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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 22, 2020 8:00pm-8:31pm GMT

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hello, i'm ros atkins. this is outside source. nearly 3000 lorries are still stuck near the uk port of dover over fears a new variant of coronavirus might spread to europe. if i knew one day before that, "hey, guys in europe, uk, border will close in one day," i would never come here. america's top diseases expert gets the coronavirus vaccine live on television and tells the bbc he's not recommending a travel ban on people coming from the uk, but extra measures should be looked at. i want this to be a symbol for the people in united states to encourage them about the safety and efficacy of this vaccine. and scientists say the new variant of the virus in the uk demands even tougher restrictions.
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welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. the transport crisis at dover in the south east of england has left nearly 3000 lorries stranded, but france has now confirmed it will start letting traffic from britain back in within hours provided drivers produce a negative coronavirus test certificate issued within the previous 72 hours. the new conditions will apply to eu citizens and eu residents, freight drivers, fishing boat crews and others. france's ban on travel from the uk was imposed on sunday in response to the rise in cases of new variant covid—19.
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even after the restrictions are lifted at around 2300 gmt, it will take some time for things to be cleared, and for lorry drivers, the wait‘s been long enough. sangita myska is in dover. can you hear that noise behind me? there's all of the lorries that are gridlocked behind me into dover port beeping their horns, shouting. i think ultimately, they're just fed up. this is a bunch of incredibly frustrated lorry drivers. they've now been here for well over two days. they want to be let in. there is no sign that any deal appears to be coming. what they've been telling me is for this entire time, they've not been given access to toilets, they do not have access to water. remember, we are in a pandemic. we're all being told wash your hands, keep clean. they cannot do that. the very reason the french won't allow these lorry drivers back
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is they're worried they're now carrying the mutated variant of covid—19. even when things can start moving, there are questions about how quickly this could clear. john keefe, the director of the eurotunnel, told the bbc... which keeps things moving, but doesn't clear the problem as quickly. next, this is a representative of the road haulage association. one of the illogical things about all this is drivers are lone workers. they are in a cab on their own. they sleep on their own, they eat their food on their own. so they're not incredible vectors of disease. so the french decision looks over—the—top at the best of times. these pictures are from earlier today — miles of parked lorries on the m20 motorway. there are also hundreds of lorries in this truck park. others have just had to stop wherever they can. many drivers have been sleeping in their cabs while they wait, and the haulage assocation says they've been offered one cereal bar each.
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let's look at the significance of dover. this map, based on 2018 figures, shows you the annual lorry traffic and share of eu trade of all the major ports in the uk. as you can see, dover is by far the largest. more than 2 million lorries pass its port, and at least 75% of its trade is with the eu. that's much more than any other port in britain. in other words, dover is crucial for trade between the uk and eu. and with trucks stuck, many perishable goods are going to waste. there are paricular concerns from some about seafood from a business point of view and just for people's christmas plans. annie bennett is a travel writer in spain. french industry leaders are worried, too. here's gavin lee in brussels.
