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tv   BBC News  BBC News  May 26, 2020 2:00am-2:31am BST

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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. i'm mike embley and these are our top stories. britain's prime minister says he regrets the ‘confusion and anger‘ after his special adviser admitted making long journeys during the anti—virus lockdown. no, i don't, i don't regret what i did. as i said, i think reasonable people may well disagree. brazil's virus death rate overtakes the united states, but the government is still refusing to lock down the country. the who suspends testing of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for covid—19, warning the drug could damage
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the health of some people. haiti's battle with covid—19 — an aid worker tells us of shortages in vital protective equipment and ventilators. from the siege of aleppo to the hospitals of britain, we talk to the syrian refugee doctors helping fight the pandemic. in an extraordinary press c0 nfe re nce , the top adviser to britain's prime minister has given a defiant defence of his behaviour — dominic cummings has been widely accused of flouting coronavirus lockdown rules. he says he doesn't regret driving his family hundreds of miles from london, at a time when his wife was showing symptoms of covid—19 to get help with childcare. here's our political editor laura kuenssburg. morning.
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the rule is unwritten, but it is real. advisers aren't meant to be the story. reporter: when ordinary people were obeying the rules and staying home, mr cummings. already, this is day four of headlines about dominic cummings. he's made a career out of trying to rewrite political convention. even for him, this was astonishing. using the downing street garden, normally reserved for world leaders, to explain, or to apologise, or perhaps fight back. sorry i'm late. i know that millions of people in this country have been suffering. thousands have died. many are angry about what they have seen in the media about my actions. i want to clear up the confusions and misunderstandings. first, i was worried that if my wife and i were both seriously ill, possibly hospitalised, there was nobody in london we could reasonably ask to look after our child and expose themselves to covid. my wife had felt on the edge of not being able to look
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after hi m safely a few hours earlier. i was thinking, "what if the same, or worse, happens to me? there is nobody here i can reasonably ask to help." i thought the best thing to do in all the circumstances was to drive to an isolated cottage on my father's farm. at this farm, my parents live in one house, my sister and her two children live in another house, and there's a separate cottage 50 metres away from either of them. my tentative conclusion on the friday evening was this. if we were both unable to look after our child, then my sister or nieces could look after him. i did not ask the prime minister about this decision. he was ill himself and he had huge problems to deal with. every day, i have to exercise my judgement about things like this and decide what to discuss with him. i thought that i would speak to him when the situation clarified over the coming days. on sunday 12 april, 15 days after i first displayed symptoms, i decided to return to work. my wife was very worried, particularly given that my eyesight seemed to have been affected by the disease.
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she did not want to risk a nearly 300—mile drive with our child, given how ill i had been. we agreed that we should go for a short drive to see if i could drive safely. we drove for roughly half—an—hour and ended up on the outskirts of barnard castle town. i felt a bit sick. we walked about io—ism from the car, to the riverbank nearby. we sat there for about 15 minutes. we had no interactions with anybody. this is where it began. on the 27th of march, watch mr cummings running out of work. he'd just discovered his wife had fallen ill. worried about child care, they drove that night more than 200 miles to the family farm in county durham. mr cummings, the next day, developed severe symptoms, but his wife recovered and was able to look after their 14—year—old. at some point, he told the prime minister he had gone north, but it's not known when.
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and on 12 april, having somewhat recovered and taken medical advice, the family went on that test drive, 30 miles away. and on the 13th, the family drove back to london. do you regret what you did? because many people in this country have made heartbreaking sacrifices in the last couple of months in order to stick to the rules that you were part of putting together. and many people may have listened to you and think you made your own interpretation. and do you understand for some people, it seems as if there was one version of the rules for you and one version of the rules for everyone else? no, i don't regret what i did. as i said, i think reasonable people may well disagree about how i thought about what to do in these circumstances. but i think that... i think that what i did was actually reasonable in these... in these circumstances. will the public tolerate his reliance on the small print? walking away, did he believe his explanations have got him off the hook? his boss wanted
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to make announcements about the next stages of easing the lockdown. but while he might still have looked unfamiliar with the details, he had to defend him still. good evening. you knew that your chief advisor had gone against the spirit of the lockdown rules, whether driving 30 miles to a local beauty spot when he was in county durham, supposedly to test his eyesight, or not self—isolating straightaway when his wife had symptoms. of that this afternoon. do you? i didn't know about any of the arrangements in advance. we had a brief conversation in which i think dominic cummings mentioned where he was. but i have to tell you, laura, at that particular stage, i had a lot on my plate and really didn't focus on the matter. i do regret the confusion and the anger and the pain that people feel. i really did want people to understand exactly what had happened. and so that's why we had the statement and the very extensive questions that we did today.
