed to the virus. what we found was remarkable. we found a high level of antibodies, not only a high level of antibodies, not only a high level of antibodies, but also an ability to neutralise variance were exceptional. it was a 1000% increase, sometimes to thousands.
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that is a huge difference. you have been monitoring those people in the study, how important do you think the results could be here? i study, how important do you think the results could be here?- the results could be here? i think these are quite _ the results could be here? i think these are quite significant. - these are quite significant. essentially, this results, it indicates that the fact that we can neutralise — indicates that the fact that we can neutralise new variance better with this combination of antibiotic results. _ this combination of antibiotic results, it means that it has significant impact for the future of the epidemic because as you vaccinate _ the epidemic because as you vaccinate more and more people around _ vaccinate more and more people around the — vaccinate more and more people around the world, and as more people acquire _ around the world, and as more people acquire natural infection, we will have _ acquire natural infection, we will have an — acquire natural infection, we will have an increasingly large fraction of the _ have an increasingly large fraction of the world population that will be highly— of the world population that will be highly resistant and moreover will be able _ highly resistant and moreover will be able to— highly resistant and moreover will be able to protect against new variance — be able to protect against new variance after omicron has come along _ variance after omicron has come alonu. , ., , ,., along. interesting, the last point ou along. interesting, the last point you make- _ along. interesting, the last point you make. what _ along. interesting, the last point you make. what does _ along. interesting, the last point you make. what does that - along. interesting, the last point
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you make. what does that tell i along. interesting, the last point i you make. what does that tell you about omicron and future variance? are you sure that what you have discovered here will actually impact in variants that have to be established? its in variants that have to be established?— in variants that have to be established? , ., , ., established? its a good question. what we saw _ established? its a good question. what we saw with _ established? its a good question. what we saw with our _ established? its a good question. what we saw with our previous i established? its a good question. i what we saw with our previous study is when _ what we saw with our previous study is when you — what we saw with our previous study is when you have combined immunity from natural— is when you have combined immunity from natural infection and vaccination, and you take that sarurn, — vaccination, and you take that sarum, and you compare that with those _ sarum, and you compare that with those that— sarum, and you compare that with those that have just been vaccinated and run _ those that have just been vaccinated and run it— those that have just been vaccinated and run it against a panel of variance. _ and run it against a panel of variance, in all cases, the combined immunity— variance, in all cases, the combined immunity does much better against these _ immunity does much better against these new— immunity does much better against these new variance. it's coping with diversity— these new variance. it's coping with diversity better. we have not yet tested _ diversity better. we have not yet tested omicron, but the principle is there _ tested omicron, but the principle is there and _ tested omicron, but the principle is there and we are looking at that now _ there and we are looking at that now. ., , ,., there and we are looking at that now. ., ,,., ., there and we are looking at that now. ., , ., i. there and we are looking at that now. ., ., , now. professor, are you sure in terms of _ now. professor, are you sure in terms of the — now. professor, are you sure in terms of the sample _ now. professor, are you sure in terms of the sample size - now. professor, are you sure in terms of the sample size that l now. professor, are you sure in i terms of the sample size that your findings will actually work on larger numbers? what you think this means in terms of implications for development of future vaccines? does it help in terms of where we need to
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go? it help in terms of where we need to i o? , it help in terms of where we need to io? , ., �* , ., it help in terms of where we need to io? , ., �*, ., it help in terms of where we need to go? yes, that's a good question. the samle go? yes, that's a good question. the sample size — go? yes, that's a good question. the sample size is _ go? yes, that's a good question. the sample size is smaller, _ go? yes, that's a good question. the sample size is smaller, but _ go? yes, that's a good question. the sample size is smaller, but given - sample size is smaller, but given the fact that the magnitude of the difference that we see is quite large, i actually trust the findings. i think it needs to be tested elsewhere, but i think our finding is solid. and in terms of applications forfuture finding is solid. and in terms of applications for future vaccines, it is actually very... what this means is actually very... what this means is that there is a combination of vaccines and a natural infection which provides better protection. i think future vaccine strategy should include the ability to incorporate other aspects of the virus, not only to spike protein, which is mostly what the current vaccines are based on. i what the current vaccines are based on, , , , ., , , what the current vaccines are based on. , , ,.,, , ., on. i suppose it underlines what i was 'ust on. i suppose it underlines what i was just talking _ on. i suppose it underlines what i was just talking to _ on. i suppose it underlines what i wasjust talking to our— was just talking to our correspondent in israel about, that there are still large parts of the
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world where we haven't even got one dose of vaccine, let alone the double that we are talking about here. doctor, a final thought to you, because we are talking about super immunity levels. is it clear to you at all from the data how long that immunity actually lasts for? taste that immunity actually lasts for? we don't know the answer to that, because — don't know the answer to that, because we have onlyjust in the study— because we have onlyjust in the study and — because we have onlyjust in the study and there has not been time to follow— study and there has not been time to follow up. _ study and there has not been time to follow up. or— study and there has not been time to follow up, or do long—term follow—up. we do know that immune responses, _ follow—up. we do know that immune responses, even though they naturally— responses, even though they naturally wane over time, it is a naturally wane overtime, it is a natural— naturally wane over time, it is a natural physiological phenomenon known. _ natural physiological phenomenon known, we have good referral that recall— known, we have good referral that recall response. if we fast forward half a _ recall response. if we fast forward half a year— recall response. if we fast forward half a year or a year, antibody levels. — half a year or a year, antibody levels, even in the super immune people. _ levels, even in the super immune people, they will have waned. at the recall— people, they will have waned. at the recall response will still be there. thank you so much forjoining us on the programme. fascinating research, and thanks for going through some of the details on some of the applications. is now let's return to
