tv BBC World News Outside Source PBS December 20, 2021 5:00pm-5:31pm PST
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announcer: and now, "bbc world news". ♪ ros: i'm ros atkins. welcome to "outside source." switzerland is alert his country to introduce covert restrictions including a mandatory work from home order as the omicron variant spreads through europe. the u.k. record record numbers of infections but boris johnson has decided against tougher rules at the moment. prime minister johnson: we will have to reserve the possibility of taking further action to protect the public. ros: a special report on the deadly repression of civilians carried out in myanmar after the military seized power. we will also talk about tennis star peng shuai who has retracted accusations of public
assault but there are still concerns she is speaking under duress. >> i must emphasize i have never said or wrote about anyone sexually assaulting me. ♪ ros: w will bring you updates on the pandemic from a number of different countries. let's start with switzerland. it has brought in new measures today, the latest country to gin new measures in response to the omicron variant. the netherl, france, ireland, and denmark have introduced measures. the uk's canet have met to discuss a range of possible restrictions. prime nister johnson: we should keep the review, following it hour-by-hour. i must say to people, we must reserve the possibility of
taking further action to protect the public. to protect public health, attacked our nhs. we will not hesitate to take that action. ros: in the u.s., covid cases in new york have risen 60% in the last week. we spoke to mayor bill de blasio. >> we know that omicron moves fast, we have to me faster. that is my we are focusing even more on vaccination, which we know helps address omicron. bottom line, fasspreading variant. we will see a surgeon cases for a few weeks, and then we think we will see it trail off. the answer is vaccination. ros: the key question for science is still fundamentally how severe is omicron? here is the head of the eu infectious disease agency. >> the reports that we have, only 1% hospitalization.
nobody in icu and no fatalities, but it also takes time for severe disease to develop. we have to allow for some more time to make a better assessment. right now, most of the reported cases are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. we still think, because of the increased transmissibility, and so many people potentially going to be infected, omicron will still lead to an increased burd on the health system. ros: let's turn to how countries are responding to omicron. in a moment we will hear from our correspondence in washington and johannesburg. first, we go to the swiss capital of bern. >> officials are rushing in new covid restrictions in the netherlands.
denmark is thinking about a curfew. here in switzerland, doors are closed to the unvaccinated. to get to a bar or theater, football match, or your local gym, you will need a covid certificate that shows whether you are vaccinated or whether you have recovered from covid. a negative test will not get you in it is the swiss government's answer to vaccine hesitancy. one third of the population still has not had a first jab and infection rates are rising fast, far higher than france or italy. but, like last year, switzerland will not close its ski slopes. they will stay open, including for british tourists, but to enjoy any of the apres-ski, everyone will need that covid certificate. >> in north ameri, omicron has been found in almost every state, with people not forming long queues to get tested ahead
of the holids. vaccination rates are not going up by anything like what the white house was to see. only half the jabs are being given today compared to april. in some states, fewer than 50% of eligible adults are double jabbed. sporting and entertainment venues are closing down. in a country that has seen 800,000 covid deaths, president biden tried to persuade this week the doubters that it is masks and vaccines that will stop that number from rising further. >> the news in south africa continues to be encouraging. the death rate and hostal admissions are still significantly lower than they were at similar stages of previous waves of the pandemic. there is also encouraging signs that the number of infections which arose so dramatically here is already beginning to tail off
. does that mean that omicron is less severe? that is not clear. the population here is far younger than in, say, britain. while vaccination rates here are low, most people have some immunity because of prior infections. it is worth pointing out, masks here continue to be compulsory in public, and most online by that. i gernment, however, is not imposing any other significant restrictions to handle omicron. ros: anna is part of a group at oxford university tracking people and how closely they followed covid rules. she tells me that this are changing during the pandemic. >> it is reassuring in some ways. when we started looking at this question, we were worried about the question of pandemic fatigue, the idea that people get sick and tired of following all of these difficult protective behaviors.
