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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 28, 2021 3:00pm-3:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in the uk and around the world. i'm ben brown. our top stories... the us halves the covid isolation period for people without symptoms to five days. we'll look at the reasons behind the move. the uk government says it will keep its decision not to impose further covid curbs in england under very close review. russia's supreme court rules the country's best known human rights group must be dissolved. a huge increase in the number of young children having to work on the streets in afghanistan — we have a special report from kabul. translation: my dad lost his “ob and no-one else was working, h so i started shoe—shining.
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australia's cricketers thrash england — in one of the quickest ashes defeats ever. and unwrapping the secrets of an ancient egyptian pharoah. we'll hear from the researcher who peeled off the bandages using modern technology. hello and welcome. us health authorities have halved the recommended isolation period for people who test positive for covid but don't exhibit symptoms. they've previously warned of a half a million cases a day in the coming weeks as the omicron variant takes hold. that isolation time goes from 10 to 5 days. officials insist this is being guided by the science. but we are seeing countries using quite different strategies. france and germany have both reintroduced tougher coronavirus restrictions.
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the french government has stopped just short of a stay—at—home order, but working from home will now be compulsory. demonstrations have taken place across eastern germany overnight against the new measures there the uk government is to wait untiljanuary before reevaluating whether to bring in more coronavirus restrictions in england. but scotland, wales and northern ireland have all introduced further restrictions this week. people in wales and scotland are living with curbs on hospitality, including the closure of nightclubs and all three nations have imposed restrictions on social mixing indoors. we'll have more on the uk situation in a moment but first, let's take a look at that reduction in self—isolation for asymptomatic cases in the us. this doctor explains what's behind the move. i think there's several reasons that went into this recommendation. the first is that overall, we are not in the same place that we were in the fall of 2020,
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when these guidelines were last updated. we've had vaccines since then. more therapeutics. so, if you think about that generation time, the time when you're infected and the time when you're most likely to transmit, if you think about alpha, that is said to be five days. delta, four days. and omicron is thought to be three days. and even if we get a transmission, we have, you know, monoclonal antibodies, we have increasing oral options that are going to be away in days and we are more comfortable with treating covid. let's speak to david edwards — he's an aerosol scientist and a harvard university professor and bioengineer. hejoins us from he joins us from paris. hejoins us from paris. does it make sense, reducing the isolation period from ten days down to five days? thank you very much. i understand the logic. it's important for people to understand that the omicron
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variant, like previous variants, infects us initially in the upper airways. there's nothing about vaccination that prevents that happening. as time goes on and more of the population has been infected or vaccinated, our immune resistance against infection and against severity of symptoms is going up. one of the things authorities are clearly reacting to is the fact that while hospitalisation rates are going up relatively slowly, relative to case rates, case rates are climbing at a very high rate. so there is a pressure to react but also an awareness that very likely our immune systems are coming to our defence. it is true that we have increasing numbers of drugs and vaccines to defend ourselves but i think the immune system is the primary defence we have right now and that's arguing for a relaxation of the regulations by the american
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authorities. why would also point out that the... the risks that we are facing right now are being measured in terms of hospitalisation but also economic and other collateral damages. the government of the us and other countries right now are trying to balance a holistic strategy here and in my view what the americans are doing is probably the americans are doing is probably the right thing to be doing right now. we the right thing to be doing right now. ~ . , ' now. we are seeing different strategies — now. we are seeing different strategies in _ now. we are seeing different strategies in different - now. we are seeing different. strategies in different countries, aren't we? in england, here, no restrictions or almost no restrictions or almost no restrictions and other countries, quite severe restrictions. everybody, all the governments say they are following the science and data, but different interpretations i suppose. what's your reading so far of what omicron is doing and how dangerous it is or is it actually
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much less dangerous than we initially thought?— much less dangerous than we initially thought? well, i think both of those _ initially thought? well, i think both of those things _ initially thought? well, i think both of those things are - initially thought? well, i think both of those things are true. | both of those things are true. you've mentioned many important points. talking about the science, what we know about covid two and all the variants is that it infects the upper airways. we've learned in the pandemic that the likelihood of that infection, having been in our bodies, going deep into the lungs or going deep into the environment and infecting others, the likelihood goes up so there is a period of infectiousness that we have, when infected, that last anywhere between a few days and ten days. what we learned from the last variant, delta, studies that we did is that likely the delta variant is able to be more easily aerosol eyes to relative to alpha and i'm guessing that omicron is able to get in the
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air easier compared to delta which is why the rate of infection is higher compared to other variants which is the first not good news. but the rate of hospitalisation relative to infection rate is going down. there are many reasons for that, such as immune system is coming to defence. when it comes to the regulations by the governments, the regulations by the governments, the fact that these regulations are differing, is not simply a matter of the science, of covid—i9 or even a matter of how we defend ourselves. i think we're pretty aware right now of the value of social distance and isolation, of the value of various forms of hygiene. what is true is that there is a balance between going back to a normal life, recognising that covid—i9 is becoming endemic and that we'll be dealing with it probably for a very
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long time. there's a need to get back to a as usual and i think all of the different governments today are trying to understand, what is the rate at which we get back to that business as usual? for all of us, we are living with this now, it is quite stressful that governments are not coming up with exactly the same answers and at the same moment in time. mil same answers and at the same moment in time. �* . ~' ,, same answers and at the same moment in time. �* ., ~ i. i” in time. all right, thank you your time. as we heard, the uk government says it will keep "under very close review" its decision not to bring in further coronavirus restrictions in england, but early indications are that the omicron variant is not leading to the same level of hospitalisations as previous waves. our health correspondent sophie hutchinson reports. a vaccination centre in lambeth, in london. among the boroughs worst affected by omicron in the uk. staff here say there is no shortage of demand forjabs. i'm a schoolteacher, i've got to go back.
