this is bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in the uk and around the world. i'm jane hill. our top stories... the uk government says it will keep its decision not to impose further covid curbs in england under very close review. so, be cautious, take a lateralflow test before you go out. go to well ventilated areas. the us halves the covid isolation period for people without symptoms to five days. 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. australia's cricketers trash england — in one of the quickest ashes defeats ever.
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. people in england are being urged to take care in the run—up to new year's eve, after the westminster government decided not to bring in further covid rules. ministers say they're keeping the decision under close review — but that the early indications are that the omicron variant isn't leading to the level of serious disease seen in previous waves. the uk government is to wait untiljanuary before re—evaluating the situation. 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. in the united states, health officials have halved the recommended isolation time for people with asymptomatic covid—i9 — from 10 to five days, amid a surge in cases. france and germany have both re—introduced tougher coronavirus restrictions. the french government has stopped just short of a stay—at—home order, but working from home is now compulsory. demonstrations have taken place across eastern germany against the new measures there. we'll have more on those stories shortly; but our first report this hour is from our health correspondent sophie hutchinson. 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'mi 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, 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 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. the uk health minister gillian keegan has been speaking about the government's decision not to bring in further
restrictions in england. she was asked what people should do over new year. we've always said act cautiously, since this new variant came amongst us, and it is highly infectious, many people will know somebody who is caught this over the christmas period. so do be cautious, take a lateral flow test before you go out. go to well ventilated areas, i've been to a couple of outdoor parties, actually, people have moved things to outside. sojust be cautious, but you know, do try to enjoy yourself as well. dr leon danon is an expert in infectious disease epidemiology and modelling at bristol university. he sits on spi—m, the scientific pandemic influenza modelling group, which reports to sage, the government's scientific advisors. he is speaking in a personal capacity.
afternoon. we don't have the traditional figures for the afternoon. we don't have the traditionalfigures for the uk but what will you be looking for in the figures? well, we'll be looking to whether they are going up or down compared to the recent numbers. the last figures we have are from yesterday, 98,000 people testing positive in total. that's down from just before christmas, christmas eve, the 24th, about 122,000. try and put it in context, from last year we saw similar patterns, the highest peak on the 24th of december, 2020 and then a reduction in the number of cases recorded, followed by a peak on the 29th of december, a couple of days later. so
there's a couple of things that are a bit complicated to disentangle. people are obviously changing their behaviour, so over christmas they gather in different settings and groups and also testing restrictions, the testing behaviour is different, so that contributes to fluctuations in the total number of cases that aren't necessarily reflective of the total infections in the community. the numbers need to be interpreted with care. clearly the people gathering the data also see that there is a delay. absolutely and given that the government in westminster says it's not really going to look at things untiljanuary, similarly, what are the key elements that they are looking for? the constant tension
between the health and economic side of it. , �* ., , ., of it. yes, i'm not very qualified to seak of it. yes, i'm not very qualified to speak to _ of it. yes, i'm not very qualified to speak to the _ of it. yes, i'm not very qualified to speak to the economic - of it. yes, i'm not very qualified to speak to the economic side l of it. yes, i'm not very qualified| to speak to the economic side of things. again i would think back to this time last year when we were under quite tight restrictions. we had a peak in the total cases i've just mentioned on the 29th of december which translated into pigs in hospitalisations a couple of weeks later. if we saw a repeat of that then there could be a repeat in the hospitalisations and deaths. if the hospitalisations and deaths. if the policy decisions is not to impose restrictions, it's unclear when the peak is going to come. both in the number of cases and in the kind of knock—on effect, hospitalisations and deaths. those
are the things we're looking for. it's up for debate when that's going to come, when we'll see the peaks. given the unknown is that you're outlining, what are your personal thoughts about how people should behave, especially around new year? it's always good to urge caution for people, to take a lateral flow test before meeting people. in my family we take a lateral flow test very often, probably daily, especially when we are about to see someone who is older, vulnerable etc. in our survey we did just before christmas through the studies that are running in bristol and in the rest of the uk, people are taking this seriously
and the variant has made people quite cautious about what they're doing. up—to—date percent of the people we surveyed said they would do something, such as a lateral flow test. so i'd urge people to continue doing that as much as possible and to be careful in general. we should encourage that even more, especially now that more partying is going to happen over new year.— happen over new year. thanks for our happen over new year. thanks for your time- — happen over new year. thanks for your time. thanks. _ health officials in the us have halved the recommended isolation time for people with asymptomatic covid—19, from 10 to five days though the center for disease control says this must be followed by people wearing a mask whenever they're with others for a further five days. the measure is designed to alleviate disruptions caused by staff shortages because of infections. david edwards is an aerosol scientist and a harvard university professor and bioengineer. we asked him about the decision to halve isolation time
for asymptomatic infection. i think understand the logic. it's important for people to understand that the omicron variant, like previous variants, infects us initially in the upper airways. there's nothing about vaccination that prevents that happening. what's true, as time goes on and more of the population has been infected or vaccinated, is that 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 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 right thing to be doing right now.