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the prime minister is standing by his adviser. famed and feared for believing that rules are there to be broken. that's always come for big political danger for dominic cummings. now it couldn't be closer to home. laura kuenssberg, bbc news. brazil has been declared the latest coronavirus hotspot with more than 360,000 reported cases that puts it second only to the united states. despite the crisis, president bolsonaro has played down the threat from the virus, and repeatedly argued that lockdown measures are unnecessary and harmful to the economy. karabekir akkoyunlu is a political science professor at the international relations institute at sao paulo university. he's live in sao paulo now. from the outside, the situation in the country seems incredible but there are many who support the president and what he is
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doing. brazil is a massive country, continent —sized country, continent —sized country so the picture is not the same everywhere but if we wa nt to ta ke the same everywhere but if we want to take a general look at it, it's country with deep structural socio—economic and geographic inequalities in a country that has gone through a debilitating economic recession over the past five years. it hasn't come out of that crisis really before it confronted the coronavirus crisis. the economic crisis has made people poorer, rollback social services, including the health services, including the health services in various states. so it's no wonder that it's confronting the pandemic in such a severe confronting the pandemic in such a severe way. confronting the pandemic in such a severe way. it should have taken particularly proactive action because it was not positioned to tackle such a crisis in the first place in a very strong position and it needed seamless co—ordination between different levels of
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decision—making. instead, what we are seeing since the beginning of the pandemic, is crisis and division at every single level, whether it's the federal government and state governments. and mayors, between the federal executive and the congress, or within the executive branch and cabinet of president 0lsen himself. —— bolsonaro. president bolsonaro seems to be playing to his solid support base which is 30% of the electorate and the percentage hasn't gone down, even though the president seems to have lost support from other groups and political actors who have supported him in the election in late 2018 but he seems to believe that any sticks to catering to his support base, 30%, he is going to come through this crisis relatively undamaged. and it's cost of course, the position
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has cost him three health ministers. does he have a point at the end get —— economic risk as he sees it is more damaging than the health risk? there is no question that countries like brazil, as i mentioned, with deep inequalities, which have suffered through economic crises recently, will have major economic impacts from this crisis, from the health crisis, but many experts believe the dichotomy of economy versus health is a false dichotomy, that you cannot really false dichotomy, that you ca nnot really forsa ke false dichotomy, that you cannot really forsake the help of millions of people and expect to your economy to persevere, to go through the crisis. in a sense... forgive me, there is1.i crisis. in a sense... forgive me, there is u want to clear up me, there is u want to clear up with you if we have the chance very quickly, if you don't mind. the figures are pretty extraordinary in brazil. if the figures are not reliable, is the realfigure
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much higher? they are most probably unreliable in the sense that brazil is doing relatively little testing so realfigures are relatively little testing so real figures are likely to be much higher. in fact, a recent study by the medical faculty at the sao paulo university where iamas the sao paulo university where i am as well estimated that actualfigures might i am as well estimated that actual figures might be some 15 times higher than what is announced. 0f times higher than what is announced. of course, it's a very vast country and different states are coping with the situation in better ways than other ones. professor thank you very much indeed for your time. the world health organization has temporarily halted the testing of the drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for covid—19 because of safety concerns. the drug, traditionally used to treat malaria, has been described by president donald trump as game changer in the battle against the virus. imogen foulkes reports from geneva. there are so far no known treatments or vaccines for covid—19, but there