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there are zero mitigations in class. and... i don't want to get sick, you know, i am 57. i am quite frightened about that. i don't want to pass it on to my loved ones. it's really important because i am a recently retired senior head of education at university college. so, i preach it took my staff so i jolly well have to do it as well. if you see what i mean. unlike the rest of the uk, which has increased restrictions, the government in england is relying on vaccinations to get the country through the latest wave of covid. at the moment, we don't think that the evidence supports any more interventions beyond what we have done, but obviously we have to keep it under very close review, because if it is the case and we start to see a big increase in hospitalisations, then we would need to act further, and that's why we have to keep it under close review. so, what is the data the government is monitoring? in particular it is around the most vulnerable groups. london, the epicentre of the uk omicron outbreak,
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has seen some rises in infections in older people and hospitalisations, but figures for intensive care are still below any worrying threshold. cases are still rising. i think suggestions a few days ago that we might have actually started to peak i think was probably not borne out yesterday. but on the other hand, cases aren't increasing as rapidly as they were a week or so ago. i think we can be fairly certain that they are not doubling every couple of days now. the hospitality sector has described the decision not to add further measures as a lifeline for pubs, bars and clubs. it also says allowing people to go out on new year's eve signals better times ahead. it's notjust about new year's eve for us. it's bigger than that. it's the start of a recovery and we believe we have created safe environments for people to come out and socialise. and we think it's the best scenario, given the fact that if we'd have
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closed, we would potentially have seen more house parties and more illegal events, which would have been counter—productive. but there are concerns about the wider impact of omicron on the nhs. hospital leaders say while many people are coming into hospital with covid but not because of covid, staff are also getting infected. it's very clear as soon as you get omicron circulating significantly amongst the community, of course it will be circulating amongst nhs staff. we are now having to redeploy staff to fill gaps that are being left in critical and essential services by staff who are off with covid—related absences. along with vaccinations, the government in england is urging people to remain cautious and if possible, to celebrate outside on new year's eve. it will assess whether more restrictions are needed injanuary. sophie hutchinson, bbc news. england is now taking a different approach on covid restrictions from the other nations of the uk. our political correspondent
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ione wells explained that despite seeing similar data, england, scotland, wales and northern ireland's governments wer taking different approaches. we are seeing the four nations in the uk all really interpreting the data we are seeing in different ways. uk ministers have said in england while hospitalisations are rising, they're not yet at a level they think warrants introducing any further curbs. scientists have said they are still relatively low numbers of vaccinated people needing intensive care, stressing the need, of course, for vaccinations, but experts have been warning today that the cases alone, even if they don't translate into hospitalisations, could cause other types of chaos. the chief executive of nhs providers chris hopson has warned it could be those staff shortages in the nhs that start to become the bigger problem, rather than the numbers of people needing care. so, as you say, england now on quite a divergent path, with the other nations, taking precautions to curb the rising cases,
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even if they aren't necessarily translating into rising hospitalisations yet. if this different approach in england pays off, borisjohnson could have that news welcomed, particularly by his own mps, who will welcome keeping the economy open. if it doesn't pay off and admissions continue to rise in the new year or staff shortages risk overwhelming the nhs, he could face being accused of putting politics above public health by some of his critics. russia's supreme court has ruled that the country's best known human rights group, memorial, must be disbanded for breaking the law on foreign agents. the organisation was founded in 1989 by soviet dissidents including nobel peace prize laureate andrei sakharov. it's the latest move against critics of the kremlin. our moscow correspondent steve rosenberg explained. you mentioned the foreign
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agents law, there. this is draconian legislation which the russian authorities have been using more and more, to put pressure on ngos, rights groups and journalists who fall foul of the government. so, prosecutors have claimed that international memorial had violated the foreign agents law by not correctly marking some of their materials, foreign agents. and that was the reason for this case going ahead. but this is more to do with... this is more about, i think, about the past and what president putin and the kremlin think of the past. international memorial, for 30 years, has shone a light on one of the darkest chapters of russia's history in the 20th—century, stalin's crimes against the people, the great terror ofjosef stalin. and for 30 years they've been cataloguing the victims of the terror and the perpetrators of the terror. modern russia isn't interested in the dark chapters of the country's history. it wants to focus on the triumphs, on the glories.
