welcome to bbc news, i'm david eades. our top stories. america's leading health body halves the isolation period for patients with asymptomatic covid, from ten days to five. france gets tougher on covid restrictions — working from home becomes compulsory, as infection rates exceed 100,000 a day. no new coronavirus restrictions in england before the new year, despite record numbers of cases. the health secretary urges people to remain cautious. and cape town's city hall is bathed in purple light to honour archbishop desmond tutu, as south africa holds a week of commemoration. the captain and first officer of a freighter that caused an environmental disaster in mauritius are sentenced to 20 months in prison.
0micron infections continue to soar in many parts of the world, and that is triggering some very different responses from governments and authorities. after seeing a record high of more than 100,000 new cases on saturday, france has announced tougher restrictions. remote working is now compulsory and public gatherings have been cut to 2,000 people for indoor events. in contrast, in the uk, with cases also reaching record highs, health secretary sajid javid has said there will be "no further measures before the new year, but of course people should remain cautious." and in the us, where joe biden�*s top medical advisor dr anthony fauci has warned that there could easily
be 500,000 cases a day in the coming weeks, the centers for disease control has halved the recommended isolation time for people with asymptomatic infections, from ten to five days. we'll have the details on that change in the us and the science behind it in a minute, but first we start with the new measures in france. the bbc�*s azaday moshiri reports. with the festivities over and memories made, france is now snapping back to the reality of the pandemic. president macron convened a remote cabinet meeting to review the latest data on the 0micron variant. and his government's verdict is clear — cases are surging, and more restrictions are needed, at least for the next three weeks. starting on monday, all public gatherings will be limited to 2000 people for indoor events, and 5000 for outdoor ones. all spectators will have
to be seated at concerts. food and drink can only be consumed while seated at bars and restaurants. and they will be banned on all public transport as well as cinemas. working from home will be mandatory three days a week, where possible. and masks will be compulsory in outdoor city centres in addition to public transport. france's prime minister said he knows this all sounds like a film without an ending. translation: i know these measures can sometimes i make people feel fed up, but since the start of the crisis, the president, like his government, has sought only to protect you. the government is preparing for a huge wave of cases, having already hit a record number in the last few days, registering more than 100,000 positive cases for the very
first time, which is why france is offering a third booster shot after three months instead of four. but there is a fear that hospitals could buckle under the pressure, and that more measures will be needed. translation: with the omicron variant, continuing to expand - would not only put pressure on hospitals but especially pressure on all of society, because there will be up to 1.5 million people who would have to self—isolate each day. the government has warned it will introduce passes that will make vaccines mandatory for certain activities by january 15th, if parliament approves. but it did stop short of imposing a full lockdown on new year's eve. a silver lining, as france prepares for a fifth wave of the pandemic.
meanwhile in the uk, health secretary sajid javid has said there will be no new restrictions introduced in england before the new year. ministers had been under pressure to respond to rising infection levels after the devolved administrations in scotland, wales and northern ireland all implemented measures to stem the spread of the 0micron variant. here's our political correspondent ian watson. with a record number of covid cases recorded on christmas day, there were fears of a rather bleaker new year. scotland, wales and northern ireland have all imposed further restrictions. so there was pressure on the government at westminster to make it clear if england would follow. for the time being, it won't. and for the remainder of 2021, the message will be caution, not compulsion. there will be no further measures before the new year. we won't be taking any further measures. of course, people should remain cautious as we approach new year celebrations,
and take a lateral flow test, if that makes sense. celebrate outside, if you can. have ventilation indoors if you can, please remain cautious. many businesses will drink to that. but at this pub in bristol, they say that even existing restrictions have hit them hard. we've already lost a very, very big trading period — already. a really key trading period. next month, it'll have little impact, because it's a quiet time of year anyway. government ministers are still worried about the effect that self—isolation as well as sickness is having on staffing levels in the nhs, which is one of the reasons they haven't completely ruled out new measures in 2022. covid is having a significant impact on staffing in our. emergency departments. the most common figure coming back at us is thati departments are reporting 20, 25% of their staff off— because of covid—related reasons at the moment, | and that's a really big deal. for emergency departments.