what we found is, yes, there is a drop off from initial adherence for the physical distancing behaviors. but we actually saw the opposite trend for mask wearing. as we think about the logic about why this may be the case, physical distancing is like doing difficult things at the gym. each gets harder, the cost is accumulating, but mask wearing is like wearing a seatbelt, you get used to it. ros: that is interesting. is an understanding of the rules a factor, as the rules keep changing, are people keeping track of where they are? >> as someone who co-leads a project where we have 1000 volunteers day after day working, sometimes it is hard for us to understand all of the different policies, and this is
an important point. clear messaging and goal orientated messaging helps consumers with these protective behaviors. there is a study in italy which compares part of the country where there was not a goal -- just keep doing the behaviors -- with another part of the country with clearly defined goals. when we achieve this, we can stop the lockdown. again, it is like doing press ups. if you say keep doing them, people do not newly adhere, as if you would say, i will do 20 and count you down. ros: what about the behaviors of our politicaleaders? a huge amount of attention of what happened in westminster last decber. will that have an impact on people's adherence? >> trusting government is important. we don't actually have brilliant studies on this right now
because a lot of our data does not keep up with how much things are changing. typically, socia scientists would say that trust in government does not change quickly, but i think covid is so relevant to people's lives, that may not be the case. i think with the prime minister says in terms of clarity and messaging is incredibly important, as are the behaviors of all leaders around the world. ros: let's bring you more on the u.k. and covid. boris johnson says he will not hesitate to introduce further measures in england as cases of omicron continue to rise. ministers are considering three options for restrictions ranging in severity. here is the prime minister again. prime minister joh: we will have to reserve the possibility of taking further action to protect the public, to protect public health, our nhs. we will not hesitate to take
that action. but in the meantime, what i would say to everybody, please exercise caution as you go back to your lives. please think of the guidance, think of protecting yourself and your loved ones. and please get a booster. please get a vaccition. ros: forrest johnson is facing considerable opposition within his own party. not telling the public what is going on is on acceptable. -- unacceptable. we can do better than this. there is also pressure on mr. johnson to not bring in further restrictions. here is a former minister explaining why he resigned over the weekend. >> i left the government because i could not support certain policies most recently on covid restrictions, plan b. if you are a minisr, you he responsibility to the
government. is why i hato leave. ros: this photo also getting a lot of attention, shared on social media, taken in may of 2020. it shows prime minister johnson, his wife, and 17 other staff members in the downing street garden with bottles of wine and a cheese board. prime minister johnson: those were meetings of people at work. this is where i live and work. those were meetings of people at work talking about work. i think it is vital that we focus, if we can, on the messages we are trying to get across today. ros: bbc reality check has been looking at this. at the time, rules were that people could only allowed away from their home if they had a reasonable excus one those excuses was for work, if it is not possible to work on the place where they are living. the law at the time didn't mention socializing with colleagues.
if this was a work meeting, it was not breaking the rules. here is the view of the opposition, ki starmer. >> everye would have looked at that photograph, and to suggest that is a work meeting is a bit of a stretch by anybody's analysis. there are serious question to be answered, but just look at the photo and ask yourself, is that a work meeting going on or is that a social event? i think the answer is pretty obvious. ros: this follows multiple controversies at downing street during the pandemic, in particular during december. one conservative mp told the financial times, it is like every day we open the door and there is another crisis. i've been talking to our westminster correspondent. >> the rules are complicated. technically, this was a private garden, not covered by the rules that you could only meet one person in a public space.
but that doesn't change the fact that what people see when they look at this picture is a time when they faced restrictions and what you see here are people in downing street standing around with bottles of wine and cheese, and as you say, tt focuses again on this issue that has been so damaging for the prime minister, which is about the actions of his own staff, his own downing street, his own actions, whether rules have been broken, whether they have been telling the country one thing and doing something different. questions of leadership, one rule for them, another for us, questions of integrity. and all of that, of course, right at the moment when he is looking at bringing in potentially new restrictions, telling people what they have to do with this new variant. very difficult moment.
ros: stay with us on "outside source." we will talk about the trial of ghislaine maxwell as the prosecution makes their final arguments in new york. ♪ buckingham palace has announced the queen has decided to celebrate christmas at windsor and will not travel to sandringham where the royal family usually spends christmas. >> i think quite plainly it would have looked and felt all wrong at a time when concern about the omicron variant is increasing considerably, both here in the united kingdom and in other countries, for britain's head of state to be seen as taking part in a normal, large family gathering at her norforestate. the queen always likes to feel like she is into it with what is happeng across the country,
likes to lead by example. we are told this was a personal decision after careful consideration, reflects a cautionary approach by her. we are told that downing street was informed rather than consulted. the queen will remain at windsor. ♪ ros: i'm ros atkins. our lead story comes from switzerland, the latest country to introduce new covid restrictions as omicron spreads through the continent. the bbc has found evidence of atrocities by myanmar's military, including torture and mass killings of civilians. four villages were targeted over a series of weeks in july. the military says the crimes point torimes against immunity.
a warning, there are some distressing images. [yelling] >> this girl is grieving over her grandfather's body. it is distressing to see. there are clear signs of torture. when the myaar military entered their village, she fled. the grandfather stayed, believing his age would protect him. >> [speaking foreign language] >> more bodies were uncovered close to where her grandfather was found. 12 in total. somewhere were buried in shallow mass graves. >> [speaking foreign language] >> the military carried out the
mass killings in four villages. a region that has been a stronghold of opposition to the military regime. in this village, 14 people were killed. we have learned their bodies as they are too gruesome to show. the man filming finds people that he knows. >> [speaking foreign language] >> at great risk, our team interviewed a number of eyewitnesses. for their safety, we are hiding their identity. their stories are all similar. >> they split us into groups of men and women. men were tied with ropes and beaten. we couldn't stand to watch, so we kept our heads down crying. we begged them not to.