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for example the victory in the second world war. i think there's a feeling amongst those run russia today that there is no need for an ngo which concentrates on the dark moments of the country's history. in cricket, australia has successfully retained the ashes, winning the third test against england in melbourne. in what was a dominating performance, australia's fast bowlers ripped through england's batting order to win by an innings and 14 runs. the victory means australia has an insurmountable 3—0 lead in the best of 5 test series, retaining the ashes once again. this was the reaction from the captains. yeah, everything has gone to plan. it feels, you know, our bowlers have been fantastic, i haven't even felt like there's been one session that it
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has got away from us. yeah, it'sjust, it's what dreams are made of, the way we played. everyone in the dressing room is gutted. you know, that's not a good enough performance and we all know that. we need to put some pride back into the badge and make sure we come away from this tour with something. it's as simple as that. can't really add any more. so, what went wrong for england? i put that to former england international, monty panesar. i think what's gone wrong has basically being through the whole year. joe root is averaging 61 with the bat and the other top seven are averaging 22, so they haven't really been in a position to supportjoe root through the 15 test matches that they've had this year. it becomes a repeated pattern, then. when they're in a tough situation in australia, they don't have the preparation for it. it goes way back when they had
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their rotation, the rest and rotation policy, and they gave the selector role to chris silverwood, which i think is too big for him. should have been a separate person as a selector. they haven't had enough runs, you know. not enough runs. and fortunately the bowling unit did well but it's the batting again. joe root can't save england in every test match. joe root was saying that if they win the next two test matches they will at least salvage some pride, but that looks like a tall order in itself, doesn't it? yeah, look, that's going to be very difficult for them. somehow they've got to find a way, how to play on australian bouncy pitches, especially the length scot boland bowled, unbelievable. only the second indigenous player to play for australia.
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in 2018, touring england with the aborginal side. that's a great landmark for people in australia. his length was relentless and that, in english conditions doesn't bounce as high. itjust goes past the stumps. they aren't used to that and that's another issue. people talking about the pitches in england, should they be flatter? should the county game last for three or four days? that doesn't happen as often as it needs to. they need to find a method to counteract the venom, the bounce and the seam movement of the australian fast bowlers and they've got to do it quickly because some of these players, their careers could be on the line and that's a very difficult place for any player to be. so, let's hope that in the next test
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match they can perform better. as the humanitarian crisis in afghanistan deepens this winter, many families are having to take drastic action just to survive. hundreds of thousands of children already had to work in the country, now even more parents are being forced to send their kids out into the streets to earn money. secunder kermani and camera journalist malik mudassir sent this report from kabul. wherever you go in this city, you see children working. wafting incense into cars... ..picking through rubbish. even when billions were pouring into this country, many children had to help provide for theirfamilies. now, amidst an economic collapse, the number is growing. child coughs. it is sam, and 13—year—old pervez is getting ready for work.
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he and his young cousins only started polishing shoes in the last few months. his father spends his day waiting for work as a labourer on the corner of the road. in the past, he earned just enough to get by. translation: i come here every day, but don't even earn ten afghani. - i can't even afford a piece of bread for lunch. it is the same for everyone here. pervez and his cousins walk the streets, sticking together in case other boys start fights with them. business is slow.