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are many clinical trials of many different drugs to try to find them. 0ne drug, hydroxychloroquine, is already in use as a treatment for malaria. some, among them president donald trump, think it could work against covid—19 too. he's even taking it himself. i'm taking it, hydroxychloroquine. when? right now, yeah. couple of weeks ago, i started taking it, because i think it's good. i've heard a lot of good stories. the world health organization has repeatedly said there is no scientific evidence so far that hydroxychloroquine can treat covid—19, let alone prevent infection with it. the who had been running clinical trials to test anecdotal reports that it might be beneficial. now, those trials have been stopped after a study suggested the drug could cause heart problems and might even increase deaths among
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covid—19 patients. the executive group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the solidarity trial while the data, the safety data, is reviewed by the data safety monitoring board. the who said the decision to suspend trials was a precautionary measure. now, it will gather more data on safety before deciding whether to continue testing. however, it said patients taking hydroxychloroquine for established reasons, such as malaria, should continue to do so. imogen foulkes, bbc news, geneva. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: the boy and the bear. meet the italian 12—year—old being praised for his cool handling of a very risky
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situation. in the biggest international sporting spectacle ever seen, up to 30 million people have taken part in sponsored athletics events to aid famine relief in africa. the first of what the makers of star wars hope will be thousands of queues started forming at 7:00am. taunting which led to scuffles, scuffles to fighting, fighting to full—scale riot, as the liverpool fans broke out of their area and into the juve ntus enclosure. the belgian police had lost control. the whole world will mourn the tragic death of mr nehru today. he was the father of the indian people from the day of independence. the oprah winfrey show comes to an end after 25 years and more than 4,500 episodes. the chat show has made her one of the richest people on the planet. geri halliwell, otherwise known as 'ginger spice,‘ has announced she has left the spice girls. argh, i don't believe it.
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she's the one with the bounce, the go, girl power. not geri, why? this is bbc news. the latest headlines: the top adviser to the british prime minister has given a defiant defence of his behaviour after he was accused of flouting coronavirus lockdown rules. the world health organization has suspended testing of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for covid—19 after a study suggested the drug could cause serious health problems. a british couple is co—ordinating efforts to help a hospital in haiti prepare for a spike in coronavirus cases which they believe could overwhelm the country's healthcare system. the country has just 60 ventilators for a population of 11 million, and is ill—prepared for the pandemic. the bbc‘sjon hunt has more.
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while in britain, we may be past the peak of the pandemic, in haiti, cases are rising sharply. at this hospital set up by a uk charity, they are having to improvise, making ppe out of raincoats and diy masks. uh...this is actually made out of a ladder. rob dalton man is an a&e nurse from surrey, volunteering for the charity. i've been working six days a week, sometimes too busy to — to get to eat and things. there's so much to do here. they need all the help they can get. the preparation of the hope health action hospital is being co—ordinated from crawley, in west sussex. the charity's founders say one of their biggest challenges is access to oxygen. there's no access to a ventilator at a hospital. there's only 15—20 icu beds for the whole country. so we are focusing more on provision of oxygen, but that can be a struggle. we've invested to get a number of oxygen concentrators out to the country in the last
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couple of weeks, which just arrived over the weekend. the charity is also doing community outreach work to teach social distancing and promote good hand washing. you can have ten people living in a one—bed house, which means that self—isolating is just nearly impossible, and communities all function really closely together. with donations from the uk, they've been able to set up an isolation ward for covid—19 patients and a triage system. the peak of the pandemic is due in haiti in the next two weeks. john hunt, bbc news. sandra lamarque is the head of mission for doctors without borders in haiti. speaking from port—au—prince earlier, she told me that the country is not prepared to fight this outbreak, and is already facing an increasing number of covid—related deaths. the country is not prepared to deal with an epidemic and outbreak of such proportions. so what we're trying to do, we've just opened a hospital specialised in care for patients suffering from covid—19, and specifically