they didn't care. they took away everything from us. they asked the women, is your husband among them? if he is, do your last rites. >> this man managed to escape. >> 11 others were arrested with me. they were tied up, beaten, and tortured all day. >> i put out evidence to the military spokesperson. >> [speaking foreign language] >> i am not denying that incidents such as this can happen. it can happen. when they treat us as enemies d open fire on us, we have the right to defend ourselves. >> united nations is investigating the mass killings. in the hope that future generations, those left behind, we'll get some kind of justice. ros: myanmar has been in turmoil
since february 1, that is when the military seized power and attained the de facto leader aung san suu kyi. protests against the coup were immediate, initially peaceful, but that did not last long. within a week, this was one of the scenes playing out. there was a brutal crackdown which continues today. rights groups says over 1000 protesters have died in the past months, but that number is expected to be higher. more on the context of these latest atrocities. >> unfortunately, these e not isolated incidents. we have seen from people across myanmar, especially in those areas that we just heard in northwest myanmar, where the intense fighting is going on between the military and the local defense forces.
when the army troops are under attack by local troops, the military sends in reinforcements, large numbers of troops with heavy weapons. they would scour the area and roundup many people. these kinds of killings are taking place. as recently as this month, december 7, we also have reports that 10 young men were killed and their burned bodies were found by local people. we spoke to the witnesses. there was an attack nearby and the military sent in reinforcement troops. they rounded up the young people working in the flds and tortured and killed. unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents. ros: tom andrews is the u.n. special repertory for bmr. this is his reaction to the story. >> i have heard several reports
of this kind of brutality, very systematic. very often they will surrnd a village, attack it, separate the n and women, and often, not ly will they torture people but they will force people, family members to watch, their family members being tortured andilled. this is part of a systematic way of terrorizing the country, instilling fear, and wrestling control of the country,ut it is having the opposite effect. it is outraging the country, steeling the resolve of those who are opposed to this horrific treatment of the people of myanmar. ♪ ros: next, we turn to new york. the defense and prosecution have been making their closing arguments in the trial of glen maxwell. the prosecution described her as a partner in crime to jeffrey epstein.
maxwell is accused up your keyring young girls for epstein. for the prosecution, the u.s. attorney said her presence made her approaches to the young girls legitimate and acting like his behavior toward them was normal, luring them into a trap. this is her defense attorney arriving in court earlier. four women made allegations against her client. she said their memories have been manipulated with the aid of money and that elaine maxwell is innocent. our correspondent has more. >> this was the last time that they both had a chance to convince the jurors of their cases before the jury retires t decide on a verdict. the prosecution emphasized that billing maxwell was a person of power in jeffrey epstein's house, the master of the house, she ran his properties, was aware of what went on in them
and was involved in this aspect. they said e was crusoe -- crucial for the operation because she provided this smiling, age-appropriate cover for mr. epstein's creepy behavior. they recapped the testimony of the abusers who they said was a playbook by which she and mr. epstein operated to recruit and then room these teenagers or sexual abuse by mr. epstein. she ended by saying to the jurors, if you believe the testimonies of these women, then ghislaine maxwell is guilty. she went on to talk about the ways that their testimony had been corroborated by various witnesses and documents. the defense is again repeating the argument that ms. maxwell is a scapegoat for mr. epstein, who committed suicide in prison. after that, the government pivoted to maxwell, and she is
being charged with his cris, but jeffrey epstein is not ghislaine maxwell, the lawyers said. she th went on to undermine the credibility of the accusers, which has been a big part of e case. ros: let's return to china. the tennis star peng shuai appears to have attracted an accusation that she made against a former vice premier. >> first and foremost, i must emphasize, i have never said or wrote about anyone sexually assaulting me. that is a very important point. the weibo post is my personal issue. i know there are many misunderstandings but there is no distorted interpretation. ros: we have a statement from the women's tennis association.
they say it is good to see her in a public setting but it does not alleviate their significant concerns about her well-being, ability to communicate without censorship or coercion. >> the most interesting thing is that she said during that interview that her story was not true. she recanted what she appeared to say in that post on weibo back in the beginning of november. she said in the interview, i have never said nor written that anyone had sexually assaulted me. in the posting coming originally in chinese, translated to english, she said a senior chinese party official here had forced her to have sex with him before they had a consensual relationship. this was not her claiming things were untrue, this was a recanting of the story. ros: thanks for watching.
see you tomorrow. ♪ narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... narrator: financial services firm, raymond james. narrator: funding was also provided by, the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum kovler foundation; pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ ♪ narrator: you're watching pbs. ♪ da-da-da-duh-da-da-da♪ ♪ da-da-da-da-da-da ♪♪
♪ ♪ narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... narrator: pediatc surgeon. volunteer. topiary artist. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life well planned. narrator: funding was also provided by, the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum kovler foundation; pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.