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the head of supermarkets at one of the big chains said they've got trucks stuck on the uk side of the border with all sorts of fish and seasonal seafood produce. scallops, langoustines, fish, there will be shortages in french supermarkets tomorrow, ahead of christmas, definitely on christmas eve. he is saying desperately that the borders need to be reopened. so, that's the situation on the continent. here in uk, there are also produce concerns. the supermarket tesco has reintroduced caps on certain items, including eggs, rice, soap and handwash. and there are warnings from retailers than certain other products may come under pressure because of the border closure and because of panic buying. charlotte wright reports. with just days to go until christmas, staff are working flat—out to keep our supermarkets‘ shelves stocked. this morning, retailers and suppliers have issued a message of reassurance. despite france's ban on freight
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crossing the channel, there'll be no shortages of supply for christmas day. we've pre—empted a lot of this because of the brexit situation, so we started bringing produce in a lot earlier as well. so, we were having product just to cover ourselves for the start of the new year, but a lot of the stuff now is being brought in through other ports, through rotterdam, so they're missing out on dover and calais and going roundabout and coming a different way into the different markets. but behind the scenes, there are concerns that disruption at dover could mean challenges for our fresh food stocks come the new year. with fears that continental truckers may not want to travel here for fear of being marooned. this salad processing plant in preston handles produce from spain and italy. we're bringing in each week about 40 trucks, so
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if you imagine a two—day hold—up, that's going to come out of those trucks, and then it takes quite a few days to build that gap back up. because all of this produce has a very short shelf life. so the maximum, once that's here, we can hold it for a couple of days, then we put a seven—day shelf life on it, so it is a very short time, so any hold—up impinges on the end life of the product. and of course it's not just affecting imports. businesses who export their goods from the uk are already noticing the impact. the food that's going out of the country in the direction of mainland europe is, as you say, sitting there and going off. and particularly for sectors like fresh seafood, langoustines, salmon and so on, they have a very finite shelf life, and they will be in big trouble if they're not able to move today at the latest. the government says the uk has a highly resilient food supply chain. supermarkets are well prepared, and the industry has been clear that there is enough stock. charlotte wright, bbc news. now to the wider
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issue of travel bans. many european countries have them in place, but the european commission is recommending that countries lift those restrictions and allow essential travel to resume. european union ambassadors are meeting to discuss the recommendations, and we are expecting something from them later. meanwhile, the uk transport secretary, grant shapps, has tweeted in the last hour... this week, france and almost all of europe banned flights from the uk in reaction to the new variant of covid. greece and cyprus are the only two eu countries without a ban in place. now, as well as suggesting the bans are lifted, the european commission is also recommending that nonessential travel to and from the uk should be discouraged until further notice and that people travelling for essential reasons, for instance medical staff, should be required to undergo a test
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within 72 hours prior to departure, which is a recommendation france has already adopted. it also wants freight to continue uninterrupted, not least to ensure the distribution of covid—19 vaccines. it's also important to note that while this advice is being offered, eu member states are free to set their own rules on border controls, so they can go their own way if they chose. for more, i spoke with our brussels correpsondent kevin connolly. it's up to member states essentially to decide who comes in and leaves their territory. they remain sovereign states, but the eu institutions try to put a sort of architecture across the top of that. for example, the european commission is saying after a couple days of emergency measures, there is now no real reason why all planes and trains should be banned from entering or leaving the uk.
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while nonessential travel is strongly not recommended, of course, people can begin to make journeys home, for example, back to the country they live in, back to their home country for the holiday season. now, a country like france can require a test even for citizens before it allows that, and that is where we are with the negotiations between france and britain. the european commission has made its view clear that some movement should again now be possible, but quite limited and with safeguards. france is now deciding the precise level of safeguards. it said what it wants from its own citizens, that pcr test. it hasn't yet said what it will want from truck drivers. bearing in mind the decision in line with the member states, have we had any indication as to whether they will shift their position on the travel
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bans because of the european commission advice? i think you have to look at the relationship between the commission and the states. the commission will have taken scientific advice, it will have looked at the overall economic impact on the european union. it will feel it's acting in the member states‘ interest. it's very unlikely that member states as a whole would go against the commission's advice. france will feel it's in the absolute epicentre. it's that link between dover and calais which is crucial. that is under french control. and although many of those drivers are heading back to bulgaria, lithuania, romania, they have to go through france. france is going to take the view that its own public health requirement will come first. that's why we have a solution between britain and france on french citizens returning to france, on british residents
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of france going home, for example. but a more difficult decision on the road haulage, on what exactly is going to be required from truck drivers, that has not been announced and that's because of that very big difference. if you ask for a pcr test, that means a sample has to be sent to a laboratory which could take 48 hours. that is a immensely impractical for truck drivers waiting to hear how they can go home. the british side wants much, much simpler lateral flow testing. that can be done immediately — results in 15, 20 minutes — but it's less accurate. so you can see the nature of the debate between britain and france, you can see why this has been so difficult. just before i let you go, just to re—emphasise what you said, they would approach the issue of freight almost as if it's a completely separate issue. i think that's right.
