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tv   BBC News at Six  BBC News  January 5, 2021 6:00pm-6:31pm GMT

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the uk is back in lockdown — more than one million people are currently infected with coronavirus. stay at home — the message once again — with the nhs under severe strain amid record covid admissions. lincoln county hospital the latest to declare a critical incident. if people don't stake the stay at home seriously the risk a at this point in time the risk is extraordinarily high. more than 1.3 million people have had their first dose of a covid vaccine. now the pressure is on to get millions more protected over the next few weeks. we in government are now using every second of this lockdown to put that invisible shield around the elderly and the vulnerable in the form of vaccination.
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empty classrooms once again as millions of children are forced to stay home. billions of pounds in new grants for businesses hardest hit by the lockdown — up to £9,000 to help them through until spring. and tightening britain's borders — the government's considering plans to allow in only those with a negative coronavirus test. coming up on sportsday later in the hour on bbc news. elite sport carries on, but how will grass roots and amateur sport come through another lockdown? good evening and welcome to the bbc news at six. the numbers are stark. more than a million people in the uk are currently
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infected with coronavirus. record numbers are being admitted to hospital every day, putting huge strain on the nhs. with the whole of the uk back in lockdown today, the government's chief medical advisor professor chris whitty warned that we are facing a really serious emergency. more than 1.3 million people have been given the first dose of a covid vaccine — among them a quarter of all over 80s. while there's hope that the vaccine will be a way out of this pandemic, professor whitty warned restrictions may still be needed next winter to keep the virus under control. every nation in the uk is now in a form of lockdown. the rules differ slightly from nation to nation, but the key message is the same everywhere, and that is — stay at home. once again there are just a handful of exemptions — including shopping for food and exercise. schools have now closed to all pupils — except the children of key workers and those who are vulnerable. and summer exams are cancelled
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in scotland, wales and england, though some students will still sit btecs and technical exams. northern ireland is expected to make a decision in the coming days. here's our deputy political editor, vicki young. that sinking feeling e here we go again, across the uk a return to deserted streets, empty classrooms and closed shops. stay at home is the order coming from political leaders as forcefully as it did in march, all hope is now pinned op a speedy vaccine roll out. until then, what will life be like? like millions of parents michelle will be juggfing millions of parents michelle will be juggling work and helping her son with home learning. with an eight—year—old son, it is quite challenging. you know, having him play football in the house, being away from his friends, managing technology, just, it is a challenge. in altrincham market all the traders
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including don are back —— packing up again we would like the government to step forward to keep us going because if it carries on like this we won't be able to carry on and businesses will fold. for health workers like nasim it will be more long shifts in hospital a national lockdown was unfortunately necessary , lockdown was unfortunately necessary, my advice to us a you out there, please take it seriously. you could die from it. no wonder the prime minister warned us the next few weeks will be the hardest yet but there was some positive news. we have now vaccinated over 1.1 million people in england, and over 1.3 million across the uk. and that includes more than 650,000 people over 80, which is 23% of all the over 80, which is 23% of all the over 80s in england. prime minister the whole country is relying on you to ta ke the whole country is relying on you to take the right steps at the right time and many think that you waited
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too long to bring in extra restrictions, how can they have confidence in your decision making when on sunday, you insisted all schools should stay open, and the very next day ordered them to close? it has been clear that the tier 4 measures were something that we wa nted measures were something that we wanted to evaluate and over the course of the days leading up to sunday, clearly, like everybody else in the country we were hoping that we would start to see some impact. we have got to a situation where tier 4 on its own couldn't be relied upon. to professor whitty and professor va la nce upon. to professor whitty and professor valance when did you first advice the government to lockdown in england? the cmos met yesterday morning, and reviewed the data which was getting worse in all four nations of the uk and they advised we should move to level five yesterday. mrjohnson cease promised
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to give regular update on the vaccine macing programme. the aim is inknowledge lating round 13 million people by mid—february. the labour leader said the nation must pull together. we now need the government together. we now need the government to deliver for the british together. we now need the government to deliverfor the british people, and that means using this lockdown to establish a massive immediate and round—the—clock vaccination programme. to deliver millions of doses by the end of this month. across the uk schools are closed for most pupils and many exams cancelled. there is still uncertainty over when that will change. the first minister of scotla nd change. the first minister of scotland said the new strain of coronavirus had driven everything often course. it is transmitting so much more quickly, you know, this whole thing has been a race with the virus, we now have the vaccines we hope can beat it so we have to up our game hope can beat it so we have to up ourgame again to hope can beat it so we have to up our game again to try to get ahead of it. the vaccines will help us do that but while that is happening we need to work harder to slow it down. of course, the question everyone wa nts of course, the question everyone wants an answer to, is when will
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restrictions come to an end? boris johnson has learned from some past m ista kes johnson has learned from some past mistakes and has been careful to promise not too much. there is a timetable of sorts talking about vaccinating the most vulnerable by the middle of february and on that timetable suggesting schools might re—open after the half—term in february. but i think what they are doing is preparing people that there is not going to be one moment where all these restrictions are lifted at once, urging people to follow the rules and to be realistic and if that wasn't enough, and sobering enough professor whitty suggesting there might be some restrictions which will be needed to be brought back next winter. and the leader of the opposition sir keir starmer will respond to news of the lockdown with a statement on bbc one for viewers in england at 7pm. as you've been hearing the latest government figures show there were 60,916 new coronavirus infections recorded in the latest 24—hour period. that's the first time since the pandemic started the daily total has been above 60,000.
