this is bbc news. i'm tim willcox. the headlines at apm. a record day for vaccines in england yesterday — more than 444,000 doses were registered. but the health secretary warns those who've had them that they still need to be cautious. severe weather warnings as snow and ice sweeps across the uk — amid fears of travel disruption. leaving the union — the snp to present its national assembly with what it's calling a road map to a new referendum on scottish independence. good afternoon.
welcome to bbc news. in a moment, viewers on bbc one will be joining us for a full round—up of today's headlines with mishal husain. first, the health secretary matt hancock says 77 cases of the south african variant of covid have been found here in the uk. but he says all have links to international travel and there's no evidence that it's spreading in the community. he also said we are a "long way" from restrictions being eased, despite a record number of daily vaccinations. 0ur political correspondent chris mason told me that while the government was keen to talk about the speed of the vaccine roll—out, it was trying to manage expectations if you recall from last march and the months after that, all sorts of bold predictions were made about being back to normal within a certain number of months, that christmas would be fine — and all that kind of stuff. and of course, there was huge
disappointment on the downside, huge surprise on the downside equating to disappointment. now, i think, they are — apart from on their vaccine targets — on any question that is remotely sort of down the channel of "when will we get back to normal", they say, "we don't know." and the briefing and the language emphasises that things might take a little longer than we perhaps anticipated. so, the good news for the government, the good news for the country in terms of the vaccine roll—out, we are what, third orfourth now internationally and how quickly we are doing this. we still haven't resolved, though, have we, that point about the second dose — if it's necessary and when? quite. that still remains a big, live question. matt hancock saying this morning on the andrew marr show that people who have had that vaccine, one jab of it, we'll get that second jab within 12 weeks. but there are some who are saying it should happen much, much quicker. so there are still big questions around the vaccine and the vaccine supply chain. so matt hancock again saying that the limiting factor
at the moment is the amount of vaccine coming in, and of course that is bound to cause some concern given the deadlines that the government has set itself. but there is no doubt the government has a good story to tell on vaccines, and is very keen to make international comparisons. what they are not keen to do is for international comparisons to be drawn on the deaths per million people, where the uk's amongst the worst performing countries in the world, or indeed the economic impact, the slump in national income as a result of the measures of the last 12 months, where again the uk is in a relatively disadvantageous position. some weather, now. good afternoon. the snow is still falling. it's really ground to a halt now, from north wales across the north midlands, down towards east anglia. and actually, through the evening, it will push further southwards again. it did get up into the far south of northern england. we've had snow showers further north as well. but it's cold and snowy, and there's more of that to come.
so quite treacherous out and about. eventually, after that's given a few more centimetres as it moves southwards, it will clear out the way. then there'lljust be a few showers following, mostly across scotland. but it will be bitterly cold just about everywhere, but particularly across where we've seen the snow in england and wales. still numerous flood warnings in force, but a drier day on monday — particularly so for england and wales. a few wintry showers elsewhere still to contend with. not much warmer, although the sunshine will help just a little bit during the day. needless to say, there are numerous warnings in force because of the snow still falling and the treacherously icy conditions which will follow after dark.
the south african covid variant — more than 70 cases have been identified in the uk. amid concern the vaccine may be less effective against this variant, ministers say numbers are being closely monitored. we have enhanced contact tracing to do everything we possibly can to stop them from spreading. all of the cases so far have been linked to international travel. also on the programme... joy in china, as 11 miners trapped underground for two weeks are rescued. let it snow — some have enjoyed the wintry conditions, but severe weather warnings are in place for many areas. and another superb century for the england captainjoe root in the second test in sri lanka.