new restrictions come into effect in germany today. demonstrators took to the streets in towns across eastern germany overnight to protest against the new rules. they include a limit on private gatherings to ten vaccinated people and the closure of all nightclubs. students of all ages will have to wear masks in school, and sports competitions will be held behind closed doors. unvaccinated people are already banned from much of public life and only two are allowed to meet in private. the french government has defended the introduction of new coronavirus measures as "proportionate". employees will be expected to work from home more — and bars and cafes will only serve customers who are seated at tables. and there are plans to exclude people who aren't vaccinated from some entertainment venues, even if they have a negative covid test. as the humanitarian crisis in afghanistan deepens this winter, many families are having to take drastic action 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 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. 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. 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 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. 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, as our moscow correspondent steve rosenberg explained. you mentioned the foreign 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. 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. let's look at some of the day's other news. turkish authorities have detained 16 people, on suspicion of operating a religious bookstore linked to islamic state. there were clashes with police as they tried to shut the store down. it was accused of operating without a license. a huge operation is under way on the island of la palma, in spain's canary islands, to remove the lava which flowed from the volcanic eruption.
activity at the cumbre vieja volcano has now stopped, just in time for some of these buildings in la laguna cross. an investigation is under way after a private jet crashed in a residential area near san diego in california. officials say there were no survivors among those on board, although they haven't yet confirmed how many people died, or their identities. at least one home was damaged, and several others lost their power supplies. 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 1a runs. the victory means australia has an insurmountable 3—0 lead in the best of five 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 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. the former england international monty panesar explained what he thought went wrong for the tourists in australia. i think what's gone wrong has basically been 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 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. a mummified body of an ancient eyptian pharaoh has been examined for the first time after being digitally unwrapped using high—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 burial of the king.
this mummy is the only mummy from the royal kings of ancient egypt that have not been unwrapped in modern times, so the mummy is totally wrapped with the wrappings put on it 3000 years ago. so we did not want to disturb the beauty of the mummy, this precious object or figure, so we did a digital unwrapping of the mummy, using a ct scan and advanced technology, so we would remove the layers of the wrapping to have a glimpse on the face of the king and his condition and the amulet and jewellery he is wearing but without actually touching the mummy or destroying it.
we got to see the face of the king that had been wrapped for more than 3000 years and nobody had had a look at him, and it was amazing to look him in the face and to see his facial features actually resembled his father. we had the mummy of his father, so this was the first thing, and to get to know exactly his age was 35 years old when he died, quite young, with very good physical condition and very good health and good teeth, so he must have died with an infection or a virus, so there is no evidence of why he died. and also we got to know the mummification style, with the 30 amulets inside of the wrappings of the mummy as well as the golden girdle that the mummified king
is wearing at his lower back. remarkable. that's it for now. the weather is going to be turning exceptionally mild over the next couple of days with near record—breaking temperatures on the way. today has been contrast, bright skies in scotland. further east and south across eastern england, cloud and rain has been reluctant to clear and rain has been reluctant to clear and over the next couple of hours we'll see splashes of rain across some of the eastern coastal counties. brighter weather for wales and england but the best sunshine in scotland and northern ireland where the temperatures are closer to average. on the satellite we are looking at the next system with the active weather front on the way. with these weather fronts we'll be
dragging exceptionally mild air and pushing it across parts of the uk over the next couple of days. tomorrow, temperatures reaching 16 or 17 in parts of england, compared with the december average of eight. the england temperature record is 17.7, so near record levels. overnight tonight, the milder air as the rain moshi —— moves in. the frost and fog patches in parts of northern scotland. tomorrow, heavy rain pushes north and east. some fog patches to start the day in scotland. behind the band of rain we'll get the mild air pushing in and temperatures in the afternoon likely to reach 16 in london and we may get 17 somewhere, which is .7 degrees away from the all—time record for december in england. on
thursday we have mild air again but it isn't dry. some heavy rain across western england, perhaps reaching northern ireland later. 16 or 17 possible enhance of england. thursday night may turn windy across the north of the uk and this rain maybe slow to clear from parts of scotland and northern england on friday, so bear that in mind. cloudy over western areas with some drizzle. very mild, temperatures around 16.
this is bbc news, the headlines: the hospitality sector welcomes the decision not to impose further covid restrictions in england before the new year — but ministers are watching the data carefully and urge people to take extra care over the festive period. in the united states, people without covid symptoms can end their self—isolation period earlier — after five days rather than 10, amid a surge in cases. critics of the change say they're concerned that testing wasn't recommened to end isolation. afghanistan's humanitarian crisis deepens, as more parents are being forced to send their children out onto the streets to earn money. the country's unemployment rate has risen since the taliban regained power in the summer. it's all over — in just 12 days of cricket, australia thrash england to win the ashes, after the tourists collapse in melbourne. the fourth test will begin in sydney within a week. now on bbc news...