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although testing is more widescale now, compared to the first peak in the spring. the average number of new cases reported per day in the last week is now 55,945. 830 deaths were reported — that's of people who died within 28 days of a positive covid—19 test. that means on average, in the past week, 677 deaths were announced every day. it takes the total number of deaths so far across the uk to 76,305. more than 1.3 million people have now had one dose of a covid vaccine. borisjohnson says he wants around 13 million people to have been given the jab over the next six weeks — that's people over the age of 70, the most clinically vulnerable and front line health and care workers. 0ur health editor hugh pym looks at the huge task ahead.
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vaccination is now well under way across the uk, including at this centre in winchester today. but is the process moving fast enough to meet ambitious targets? here, they say i, they are optimistic. we can mmp say i, they are optimistic. we can ramp it up tomorrow to do over 10,000 ina ramp it up tomorrow to do over 10,000 in a month. working six days a week, eight till eight and we are ready to do that from tomorrow. the only constraint we have is getting hold of the vaccination. the prime minister said 13 million people from priority groups would be offered the first dose by mid—february, top of the list are care home residents and worker, then all aged 80 or over or front line staff. the 75—79 group comes next followed by 70—74—year—olds an those who are clinically vulnerable. the timetable is relies tick but not easy and the nhs will have to use multiple
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channels to get it out but they are determined to do this. the vaccine made by pfizer has been available since early december but it needs to be stored at very low temperatures, around minus 70 degrees, the 0xford—astrazeneca jab was rolled out this week, it can be kept in normalfridges is is easier to distribute. very vaccine challenges after production the next stage is known as fill and finish, where the vaccine's put into glass vials and packaged. there is a global shortage of the vials and so delay, the nhs will soon have 1,000 vaccination centres from gp surgeries to football stadiums. gps say they need a bigger workforce, but there have been problems recruiting people to do the jabs. we've got tens of thousands of recently retired gp, and practise nurses and community nurses who really wa nt nurses and community nurses who really want to come back and help, they go online to register and they find they have to fill out 20 plus forms, they have to find their exam
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certificates, often from decades before, at the moment there is a lot of people being put off by the bureaucracy. i have really cold hands, sorry. more than 1.3 million people have so far been vaccinated in the uk, nearly quarter of the over 80s in england have had their jab, no—one is in doubt ant the importance of getting millions more immunised as a way out of lockdown restrictions. more than 3,000 people a day have been admitted to hospitals in england alone in the first few days of this year — more than at the peak last april. the pressure on hospitals is intense — not least because of the number of staff who are off work with the virus or self—isolating. some doctors have compared working in the nhs right now to being in a warzone. here's our health correspondent, dominic hughes. becky james is living with a rare form of bowel cancer. she was expecting to have surgery in the coming weeks that could cure her, but covid pressures in london mean the hospital has had to cancel her operation.