good afternoon. the health secretary has said 77 cases of the south african variant of coronavirus have been found here in the uk, but they can all be linked to international travel and there is no evidence it is spreading in the community. matt hancock also said we are a "long way" from covid restrictions being eased, as scientists warn vaccinated people may still be able to pass the virus on. 0ur science editor, david shukman, now reports. all kinds of surprising locations are now mobilised in the push for vaccination, even the black country living museum, near birmingham. used as a set in the drama peaky blinders, this celebration of an earlier age is ready to offer the most modern of medicines, everything prepared for coronavirus vaccines. please, please come
and get your vaccine, we are here and we are ready and we are waiting for you. it is vitally important that people protect themselves, protect their families and protect one another. we do know that the injections offer good protection. they boost antibodies in the bloodstream and keep people from getting ill. but it's not clear if that stops the virus causing infections that can then spread to others. there is some evidence from the astrazeneca vaccine trial, and that did show that a small number were indeed positive for sars—cov—z, despite having no symptoms whatsoever and having had the vaccine. now, it was very small numbers and really hard to see a statistically meaningful result. and another concern is how the virus is changing. a variant in south africa is one of several being checked to see how effective the vaccines are against it. there are 77 known cases of the south african variant here in the uk.
they are under very close observation, and we have enhanced contact tracing to do everything we possibly can to stop them from spreading. the majority of those have had contact with, or come from, south africa, and that is why we've got such stringent border measures in place. so, a big question is how to manage the uk's borders. many countries require travellers to quarantine in hotels. there's pressure on the government for stricter controls. on monday, we got this delayed announcement, yet again delayed. we would fully expect the government to bring in tougher quarantine measures, we would expect them to roll out a proper testing strategy and we would expect them as well to start checking up on the people who are quarantining. only three out of every hundred people who are asked to quarantine when they arrive in the uk actually faces any checks at all — that is just simply not sufficient. meanwhile, not everyone is getting the message. the police broke up an illegal rave
in east london in the early hours and they issued fines totalling £15,000. david shukman, bbc news. as the vaccination programme continues, there are growing concerns that people with learning disabilities are being overlooked. a recent public health england study found a mortality rate up to six times higherfor those in this group than the general population, but many are not being prioritised for a vaccine. nikki fox has the story. you know, you can't smell it, you can't see it. you can't hear it. it's like a silent killer. everyone here has a learning disability. they meet up regularly to talk about and understand death and bereavement. it is scary at times. these chats have never been more important. all i keep thinking is, am i going to be next? you know, am i going to be the next one to die? i would hate to be in a hospital and end up dying on my own. people with learning disabilities are up to six times more likely
to die from coronavirus. that's according to analysis by public health england, which looked at the number of deaths during the first wave of the pandemic. however, only those with down's syndrome and severe learning disabilities are being prioritised for the vaccine. people adore her. tilly is one of those being prioritised. and it can't come soon enough. i get so fearful for her. historic inequalities in health care and the knowledge that even before covid, people with learning disabilities had such a low life expectancy means, for many families, any visit to hospital is a worry. we have had too many incidences where she's been refused treatment, because they can't work out how to treat somebody with a learning disability. for me to think about that happening, if she had the virus and she had to go into hospital, it's terrifying, absolutely terrifying. deciding who is eligible for priority access is not an easy task. the initial priority programme was based on the risk of hospitalisation and death.
the committee which advises government examined a different set of data to public health england. it believes those with milder learning disabilities are not at such an increased risk. individuals with learning disability we recognise as a very disadvantaged group, so that's why we decided to make a clinical decision to prioritise those with profound and severe learning disabilities within our first six categories. with such conflicting figures, experts fear that by not immunising everyone with a learning disability as a priority... we need to protect this population. ..there will be many who will not get the vaccine in time. lots of people with learning disabilities have things like diabetes or heart problems, or lung problems. even before covid, more than four in ten people with a learning disability died of a lung condition like pneumonia. it's clear that, as a group of people, they really are at risk and they should be prioritised. we're just as important as everybody
else that should have a chance of having the vaccine. but we need it now, rather than later. death after death and crisis i after crisis, ijust can't cope... legal action on the grounds of discrimination is being taken against the government. however, the department of health and social care says it is working hard to vaccinate all those at risk. they should be on top of the list. but with learning disabilities being such a complex, often misunderstood condition, campaigners believe that, once again, this group of people are being forgotten. nikki fox, bbc news. today's snowfall affected four vaccination centres in wales which had to be closed, and there are severe weather warnings in place for many parts of the uk. travel has been disrupted, but some have been out enjoying the snow. simonjones is in surrey for us this afternoon.