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with no customers, the boys take a break at a playground in the centre of kabul. they still have big dreams for the future. what do you want to do when you are older? when school starts again, will you go back to school or will you just carry on working? the boys walk past the city's kebab vendors... ..and the displays on kabul�*s flower street, as well as civil servants demanding unpaid salaries, and huge queues outside banks. have you had lunch today? no. why? so what will you do now? eventually they buy a single piece
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of bread to share between them. soon after, they find a customer too. from morning to evening, most of those coming to my shop just want to shine shoes or are begging. maybe 150 people like that come here every day. the money pervez earns will help feed his family today. but food prices are rising and the rent is overdue. are you happy you're helping yourfamily? secunder kermani, bbc news, kabul. let's look at some of the day's other news. the charity save the children has
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confirmed the deaths of two of its staff in eastern myanmar, saying they were caught up in an attack by the military last saturday. it said at least 35 people were killed in the incident and their bodies burnt. the military has denied involvement. a major diplomatic row is brewing between china and the united states, this time over space. beijing says that its new space station twice narrowly avoided being hit by satellites being operated by american entrepreneur elon musk. china is blaming the us and has reported the incidents to the united nations. a mummified body of an ancient eyptian pharaoh has been examined for the first time after being digitally unwrapped using hi—tech scanners. dr sahar saleem is the lead author of the study and radiologist at the egyptian mummy project. she told me how they were able to gain insights about the mummification and
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burial of the king. this is the only money for the ancient kingdom that has not been unwrapped in the modern time. the mummy is totally wrapped, with the wrappings put on 3000 years ago. so, we didn't want to disturb this duty of the mummy and this precious object orfigure. so, we did a digital unwrapping of the mummy, using the scan and advanced technology, so we would remove the layers of wrapping, to have a glimpse on the face of the king and his condition and the amulet combo jewellery he is wearing, without actually touching the mummy or
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destroying it. we got to see the face of the king that's been around for more than 3000 years. nobody had a look at him. it was amazing for me to look at his face and see how his facial features resemble his father. this was the first thing. to get to know exactly his age, 35 years old, with very good physical condition and with health and good teeth, so he must have died of an infection or virus. there is no evidence of why he died. also we got to know the mummification style. the amulets as well as the golden girdle, the
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mummified king is wearing on his lower back. you are watching bbc news. good afternoon. here's your latest sports news. good afternoon. the football has mercifully come along to distract us from england's ashes misery. there should have been six fixtures today in the premier league but two have been postponed for covid reasons. spain forward ferran torres has completed his move from manchester city to barcelona. the deal is worth an initial £116] million. the 21 year old has signed a five
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and a half year deal. torres spentjust 16 months at city afterjoining from valencia last year. meanwhile, manchester united have turned down an offer from sevilla to take forward anthony martial on loan. it's thought the spanish club were only willing to pay half of the frenchman's £150,000 a week wages. martial has told united he wants to leave old trafford. england's ashes calamity has been described as �*embarrassing' and the captain himself called it �*gut—wrenching'. this is the fall out from yet another heavy defeat down under. they're 3—0 down in the series after australia won the melbourne test by an innings, bowling england out forjust 68. our sports correspondentjoe wilson was watching. 100,000 seats at the melbourne cricket ground. did one person give england half a chance? ben stokes can defy all the odds — sometimes. 0h, he's got him, there's the comeback. the bowling here was just too good —
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stokes knew it — gone for 11. england's collective collapse was so painful because it was so predictable. bairstow — lbw — given. a bowler playing in his very first test match, scott boland took over — joe root out for 28. well, that's one to celebrate — and the catcher, david warner, certainly did. england's resistance vanished. never mind making australia bat again — england couldn't even keep going until lunch. boland — six wickets for seven runs. and it was australia's future who wrapped it up — 22—year—old cameron green... oh, there we go! ..dismissing 39—year—old james anderson. 68, all out. i'm absolutely gutted. bitterly disappointed. you turn up today and you walk out to bat with ben stokes and you feel like anything's possible. er...you know, we're bitterly disappointed to find
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ourselves in this position. the whole mystique of the ashes is the concept of the ultimate competition. well, as the two teams shook sanitised hands, the gulf between them had never seemed so wide. joe wilson, bbc news. premiership rugby are investigating allegations against leicester regarding historical image rights payments. tigers have confirmed they've met with representatives of the league to discuss the potential breach of salary cap rules which the times reports relates to links between the club and a now defunct company, worldwide image management. leicester are top of the premiership with ten wins from ten. dominic thiem has pulled out of january's australian open. the 2020 finalist has not played because of a wrist injury since june. the issue meant thiem could not defend the us open title he won last year. but defending women's singles champion naomi osaka has landed in melbourne. she hasn't played since losing
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in the third round of the us open and taking a break from the sport. the australian open begins in just under three weeks. two quick goals from west ham in two minutes mean they lead watford 2—1. i'll be back with more later. let's go through the news headlines. in the united states, people without covid symptoms can end their self—isolation period earlier — from 10 days to five, amid a surge in cases. critics are concerned testing was not recommened to end isolation. critics are concerned testing was not recommended to end isolation. afghanistan's humanitarian crisis deepens, as more parents are being forced to send their kids out onto the streets to earn money.
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the country's unemployment rate has risen since the taliban took power.

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