westminster is now on a very divergent path from the administrations in other parts of the uk. but government ministers say they are analysing the data in england, not ignoring it. the prime minister was briefed by his scientific and medical advisers today, and downing street say he saw nothing in the data that would force him to push the red button on further restrictions in england. had he done so, then mps would have been brought back here to vote on them — that's now been ruled out. you can see why borisjohnson might have been quite keen to avoid that. the ayes to the right, 369. earlier this month, 100 of his own mps rebelled against the introduction of covid passes, and he may have faced even greater resistance to any new measures before new year. the prime minister is well aware of the sentiment on the conservative backbenches, it was a massive rebellion. without hard data to support any further lockdown measures, the rebellion
would only be larger. labour is calling for the government now to publish all relevant data and scientific advice, they say to reassure the public that borisjohnson isn'tjust capitulating to his own party. there's often been a spirit of goodwill during the covid crisis but you can't entirely keep politics out of a pandemic. let's return to the situation in the us. dr peter chin—hong is an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at the university of california san francisco. i asked him for his thoughts on the new isolation rules. we don't have a lot of time to wait for the best data.
in a large sense it is driven by the workforce, if you think about health care and airlines, they all have a common denominator. if you were positive under the old rules, and people were asymptomatic, you had a covid prison sentence for ten days, and i think that was wreaking havoc on all facets of life, frankly. the trouble is, our assumption was you needed ten days to be shot of it. can you explain a little bit about the infection period and how long we might still harbour it? yes, several reasons went into this recommendation. first, overall, we are not in the same place as we were in the fall of 2020 when the guidelines were last updated. we have had vaccines since then and more therapeutics, so if you think about that
timeline when you are infected and when you are most likely to transmit, if you think about alpha, it was said to be about five days, delta four days, and 0micron is thought to be three days, much of that data comes from the oslo event when scores of people were infected with 0micron. that is the thinking — two days before, three days after. call it five, and you wear a mask for the additionalfive days, we think the probability of transmission then is low. and even if you do get transmission, we have antibodies and increasing oral options that will be available. we are more comfortable with treating covid. as a vaccinated person, we know you are very unlikely to get serious disease, hospitalisation and death, very different from november 2020. does it bother you, this new regime? i appreciate there is an economic call for
it, a business sense, but as a medical man and a scientist, are you anxious? i am a little anxious, , david, because we don't quite i am a little anxious, to be honest, david, because we don't quite have the amount of data we had in the previous version. we know for example, if i call up the old data, you can take up to 11.5 days for everyone to sort of transmit, if they are going to transmit from an initial infection. so i guess the tail end is what makes me nervous. i am nervous about whether or not folks are going to wear masks after those five days, because you are not out of the woods just because you are in society, it doesn't mean you are not capable of transmission. and are you going to wear the right mask? cloth masks are not going to be enough for 0micron we think, and you need something better, at least a well fitted surgical mask if not an n—95 mask.