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for severe cases. we have also helped public hospitals protect themselves with setting up triage facilities and isolation beds, but this is not enough, and a lot more effort is required. and so—called barrier measures, of course, very difficult even in countries with advanced healthcare systems. in the slums of port—au—prince, it must be nearly impossible, and with that very porous border with the dominican republic. absolutely, haiti is one of the most densely populated countries in the caribbean, and especially in the slums, where the population density is extremely high. it's impossible for people to stay isolated. and it's nearly impossible to implement. people need to go about their business on a daily basis. access to hand washing facilities, sanitation is also extremely limited in this area. the situation at the border
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is another worry. every week, we estimate that 20,000 people cross the border from dominican republic to haiti, and a lot of them are importing the virus, u nfortu nately. at the border, there is no proper system in place to test people, or screen them for fever, or put suspected cases in quarantine. so, due to this, a lot of people are probably importing cases from dominican republic next door, which is at the moment the main cluster in the caribbean. it must be so difficult, and you have problems everywhere you look, don't you? the hurricane season is supposed to be particularly active this year, and i supposed none of this has stopped the gang violence. i think your hospitals are still dealing with gunshot wounds daily, aren't they? exactly, one hour ago we received four gunshot wounds in our emergency centre, in one of the most violent slums in port—au—prince, and over the last week
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we've received a couple more as well. this is worrying because not only are we worried about covid—19 itself, we are worried about the continuity of access to healthcare for every pathology, for pregnant women, for gunshot wounds, for asthmatic people. and this is a worry, actually. last week, two hospitals, two prominent hospitals in port—au—prince, the capital city, had to close down because they did not have personal protective equipment for their staff, and they feared infecting their staff or other patients, so they had to close down, limiting even more access to healthcare for the population. and sandra, very briefly if you don't mind, what do you most need, and where are you going to get it from? can you get it? we mostly need oxygen equipment, we need personal protective equipment, and it's really hard to get them into the country, due to shortages worldwide. here in the uk, some of the doctors on the front
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line of the nhs came to the uk as refugees, and they are unable to help in their home countries because of conflict. the bbc‘s fergal keane has been to meet syrian doctors in manchester who say they are working in hospitals in britain to repay some of the kindness and generosity that they've received since arriving in the country. dr ahmad alomar is a syrian refugee, now working at royal 0ldham hospital in manchester. here, he is checking on a patient admitted with a severe cough. arriving in 2014, ahmad and his family found safety in britain, and he brought precious skills. where's my chocolates? laughter. he has a presence that puts other staff at their ease. i've only had one day off! having struggled with mass casualties in besieged aleppo, he is well placed to offer emotional support to colleagues. during these difficult times in syria, i've learned how
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to cope with stress. i've learned how to manage. when the covid pandemic started here, i realised that it would be a very difficult time, because nobody had ever had similar experience. more than half syria's health facilities have been destroyed or damaged. hospitals have been targeted by the regime and its russian allies. the british surgeon david nott, here wearing the colourful cap, trained syrian doctors in emergency surgery in besieged aleppo. it's left me with a broken heart, because there are so many millions of people as refugees now, and they need to go home, but they're too scared to go home. and it is a dreadful situation, that they're still u nfortu nately having to cope with. there is an irony in this, of course, in that you went there to help them. they're now here helping you. yes, it's true, absolutely true. and it's wonderful.
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here in aleppo, working under siege conditions, one of the young doctors he trained. ayman alshikh became a highly skilled trauma surgeon. now ayman is in manchester, a friend of dr ahmad, and studying for the exams that will allow him to practise in britain. he wants to repay the welcome and peace he has found here. i imagined our colleagues here, that they are suffering, they need help. they need any hand they can have with them. i can understand their feeling now, and it's really exhausting during these uncertain times. ahmad has found security here, and work he loves. but he yearns for home, a return he knows is impossible while the regime is in power.