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becky understands the reasons, but it's still hard. i feel quite helpless. i can't plan anything. that's usual with cancer. i think it leaves me in limbo, as with hundreds of other people. i think a lot of people listening to this would be quite surprised at how magnanimous you're sounding. i think part of it is to keep calm. because the nhs are keeping calm. so my role is to keep calm. across the uk, the health service is struggling. at the grange university hospital in cwmbran in south wales, staff in the intensive care unit are witnessing the very worst of the virus. it does feel like we're fighting a losing battle with the number of patients, and constantly phoning families to tell them that they need to come in because their loved ones are really reaching the end of the line. you know, we haven't formally crunched all the data yet, but certainly anecdotally and from what i'm observing, i would say that our death rate at the moment is probably twice what it was in the first wave.
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those deaths are directly related to how many people are catching the virus. in the last surge, cases started to pick up towards the end of september before peaking in november when the second lockdown had an impact. since the start of december, infections have been on the rise again. daily hospital admissions closely track the number of positive cases. the latest data for the whole of the uk only goes to just before christmas, but we know that since then, cases have rocketed and admissions to hospital will follow suit. with nearly 61,000 new cases of the virus today, hospital staff are braced for some extremely difficult weeks ahead. staff sickness isn't helping. doctors and nurses, hospital porters and cleaners, like all of us, vulnerable to the virus. at lincoln county hospital, managers declared a critical incident for some hours after a sharp rise in covid patients requiring admission. another sign, if it was needed,
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that right across the uk, the virus is now fast running out of control. dominic hughes, bbc news. across the uk schools remained closed today to most pupils on what should have, for many, been the first week of term. 0nly nurseries remain open, except in scotland. and today it was confirmed that this summer's a levels and gcse exams are being cancelled in england. 0ur education editor bra nwen jeffreys reports. empty classrooms again. most children back at home. yes, we have the zoom session. but for teachers in school, planning online lessons, learning packs for pupils... like... i don't really... i was quite shocked at how involved, you know what i mean? angela cannot believe it's happening again. she works an hour a day as a dinner lady. now she will have a daughter learning at
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home. that's if i can get her to focus for five minutes. and then into the minutes ticked by, she's gone, watching a video, i've had to sit with her because she's looking around, are you not? spinning around, standing on her head, and then when it comes to answering the questions to the video, she has no clue. schools have spent the day working out how to help families. it's not just about moving lessons online. some children are still learning on their parents' mobile. and today, a pay—as—you—go data on lessons could cost almost £100, leading to calls for data for education to be made cheaper orfree. some children we found in the last lockdown did not have access to zoom... catching up with head teachers across stoke, even with schools contacting families, some teens lose confidence, log out of lessons, disconnect from learning.
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what really worries me is where those students aren't engaged and don't connect and they're not there for learning, even with the intervention, what they are doing every day. possibly they're not in the house, possibly they're on the streets, the only thing that stops them walking is school. and without school being there, they walk in a different direction completely. but many parents, like vicki, are determined to do their best. with four daughters, that's tough. in lockdown, she will have to help the youngest most. keeping going, worrying about what they're missing. they should be with a teacher who is able to have their attention to teach them properly. as a mum, you can't do that properly. because you're not qualified, but honestly you do your best, you do what you can. but it's about their grades
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and then mentally. next week, millie is due to sit a btec exam. but colleges have called for vocational exams to be scrapped, and millie doesn't know how her gcse grades will be calculated. we've missed so much learning. like four months of last year. and we were only in school for four months. and now we are closing down again. tomorrow, more from the government on exams is expected. not a detailed plan, but confirmation of next steps. branwen jeffreys, bbc news. the bbc has announced its largest ever section of educational programmes for children at home during lockdown and from monday there will be five hours of programming on cbbc and bbc two for primary and secondary schoolchildren. england joined scotland, wales and northern ireland last night in introducing strict lockdown measures in order to try to curb the spread of the virus. in a moment, we'll be hearing
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from emma vardy in belfast and hywel griffith in cardiff, but first here's our scotland correspondent, james cook. scotland's lockdown is actually quite similar to england's, but there are a few key differencers. for example, there is no limit here on individual or household outdoor exercise, and under 12s are allowed to play together outdoors. schools are shut here for most pupils but, so too are nurseries, although both will be open for the children of key workers and for vulnerable pupils. places of worship are closed in scotland, a decision that's been described by the country's catholic bishops as arbitrary and unfair. the first minister of scotland, nicola sturgeon, says she accepts it is distressing, but she insists it is necessary, and ms sturgeon has been giving an update on the number of people in hospital with covid—19. she says that has risen sharply over the past week and she warns without this lockdown, the nhs could be overwhelmed within weeks.