of the situation regarding the ukraine and the tension with russia and nato. in the last few minutes of the white house have said they will be holding dialogue, negotiations between russia and the united states nuclear arms control and on those tensions over ukraine, on january the 10th. that has come from the white house national security spokesman, just adding that the us looks forward to engaging with russia, and those talks will come just ahead of discussions between moscow and nato representatives, with russia and the regional security body also speaking on january 12—13. that is the breaking news, dialogue between the us and russia over the tensions in ukraine. south africa has begun a week
of events to commemorate the life of archbishop desmond tutu. the anti—apartheid leader died on sunday, aged 90. the bells of cape town's st george's cathedral, where he was archbishop for 10 years, will toll for 10 minutes every day at noon until friday. table mountain and the city hall in cape town will be lit up in purple every night ahead of his funeral on the first of january. purple to represent the colour of his clerical robes. here are the pictures from earlier today of south african president cyril ramaphosa arriving at the archbishop's residence, to offer condolences to his widow leah and the other family members. 0ur correspondent nomsa maseko is in cape town, outside st george's cathedral. people are reflecting about archbishop desmond tutu as a man who was small in stature but had a big heart. after all, he was the man who was chosen by nelson mandela to head the reconciliation process here back in 1994, when south africa
became a democracy. a lot of people speak about the man who played a prominent role in ensuring that south africa does indeed become a democracy. so he wasn'tjust respected here in this country, but all over the world, and also with world leaders having paid their own tribute, speaking about the man, describing desmond tutu as a moral compass not just for south africa, but also for them in their respective countries. stay with us on bbc news, still to come. as hollywood box—office takings continue to tumble, we examine if this means the end of going out to the cinema? the most ambitious financial and political change ever attempted has got under way with the introduction of the euro.
tomorrow in holland they are going to use money that we picked up in belgium today and then we will be in france and again it will be the same money. it has got to be the way to go. george harrison, the former beatle, is recovering in hospital after being stabbed at his oxfordshire home. a 33—year—old man from liverpool is being interviewed by police on suspicion of attempted murder. i think it was good. just good? - no, fantastic. that's better. j big ben bongs. this is bbc news,
the latest headlines. america's leading health body halves the isolation period for patients with asymptomatic covid, from ten days to five. france gets tougher on covid restrictions, with working from home becoming compulsory, as infection rates exceed 100,000 a day. the captain and first officer of a ship that caused an environmental disaster in mauritius have been sentenced to 20 months in prison. both men were found guilty last week of endangering safe navigation. sylvia lennan—spence reports. these were once clear waters, pristine beaches, but all of this was contaminated by thick, black oil, leaking from this ship, the mv wakashio, a japanese owned vessel that was sailing from singapore to brazil, when it ran aground injuly, 2020. the freighter spilt more than 1000 tonnes of fuel, releasing a toxic tide that damaged wildlife,
corals and mangroves. it is one of the worst environmental disasters that mauritius has ever seen. during the trial, the ship's captain, sunil kumar nandeshwar, admitted to having a few drinks during a birthday party on board the vessel and to having given instructions to approach mauritian waters, to gain access to mobile phone networks, so that the crew could contact their families. he had left the first officer at the helm. both men were found guilty of endangering safe navigation and sentenced to 20 months in prison. translation: it is a very harsh sentence, considering _ the offence that was committed. it is extremely rare that a court does not take into consideration the rules of remission for a guilty plea. the two men have been in police custody since august, 2020, meaning, that with time served, they can now return home to india and sri lanka respectively. the ship's insurers have agreed
to pay compensation of $2500 each to hundreds of fishermen and fishmongers for the loss of earnings caused by the spill. sylvia lennan—spence, bbc news. heavy storms have battered western regions of the us, leaving thousands without power. almost 30 inches of snow fell in california at the weekend, causing major disruption and road closures. meanwhile, other western us states continue to be battered by heavy snow storms, including the state of washington. well, let's go straight there — we're joined in seattle by fox 13 meteorologist abby acone. thanks forjoining us. it looks cold enough, but calm enough. certainly not the case for some parts of the country.—