when the snow arrived, it came down thick and fast, blanketing much of the uk. in parts of the midlands they have had up to 12 centimetres of snow. weather warnings remain in place for many parts for snow until midnight and then tomorrow there are further warnings, for ice, as they snow on the ground becomes treacherous. a race to get out in the open—air after weeks cooped up inside during lockdown. i after weeks cooped up inside during lockdown. , ~ , lockdown. i “ust think it is so important — lockdown. i just think it is so important for _ lockdown. i just think it is so important for the _ lockdown. i just think it is so important for the soul - lockdown. i just think it is so important for the soul to - lockdown. i just think it is so important for the soul to get lockdown. i just think it is so - important for the soul to get out and enjoy the outdoors when you can. it means literally the world to me because _ it means literally the world to me because coronavirus has been really hard _ because coronavirus has been really hard. , , ,, , hard. these hills in surrey resembled _ hard. these hills in surrey resembled a _ hard. these hills in surrey resembled a ski _ hard. these hills in surrey resembled a ski resort - hard. these hills in surrey resembled a ski resort as| hard. these hills in surrey - resembled a ski resort as families came out for their permitted daily exercise. that is despite the met office issuing a severe warning of 0ffice issuing a severe warning of dangerous conditions underfoot and on the roads. in many places, there have been treacherous driving conditions. the snow has fallen on ground that was already freezing,
and in many cases saturated, after days of rainfall. it has meant that many people have come up by foot. a gritting lorry overturned in devon as drivers were warned only to travel is absolutely necessary. the flakes came down thick and fast across large swathes of the uk. this was the scene in newport. four coronavirus vaccination centres in south wales were forced to shut. the met office says that by the middle of the week, the colder wintry conditions give way to wet and windy ones, leading to fears of flooding. simonjones, bbc news. the scottish national party has laid out what it calls a road map to a new independence referendum. the plan, which has been shared with the party's national assembly, could lead to a legal showdown with borisjohnson's westminster government, which opposes another referendum. 0ur scotland political editor, glenn campbell, joins me from glasgow. where is all this heading? well, it has lona where is all this heading? well, it has long been _ where is all this heading? well, it has long been the _ where is all this heading? well, it
has long been the snp's _ where is all this heading? well, it has long been the snp's plan - where is all this heading? well, it has long been the snp's plan a . where is all this heading? well, it has long been the snp's plan a to | has long been the snp's plan a to try and win the next holyrood election, due in may, as convincingly as it can, and if there is a majority for independence in the scottish parliament, to watch uk opposition to another referendum crumble. the trouble with that is that the current uk government shows no sign of agreeing to what is called indyref2, and as a boris johnson's resistance has appeared to harden, critics of nicola sturgeon's leadership within the snp have demanded she sets out a plan b. that is what we have now, the idea that if the snp continues in government, it will press ahead with legislation for an independence referendum, even without uk consent, and be prepared to defend that in court in the unlikely event of a legal challenge. the snp, to be clear, say they would only actually hold a referendum if it wasn't certified as legal, and
after the pandemic. but the conservatives say this is just the wrong priority, the entire focus, they say, should be on recovery from coronavirus. but with opinion polls and suggesting support for both the snp and independence is strong, expect a lot more political tension to come over this.— expect a lot more political tension to come over this. glenn campbell, thank yon — rescuers in china have freed ii miners who were trapped 600 metres underground for two weeks. the entrance tunnel to the gold mine in shandong province collapsed after an explosion. a total of 22 miners were trapped in the blast, the cause of which is unknown. stephen mcdonell has the latest. after two weeks trapped underground, he took his first breath of air above the mine. his eyes masked against the glaring light, his gratitude to be alive overwhelming. one of ii miners rescue today after a dramatic change in fortune. the first miner out prompted cheers. he was barely conscious after being found still alive but separated from the main group,
which had been receiving food and medicine. soon, others were emerging. there were injuries, but many could walk with the assistance of those who had been battling through freezing conditions night after night to reach them. translation: the rescuers checked the miners to see l if they had any injuries and covered their eyes for protection. after lifting up all the trapped miners, we will go on with the search for the missing ones. an initial delay of 30 hours in reporting the accident led to the sacking of local officials. then a week later, miners were discovered alive and a long, thin communication tunnel meant emergency deliveries. one of the main group died from his head injuries and they lost contact with their colleague trapped below. with underground water rising, it was looking grim when officials said it would take 14 more days to take a rescue tunnel through 600 metres of granite.