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there is an acceptance that it's the holiday season, there's an usually high appetite for people to get back to their home countries. but there's also a political and cultural acceptance that people have a right to return to their own countries. if you remember, there was a problem earlier in the pandemic, a sort of overarching right to return home. the french are trying to balance that overarching right of return, if you like, against the public health risk of allowing people in from a higher risk area. this is the answer they've come up with so far. it's why it's easier to sort out your own citizens than it is perhaps for truck drivers. kevin, thank you very much indeed. stay with us on 0utside source. still to come, we'll hear from america's top diseases expert anthony fauci, who was given the coronavirus vaccine earlier today. the man who murdered british backpacker grace millane in new zealand has been named
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after a court order banning his identication was lifted. the courtjudgment also revealed 28—year—old jesse kempson has been convicted of sex attacks on two more women. 0ur correspondent in sydney, phil mercer, has more. jesse kempson has been revealed as a serial sexual predator. for the first time, we can report that he was found guilty of raping another young british woman in auckland in new zealand just a few months before he had killed grace millane. he was also found guilty of terrorising a former girlfriend. now, grace millane, she was... she went missing in december 2018 on the eve of her 22nd birthday, and this man's identity was suppressed after he was convicted of killing her so that those other trials could proceed without any fear of being prejudiced.
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this is 0utside source live from the bbc newsroom. 0ur lead story is — nearly 3000 lorries are still stuck near the uk port of dover over fears a new strain of coronavirus might spread to europe. france has said it will begin to ease its uk travel ban from wednesday. a lot of these infections are from this new variant of the virus, and leading scientists say they have "high" confidence that it's easier to transmit than other variants. the uk's chief scientific adviser is warning the new variant is now "everywhere" and says more areas may need to enter tier 4, which is the toughest set of restrictions. sir patrick vallance says lockdown measures "need to be increased in some places, in due course, not reduced". let's hearfrom one member of the independent group of scientists advising the government. i actually think the whole country
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needs to be in tier 4 because we need to get ahead of it. right now, we're behind it. hospital admissions are shooting up in the south and they're not yet in the north, and we just don't want to see it happen everywhere. and if we shut down now, it should stop that new variant becoming dominant. that's really what we have to try to do. there are many unanswered questions about the characteristics of the new variant and how it's managed to become the dominant strain within a matter of months. one of the key questions is whether the vaccines that have been developed will work against it. there's no evidence that they won't, and the who says it's confident they will. here's the chief executive of biontech, which developed a vaccine with pfizer. we have now a new variant and the variant which was discovered in the uk. this variant is a little bit different.
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it has nine mutations, not only a single mutation. we don't know at the moment if our vaccine is able to provide protection against this new variant. scientifically, it is highly likely that immune response by this vaccine also can deal with the new virus variant. another big unknown is whether people can get the new variant if they've already had covid—19. on that, this is professor lina bauld from university of edinburgh. we all need to continue following the guidance, even if we've had covid—19, because there's a number of things we simply don't know about immunity. the first thing is that immunity can be short—lived, and we know that that is commonly the case with other coronaviruses. so we have to be very cautious there. there have been case reports of infection, that's definitely the case around the world. so we don't know how common reinfection is.
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it can even occur after not a long period after the first infection, so just important to emphasise that. i was looking at what was published over the weekend, and they make a note they don't know about reinfection, but they expect more data to be available soon. so, the bottom line is even if somebody's had covid—19, it doesn't necessarily mean they're immune and they may get it again, but also, they may be able to pass it on to others. and here's the bbc‘s science editor david shukman on what the new variant may mean long—term. what does the new variant mean for when we'll get out of this? 0ne estimate for the uk says the most vulnerable people and health care workers may be immunised by the middle of next april if everything goes according to plan. and 67% of the entire population by mid—july. that would achieve what's called herd immunity, basically, when the virus can't spread much more.