parts of the country. that's ri . ht, parts of the country. that's riaht, i parts of the country. that's right. i was _ parts of the country. that's right, i was looking - parts of the country. that's right, i was looking at - parts of the country. that's right, i was looking at the l right, i was looking at the forecast and we were looking at extreme wind chills in the northern rockies, and we still expect classic winter weather. sierra nevada getting ten feet of snow and they expect a couple more feet this week, which has been crystallising —— which has been crystallising —— which has been crippling traffic. i which has been crippling traffic. ., which has been crippling traffic. . ., , traffic. i saw weather warnings for nevada _ traffic. i saw weather warnings for nevada and _ traffic. i saw weather warnings for nevada and a _ traffic. i saw weather warnings for nevada and a whole - traffic. i saw weather warnings for nevada and a whole raft i traffic. i saw weather warnings for nevada and a whole raft of| for nevada and a whole raft of states. how far is this away from what you would expect from an average winter, if there is such a thing any more? i4541431111 such a thing any more? well exactl , such a thing any more? well exactly. this _ such a thing any more? well exactly, this is _ such a thing any more? well exactly, this is part - such a thing any more? well exactly, this is part of - such a thing any more? well exactly, this is part of the i exactly, this is part of the big picture, thejet stream directly over the west coast. we have been pummelled by significant mountain snow, so there is a degree of normalcy. we see this kind of winter weather. but this is extreme snow. especially for what we are seeing in california,
oregon and washington. ﬁnd are seeing in california, oregon and washington. and into the ureat oregon and washington. and into the great plains i oregon and washington. and into the great plains and i oregon and washington. and into the great plains and even i oregon and washington. and into the great plains and even the i the great plains and even the rockies as well. what sort of impact are you seeing across the country?— the country? how badly is it affectin: the country? how badly is it affecting you _ the country? how badly is it affecting you all? in i the country? how badly is it affecting you all? in seattle| affecting you all? in seattle we average six inches of snow per year, we got that in the day, some spots got more than a foot. typically in seattle and the puget sound lowlands we don't have the equipment to clear it quickly, so it stops traffic on a busy holiday weekend. 0n interstate 80, the foothills to the nevada state line, a lot of people just completely stranded. not able to finish their holiday travel. that is not fun, we understand that much. you have got snow on the ground so obviously it is cold, but i was reading that in some parts of the country, the temperatures and the wind chill are falling as low as —55
fahrenheit. is that possible? right. you know what, david, those numbers should be illegal, because that is extreme and dangerous cold. in seattle, we dropped to 17 fahrenheit earlier today, believe it or not that is 91 degrees colder than the triple digits we had injune, we had a high of 108 digits we had injune, we had a high of108 injune, digits we had injune, we had a high of 108 injune, the third consecutive day in triple digits, would have been 42 celsius. 50 digits, would have been 42 celsius. , , , , celsius. so this is the biggest temperature swing i celsius. so this is the biggest temperature swing we i celsius. so this is the biggest temperature swing we have l celsius. so this is the biggest i temperature swing we have seen in seattle in history. i don't think we can say it is breaking the law, but those extremes are ridiculous. thank you, abby, go and get in the warm. as we reach the end of the year, hollywood is counting its box office losses as the pandemic continues to prevent large sections of the audience
returning to the cinema. in the us, takings are set to reach $4.4 billion by the end of the year, which sounds like no mean feat, but that's down 61% on 2019, the last year where covid—19 wasn't a factor. globally, box office receipts this year were around 20 billion, again not be laughed at, but half of what the studios made in 2019. so far, only one film this year has grossed more than $1 billion across the world — spider man: no way home — compared to nine films in 2019. so is fear of covid stopping audiences setting out to the local mutliplex, or has the rise of streaming and on—demand changed the way we consume movies for ever? paul dergarabedian is a senior media analyst at comscore and gave me his opinion. an incredible year and a half, almost two years, really, for the movie theatres in particular. movie theatres shutting down
potentially in march 2020, movie theatres shutting down essentially in march 2020, and since then, it's been a real roller—coaster ride at the box office. like you said, the takings seem impressive at 20 billion globally expected, 4.4 billion in north america, which is around half, and in the case of north america, less than half of what we earned in 2019, but it is double what we earned in 2020 on both counts, so kind of a good news/bad news scenario. considering where we were a year ago, we are in a pretty good spot, especially with spider—man doing $1 billion of business. and obviously the success of streaming, partly a covid success in a strange sort of way, that brings in its own revenues which don't count in the box office sense, but does it signal a change forever? or will we get back to those packed cinemas? i think we are going to get back to the packed cinemas, but it will take a little longer than we expected.