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here in wales people have been required to stay at home for the last two weeks and the lockdown has had an impact, with coronavirus case numbers falling in most areas, but they remain high, at an average of round 400 cases per 100,000. yesterday the welsh government decided it was too soon to send pupils back into the classroom, closing schools until at least january 18th. the question is whether that will be too soon? some unions want face to face learning suspended until february. the welsh education minister says keeping schools closed can have grave consequences for pupils, and there will be a review, but it all leaves teachers, pupils, and parents wondering what to prepare for later this month. northern ireland is in a six—week lockdown, but now ministers are going further. to toughen things up the stay at home rule is to be put into law, to make the restrictions more legally enforceable. 0ur pupils had been due to return to the classroom in a staggered way this month,
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but because of the dramatic spike in cases, now schools will be closed to most pupils, with online learning taking place at home, until round the mid—february half—term break, and transfer tests have been cancelled here too for now. those are the exams used to select pupils for northern ireland's grammar schools, but really one of the big challenges ministers believe they have is to get people back to following the rules more strictly, as they believe people did back in march. the big question of course is will this new lockdown be enough to halt the rapid rise in transmission rates? and if so — how fast will it happen? 0ur science editor david shukman looks at the evidence. lockdowns have worked before, but will they work again now? the virus can only spread through human interaction, and when that's reduced with scenes like this, the number of infections falls as well. but now there's the new variant, and its impact is still being investigated.
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we have no guarantee that the lockdown now announced will work. i think that's the challenge. we have seen in the last two weeks that cases in that critical age range, 11—to—18—year—olds, of the variant disease in places like london, the south east and the east of england, have started to come down. but the case numbers of the new variant in the adult population continue to rise. a key measure of what the new lockdown has got to achieve is the r number. that's basically how easily the virus is spreading. last march, the number was three, meaning that if ten people were infected, they passed the virus to 30 others, who in turn would pass it to 90 more. so the disease was really escalating. now, the first lockdown last spring brought that right down to 0.6, meaning that if ten were infected, they would only infect six others. and whenever the r number is below one, it means the epidemic is shrinking.
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right now, we are back up to an estimated 1.3, and that's despite all the restrictions under the tier system, a measure of partly how infectious the new variant is. closing schools should help to reduce the spread of the virus, maybe by enough to stop the epidemic from growing. and some very early signs suggest that that may be happening already. we are in a very difficult situation here. but i think, yes, my sort of assessment, initial assessment of the last few days is that perhaps it does look like it's slowing, the rate of increase is slowing, which is very good news. but what if the new measures aren't enough? 0ne hope is that messaging about the risks will encourage people to follow the guidance more carefully. another is that with improvements in testing in recent months, we'll be better able to track the disease than we could early last year. and if the vaccination programme rolls out as planned, that will make all the difference.
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but we're not there yet. david shukman, bbc news. the chancellor is offering busineses in hospitality, retail and leisure new grants of up to £9,000 to try to keep them afloat until spring during the new lockdown. the move has welcomed by industry groups, but they have warned that the money won't be enough to stop many firms from going under. here's our business correspondent sarah corker. we've got a 39—bed hotel closed, a beach store closed, ice cream parlor closed, a function room, a bar closed. —— bistro. no customers, no money coming in, but there are still bills to pay. entire part of the economy are in shutdown again. here in clitheroe in lancashire, this business has already cancelled hundreds of weddings and events. 400 staff are on furlough. the stop—start process that we've been going through for ten months now is very, very difficult because you can't make any kind of plans, really. and a lot of reactions are very short—term, very, you know,
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you have 24—48 hours or whatever between the government saying one thing and then announcing something else. and that's been very, very challenging, i've got to say. and for the in—house brewery here, the ban on takeaway alcohol sales is another blow. there is, though, more government support to help firms to stay afloat. for businesses in the most affected sectors who were asked to close, they will receive up to £9000 in a one—off cash grant. it's important to remember that comes on top of the existing monthly grants of £3000 that those businesses receive and the extension of furlough all the way through to april. the high streets are virtually empty once again. the economic resilience of retail and hospitality businesses is wafer—thin, and they say what they need from government is a clear long—term plan. this manchester bar and distillery supplies gin to other hospitality businesses. sales are down nearly 80%.