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but because the new variant seems to infect people more easily, it could be that 80% of the population has to be vaccinated to achieve that herd immunity, and that would take longer, maybe running into next august. let's look at the us now. it has recorded more than 18 million cases since the start of the pandemic, more than any other country in the world. here's what the country's top infectious disease scientist, anthony fauci, told the bbc today. when you're dealing with a pandemic that is involving the entire country, i believe it would've been better to have more uniformity of response rather than have different states doing things in different ways. and you have surges in one part of the country, followed by surges in another part. we're a very large country. we have 330—plus million people in the country, and i believe it would have been better if we did things in a more uniform, consistent way when you're thinking about the implementation of public health practices.
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that's just one of the things that i think were a problem. the other was mixed messaging that we've had. it's been much politcised. there have been, in this situation, i think everyone realises there's a great deal of divisiveness in this country. and there are people that take sides as to what kind of implementation of public health measures they should or should not do. bottom line is rather inconsistent in our response. well, today, anthony fauci received a vaccine jab during a livestreamed event at the national institutes of health. he received the moderna vaccine, which was the second vaccine to be approved in the us. here's what he said just before he had his jab. it makes me feel good for a couple of reasons. number one, i want this to be a symbol for the people in the united states to encourage them about the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine and to get them to be enthusiastic when their time comes up to get vaccinated.
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but also, especially for me and my group, that this particular vaccine that i will be receiving was actually developed here. let's stay in the us, because as we head into christmas, there are concerns around the world that family reunions will lead to a spike in cases. and one way that we can try to understand the impact of holiday travel and large gatherings is by looking at what happened in the us over thanksgiving. we know that despite warnings from health officials, travel went up and saw the largest number of people pass through us airports since the start of the pandemic. prior to thanksgiving, infection rates were already increasing across the us. but what you can see here is that because of reporting delays on thanksgiving, there was a flattening of the curve followed by a catch—up period. and overall, cases rose by about 20% in the two weeks following the holiday weekend. there are currently more people in us hospitals with covid—19 than at any other point during the pandemic. and the us has also reported record daily death totals in the last week, with more than 31100 deaths on two separate days.
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so, did thanksgiving lead to this rise in us cases or was this the trajectory already? and with christmas a few days away, can we learn any thing from thanksgiving? here's jake horton from reality check. so in the build—up, there were warnings. travelling was up during the thanksgiving week, although it was up relatively modestly. compared to 2019 air travel, it was down by about 60%. there were still concerns that they may see a surge in infections following the holiday, and we did see infections grow, but prior to the holiday, there was already a surge in infections in the us. so what we actually saw is a continuation of this curve upwards. in the two weeks after thanksgiving,
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infections went up about 20%. but infections in the two weeks before thanksgiving were also up 20%. so, again, we saw a continuation of that curve. that's not to say thanksgiving had no impact. it could've been the case that thanksgiving was going to see a levelling off of infections, but the gatherings actually saw infections continue growing and growing and growing. in the national data actually, there are some cracks in the states‘ data which saw an uptick. massachusetts was one state where infections were relatively heavy. since the holiday, they have rocketed. that is one example of a state that saw a sudden increase. other states that saw cases fall following the holidays, though a majority of states followed that national picture of the trend
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continuing to rise up. and there are states all over the country that since the holiday have recorded record daily infection rates, from california to newjersey. nationally, that trend is a continuation of the curve upwards, and the country‘s top infectious lead expert, dr anthony fauci, has warned people who may feel they dodged a bullet, he says his concern is just as severe in the build—up to christmas, and maybe more so as the christmas holiday is longer. before we go, the winners of one of the world‘s biggest lotteries — spain‘s el gordo, or the fat 0ne — have been announced. the prize is nearly $2.9 billion. only a few minutes into the draw, a ball worth 60,000 euros was called. the largest prize, nearly $4 million, was called for lucky numbers 7, 2, 8 and 9.