considering the proliferation of streaming, how great to have it at home, that is wonderful for people who don't want to go out, but the fact spider—man did as well and it did, venom, some of the other big blockbusters like that, generally those films which have youth appeal have done very well. the films that opened in theatres first did better, they actually performed better in theatres, because that was the only place you could see them. and then when they hit the small screen, they are more coveted and desired, films have a greater prestige when they go into the movie theatre first. but definitely the industry is learning how all the new dynamics are coming to bear in terms of the box office and streaming. you make an interesting point about the youth element, they are happy to go to the movies and still take it on board. perhaps different generations are that much more anxious, and that will be a hard
nut to crack. i think that is really the case here. if you look at the big franchise films that have done well, the super girl films, against the more adult—oriented films, like west side story for example, which many hoped would do much better because it is a great movie. but if the demographic, the mature demographic, is still reticent to go to the movie theatre, that is going to be a problem, i don't think forever, but right now the big blockbusters will help the theatres to weather the storm and get through this tough period and get on their feet for next year. the us health authorities have halved the recommended isolation period for people who test positive for covid—19 but don't exhibit symptoms, as they seek to balance disease prevention and keeping the economy open. the centers for disease control says that infected but
asymptomatic people should stay at home for five days, and wear a mask around others for a further five. hello there. the big weather story for the rest of this week, and of course that means the rest of this year, is all about exceptionally high temperatures. this chart shows the temperature compared with the average. as these deep red colours spread northwards across the chart, that shows that temperatures will be significantly higher than we'd expect them to be at this time of year. daytime highs of 16—17 degrees, some very mild nights. there will be some rain at times as well, and during tuesday, it's this area of low pressure responsible for bringing some wet weather. and on the southern flank of that low, also some quite windy weather. so, as our area of low pressure slides eastwards, we will see outbreaks of rain through the morning across parts of england and wales. a lot of mist and murk and low
cloud around as well. should brighten up from the west. northern ireland and scotland certainly turning brighter by the afternoon. 0nce any early fog has lifted, there should be quite a lot of sunshine around. relatively light winds in the north, but down towards the south, particularly for western and southern coasts, we're likely to see gusts of 40—50, maybe 55 mph. and still quite a split in temperatures for the time being. 5—6 degrees in northern scotland, 12—13 in southern england. then as we head through tuesday night into the early part of wednesday, a drier, quieter interlude before another band of rain swings its way in from the west. a little bit chilly again across northern parts of scotland, very mild down towards wales and the south west of england. and for wednesday, that band of rain associated with the frontal system will continue to journey its way north—eastwards, so we will see some wet weather for a time on wednesday. clearing many areas quite quickly. that rain lingering, though, for a good part of the afternoon in northern scotland. behind it, there will be some spells of sunshine, some areas of cloud, too. but some increasingly
mild conditions, 15—16 degrees in the south, 13 there for belfast, ten in glasgow. the milder air is journeying northwards. it will continue to do so on thursday. quite a cloudy day for many, some mist and murk, some rain especially in the west. best chance of any sunshine in eastern parts, but highs of 16 or maybe 17 degrees. but even northern scotland will be up into double digits by this stage. another quite windy day in prospect. for friday, new year's eve, a lot of cloud around, some rain, especially in the west. best of any sunshine in the east, and still milder than it should be for the end of december. highs of 11—16 degrees.
this is bbc news, the headlines... the us health authorities have halved the recommended isolation period for people who test positive for covid—19, without exhibiting symptoms. the centers for disease control now says that infected but asymptomatic people should stay home for five days and wear a mask around others for a further five. france has become the latest european country to tighten covid restrictions, in the face of rapidly rising cases. the government has stopped short of imposing a curfew despite daily infection rates exceeding one hundred thousand. employees have been told to work from home for three days a week, where possible. the uk health secretary, sajid javid has confirmed that no further covid measures, will be introduced in england before the new year — but he urged people to "remain cautious." the announcement puts england out of step with the other devolved uk nations who have introduced tougher measures.