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there is extra financial support. how much will that help you? while it's a nice news story that they're giving extra £9000, it doesn't go nearly far enough. we need business rates relief again for another year. we need vat deferrment. they introduced some measures in the first lockdown, but they need to look at extending those so at least all businesses can reopen, to get back on their feet and start trading again. essential retailers can continue trading, and unlike the first lockdown, that includes garden centres in england this time. but in clitheroe today, there were few customers. we're looking at staffing levels all the time. currently we're on a minimum staff. we're on a very, very skeleton crew. we're highly delighted we can stay open, but at the same time there are massive challenges ahead. vaccines offer hope and a way out of this crisis. the question is how many businesses can survive the winter months? sarah corker, bbc news, in clitheroe.
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the government has announced plans to introduce covid—19 testing for people arriving from abroad. how will this work? the idea is you would not be able to come into the uk without a negative covid—19 test but some of the details we don't have, so we don't know what sort of test might need to be used, whether this is just test might need to be used, whether this isjust for test might need to be used, whether this is just for foreign nationals also for uk nationals coming back to the country as well. speaking to aviation experts in the industry today, there are realfrustrations. the industry has been calling for covid—19 testing from early on in the pandemic and many other countries already require a negative test before you are able to visit them, and we are here, they would say, at the beginning of the third lockdown and we are still discussing testing. of course, there have already been steps taken to limit the impact of certain strains originating in other countries affecting us here, flights from south africa for instance have been banned to stop that particular
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strain, and the government would also point to schemes like the travel corridors and test and release, saying it has managed imported infections so far, but it's clear they are looking to go further. caroline, thank you. while the country is struggling to come to terms with this new lockdown many families are having to cope with the death of a relative because of the pandemic. unexpected loss and daily grief is the real cost of this crisis. jon kay has been hearing from two people who've lost loved ones in the past month. i'd been with rob for 25 years. we met through a lonely hearts club. colin lost his partner rob just before christmas. covid caused blood clots on his lungs. he was 56. rob was a very fun—loving person. # and we could be together baby...# very outgoing, friends with absolutely everybody. it's rob here again. welcome to melbourne. this time last year, the couple were on the holiday of a lifetime. now colin faces the new year alone.
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the outpouring that we've had since his death, the messages i've had on facebook have been absolutely brilliant, and they help me through it all. when the pandemic began, rob decided to leave his deskjob in the nhs to work as a nurse in a&e helping covid patients. his funeral cortege went past bristol southmead hospital. he wanted to be on the front—line. he felt he was more use doing things like that than being in research. i think i'm going to find things now very quiet. everything just seems empty. "i've tested positive for covid—19. breathing is ok. . . " in the days before christmas, rachel's auntie jan said she was coping fine, but her situation rapidly deteriorated. i then sadly messaged her on christmas day not realising that when i messaged her,
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it never went through, she had actually passed. jan docker was 55, a special needs teacher in london with no underlying health problems. it was the suddenness of her death that shocked her niece the most. i think people's perception of covid is that you get ill, there's warning, you will end up in icu, there's time to kind of hopefully recover or say goodbye to loved ones. but in our case, it was sadly not to be. how has what happened to her affected the way you view this virus? i've seen how bad it can be for people. but it's not until you lose a loved one do you realise actually how dangerous this virus is. what would your message to people be from where you stand? all i can say to people is please, please obey the rules. i don't want anybody else to go through what i've gone through. and ijust hope that we come out of it soon.
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jon kay, bbc news, bristol. time for a look at the weather. here's matt taylor. thank you. the view across scotland this afternoon, but it's already turned cold, —6 in one or two spots and by the end of the night some parts of northern ireland where we saw the sunshine today could be at a similar value. it is in the west where we see the coldest conditions overnight and in the east a chance of ice with wintry showers continuing and parts of eastern scotla nd continuing and parts of eastern scotland and northern england with a dusting of snow over the higher ground. rain showers continue in east anglia, the south—east and channel islands and temperatures above freezing but it will feel cold in the wind, may be as low as —11 through the glens of scotland to start tomorrow but a crisp start for much of scotland and northern ireland, isolated from patches, the isa continues will slowly drift southwards and with a shift in wind direction inland away from the coast
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in east anglia and the south—east, things will turn


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