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school children call out the winning numbers as a tradition. participants often team up with friends or family to buy series of tickets in the hope of sharing large winnings. if you‘re watching on bbc world news in spain, fingers crossed it was your lucky day. a reminder of our top story. nearly 3000 lorries are backed up at dover in the south east of england awaiting agreement between the uk and france on reopening the borderforfreight. france has confirmed it‘ll open up to traffic from england tonight provided drivers produce a recent negative coronavirus test certificate. much more information on that story andindeed much more information on that story and indeed all the stories we have covered via the bbc news app and the website. that is it for the programme in today. thank you for
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watching, we will see you soon, bye— bye. good evening. we‘ll all be in chilly air by the time we head to christmas, but for the time being tonight, bit of a north—south split continuing. where we saw the best of the brightness today across parts of scotland, northern ireland, this is where we‘ll see a frost develop for a while. head further south, the grey skies we saw in southern parts of england and wales, though cloudy conditions develop more widely, bringing rain. and it‘s rain which could become a problem again over the next 36 hours, particularly for england and wales, and in these areas marked in darker blue on our rainfall accumulation charts, maybe 40—70 mm of rain possible falling on saturated ground. river levels high. keep up—to—date with the latest flood and weather warnings on our website. and the rain will be hit and miss tonight for england and wales. certainly a lot of cloud could fringe into the borders and the south east of northern ireland, but much of scotland and northern ireland will be dry, partly clear skies and the chance
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of a frost. frost—free for england and wales and a mild night the further south you are. but the rain that we see on wednesday will come courtesy of this area of low pressure. that‘s going to intensify the rain for some and make it more persistent for others. light winds to begin with across england and wales, rain coming and going, heavier bursts developing through the day. the odd rumble of thunder, too, but there will be gaps in the rain, as you can see, even a little bit of brightness at times. 13 degrees possible with that around the english channel. scotland, northern ireland by comparison, hazy sunshine to begin with. gradually will turn a bit sunnier through the day, but a cold day here. winds not too much of an issue to begin with across the country, but they will start to pick up across northern england, wales, the south west, and it‘s here where we could see gales develop as we head into the evening and overnight as our rain gradually starts to clear its way eastwards as that low pressure departs towards the east of us. as it does, follow the isobars back. they‘ll be coming down from the north. it‘s northerly winds which will then introduce much colder air for christmas eve and christmas day. now, we will even see a bit of snow, particularly on christmas eve, mixed in with some showers,
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they‘ll be very much hit and miss. snow mainly over the hills, a lot of dry and bright weather. big improvement for england and wales as far as sunshine‘s concerned on thursday, but down those eastern coasts, 4 degrees, gale—force winds. it‘s going to feel subzero, a really raw feeling day down the eastern half of the country. and then, to take us into christmas morning, the sparkle of a widespread frost rather than snow on the ground. a lot of dry and bright weather to come, too, early showers in eastern england clearing, lots of sunshine. bright start in northern ireland and scotland, but wet and windy weather arriving in the north west later. see you soon.
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this is bbc world news, the headlines.
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france says it‘s lifting its blanket cross—channel travel ban from midnight local time. french nationals and european citizens will be allowed entry, with an up to date coronavirus test. the new rules will also cover lorry drivers. nearly 3,000 lorries are stuck in kent and waiting to cross the channel. britain‘s transport secretary grant shapps says drivers will begin recieving covid tests on wednesday but it could take two or three days for the queues to clear. eu diplomats say progress has been made in post brexit trade talks, but differences on fisheries still remain. britain‘s transition period ends in just over a week from now, but europe says it‘s prepared to negotiate beyond december 31. america‘s top medical adviser anthony fauci has been given the coronavirus vaccine live on television. he said he wanted to encourage americans to get theirjab too. now, ben thompson reflects on how the uk economy,


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