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some of the other important stories. it's nearly a week, since a super typhoon hit the philippines — killing at least 375 people, and leaving hundreds of thousands without shelter. one of the worst affected areas, was the popular tourist island of shargo. from there, our correspondent howard johnson sent this report. devastation as far as the eye can see. voted best island in asia this year by conde nast, siargao now resembles an apocalyptic mess. super typhoon rai first made landfall here last thursday, packing winds in excess of 150 miles an hour and dumping huge quantities of rainfall. this scene is repeated many times across the island. a tree felled by the super typhoon across the road blocking the passage of motorcycles and it has caused all this debris to block the road. we can see corrugated iron and electricity cables which have
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come down from the pylon and that is affecting things gravely because there is no electricity and that means no internet signal, no cellular network and no pumping of water. prices for filtered bottled water have doubled in the last week forcing the poor to find other sources. this family are drawing water from an old well, but it isn't clean. diarrhoea cases are on the rise here. it is bad for the stomach but we have no choice, we need to drink. we do not have safe water to drink. this is general luna, a popular surf spot for international tourists and young nomadic workers. but as our drone footage reveals, the area is now totally inhospitable. this man shows me to where his home and convenience store once stood.
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i'm scared because no more food and then my house is broken from the typhoon. i don't know what happened and what i'm going to do to start again with my store and my home. at the island's badly damaged airport, aid is getting through, but in limited quantities. we are geographically isolated in this area so transport of goods is very difficult. construction materials for repair and especially for evacuation centres to move people especially when the rain will come. many people are living on the streets in makeshift houses and this is just the start of the typhoon season which normally ends in mid—march. outside the airport, residents have been waiting for up to three days for a flight off the island.
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it is leading to a sense of panic. there is no system, we have to figure it out ourselves. the real pandemic is not having a system. as night falls, a newly arrived philippine red cross team helped islanders to speak with loved ones using their satellite phone. help is on hand here, but there needs to be a lot, lot more. howard johnson, bbc news, siargao island. at least 27 people are now known to have died in malaysia, in the worst flooding the country has seen in decades. more than 60,000 people have been displaced. rescue efforts are continuing near the capital, kuala lumpur. some survivors have accused the government of incompetence over the handling of the disaster. many groups of volunteers have been working to help their more vulnerable neighbours, using kayaks and small boats to make their way around.
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a record 978,000 booster doses were reported on tuesday. more on that in 30 minutes. cold and frosty, but the high pressure is going to continue. it allows the low pressure from the atlantic to influence the story. it is bringing milder but wetter weather with it and this is the first signs of it. drifting steadily north and east. early morning sunshine gradually eroded as we start to see some cloud across central and southern england. the rain gradually moving north—east, with a cold day for many of us, around 2 to 6 degrees. behind the weather front, the mild air starting to nudge in, so we will see 9 degrees in northern ireland and perhaps parts of cornwall. the wet weather continuing to push steadily north and east, fragmenting
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a bit and becoming showery. if we get breaks in the cloud, we could see icy stretches in north—east scotland and england, and a chilly start here. out to the west, double figures to start thursday morning. all change. still that southerly wind continuing to push milder air in from the south—west, behind the weather fronts. they will bring some fairly erratic outbreaks of rain at times, light and patchy in england and wales, heavier bursts potentially in northern ireland, scotland and north—east england. still that cold air in place but behind it northern ireland, england and wales, a noticeable difference to the weather. for christmas eve, it looks like we will start with a fair amount of cloud and more wet weather pushing into the far south—west. the best sunshine for christmas eve in eastern scotland and north—east england, still chilly, but double figures in the south—west. here comes the complication
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for christmas day. as the milder air bumps into the colder air, where they meet, the potential for some sleet and snow, so some of us mightjust see a white christmas. most likely to be across northern england, the north pennines, down into the midlands, albeit fairly light and patchy, as this weather front drifts steadily north and east. the best of the dry, sunny weather on christmas day likely to be scotland and north—east england. take care.
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we will have the headlines and all the main news at the top of the hour straight after this programme.
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2021 has for many people been a long and difficult year. a year of change and difficult year. a year of change and uncertainty. and worry about the lives and livelihoods and jobs and prospects. early hopes of a return to something more normal have been replaced by a realisation that covid will be around for much longer than we first thought. its impact on how we first thought. its impact on how we live and how we work has been far more significant than feared and our social lives and shopping habits in our travel plans all changed by this pandemic. and now we are learning to
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