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a doctor no longer able to help his own country helps save lives here. may i feel your hand, please? 0ur good fortune, syria's tragedy. fergal keane, bbc news, manchester. a young italian boy has been praised for his courage after a potentially terrifying encounter with a wild bear. 12—year—old alessandro fra nzoi was with his family in the dolomites mountain range in the north of the country when he came face—to—face with the animal. the bbc‘s tim allman has the story. never have the words "don't panic" seemed more appropriate. looking back over his shoulder to see what is behind him, a young boy moves slowly, ever so slowly, down the side of this hill.
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ambling along in his wake, a giant brown bear — just a little bit curious about this small visitor, perhaps. alessandro and his family were enjoying a picnic when the boy went off for a stroll. it turns out he had made a new friend. his mother's partner tried to reassure him, explaining that the bear was just minding his own business. mamma! alessandro can then be heard calling out to his mother. mamma! shh! if you think alessandro was scared, think again. he told the italian media he had been really excited, and this was the best day of his life. the bear, on the other hand, was unavailable for comment. cool kid. finally, i am sure it may be a before opera fans can don their evening best and take ina don their evening best and take in a theatre performance in boston this weekend the show
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came to them. singers from boston's north end music and performing arts centre put on a performance from a balcony of a local restaurant. they say it isa local restaurant. they say it is a chance to tune their voices and a welcome break for passers—by. thank you so much for watching. hello. if you're looking for rain through this week, well, there is not very much in the forecast. but what i can offer you is plenty of warmth. in fact, during monday, to the south—west of london, temperatures got very close to 27 degrees. we'll see more very warm weather over the next few days. 0n the satellite picture, though, you can see this stripe of cloud that's been working its way in towards the north—west. not bringing an awful lot of rain, though. this is a frontal system, but one which is weakening very quickly, so really wejust have a band of cloud sitting in place across parts of england and wales through tuesday morning. maybe the odd spot of drizzle
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around, but generally speaking, it'll be dry, just with a bit more in the way of cloud generally than we had during monday. conversely, for northern ireland and scotland, well, here we see long spells of sunshine. still quite breezy in the far north, and a little bit on the cool side here, i suppose. but the further south you are, top temperatures getting up to 25 degrees. now, as we move through tuesday evening, our old front will still be sitting in place, but reallyjust a band of cloud really at this stage. could be a little bit misty and murky for some coastal spots in the south and west. and then we see some more cloud start to work in towards parts of northern ireland. but generally it's a dry night, and not a particularly cold one, with lows between 7—14 degrees. so, during wednesday, high pressure still very much in charge. but this warm front here will be introducing more cloud, and maybejust nosing some rain into the western side of northern ireland and potentially the west of scotland. there is a bit of uncertainty about just how far east this rain will get. but, to the south of this band of cloud and patchy rain, well, that's where we have the very warm air. so temperatures down towards the south, cardiff,
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london, into the middle 20s celsius. not quite as warm as that across the northern half of the uk. but, as we move towards the end of the week, as this area of high pressure moves its way a little bit further eastwards, well, more and more of us get to feel the effects of some very warm air. and i think, on thursday, we will see plentiful sunshine across most areas. a bit more cloud across scotland, maybe just the odd shower across the northern half of the country, but the vast majority will be dry. but those temperatures up to 26 degrees there in cardiff, 22 in glasgow, but a little bit cooler for some of those north sea coasts. that's a trend that will continue on into friday, and as we head into the weekend, well, those temperatures stay pretty high for the time of year, and very little sign of rain for most of us.
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this is bbc news — the headlines: britain's prime minister, borisjohnson, has said he regrets the "confusion and anger" caused by his chief adviser‘s long journeys across the uk during the anti—virus lockdown. but he has reiterated his support for dominic cummings, who's held an extraordinary news conference at downing street insisting he didn't violate the rules the world health organization has suspended the testing brazil has the highest number of infections currently. it has this —— brazil has the second highest number of cases. the world health organization has suspended the testing of hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for covid—19 because of safety concerns. it comes after a study suggested the drug could increase the risk of death.
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hydroxychloroquine is traditionally used to prevent malaria and has been


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