but somehow, a large ventilation shaft was cleared which led all the way to them, and within hours they were being rescued and on their way to hospital. stephen mcdonell, bbc news, beijing. with all the sport now, here's john watson at the bbc sport centre. good afternoon. captainjoe root produced another brilliant batting display as england finished day three of the second test in galle 42 runs behind sri lanka's first innings total. root made 186, an innings teammate jos buttler described as an education to those watching. joe wilson reports. joe root, england's inspiration, from sunrise to sunset — almost. without his batting, the cause would already be lost. 0nce without his batting, the cause would already be lost. once more, the captain displayed his mastery of the situation and the conditions. you have to adapt in sri lanka. there are things here you would never see at lord's. look, not wearing a tie. joss buttler was joe
at lord's. look, not wearing a tie. joss buttler wasjoe root�*s chief supporter. he made 55 before he was out like this. the replays approved the ball went from bad to boot to field, did not hit the ground, so it was out caught. the rest basically fell like this. sam curran, one of seven wickets for sri lanka's new bowling star. but the captain knew the way. this took him to another landmark, to 150. he was still improvising, still scoring, hours of toil, england needed root because sri lanka still had embuldeniya, here dismissing dom bess. england were 42 behind. joe rootjust had to see it out. forward, scramble back — to late. replays showed he didn't make it. he had scored 186 and yet still felt despondent — that's the captain.
chelsea put their league troubles behind them with a 3—1win over luton in the fourth round of the fa cup. chelsea put their league troubles behind them with a 3—1win over luton in the fourth round of the fa cup. tammy abraham scored two in the first half, before completing his hat trick with 15 minutes remaining to set up a clash with barnsley in the next round. in the other games, championship side brentford trail leicester, fulham are losing at home to burnley. and you can see manchester united take on liverpool in the fa cup here on bbc one from 4.30. leah galton scored a crucial goal for manchester united in a 2—0 win over birmingham which returns them to the summit of the women's super league. tyrrell hatton overturned rory mcilroy�*s overnight lead to win the abu dhabi championship for the first time. hatton was trailing mcilroy, a four—time runner—up in the tournament, by one shot heading into the final day. but the englishman's bogey—free round saw him win by four shots. mcilroy was third. there's more on the bbc sport website. but that's it for now. we're back with the late news at ten. now on bbc one, it's time for the news where you are.
-- 400 92,000. we will in the past 24 hours of nearly 492. —— 400 92,000. we will try to bring though those in half and our�*s time. matt hancock says the 77 cases of the extra variant south african variant have been found here in the uk. all cases have been linked to international travel. no evidence to date that it is spreading in the community unchecked. let's speak to a neurologist at the university of edinburgh, whojoins us now. all viruses mutate, as we know, some more quickly than others. what is more quickly than others. what is more dangerous in terms of the south african variant compared to the ones we have had here, the current one? the south african variant and the brazilian variant as well have
additional mutations in their spike protein, and the spike protein is the part of the virus that allows the part of the virus that allows the virus to enter the cells. there is changes in the spike particle appear to alter the propensity of the virus to enter cells, so it seems the virus can enter the cells more easily, or perhaps more rapidly, which enables this virus to spread more easily, but also means that it may be able to evade pre—existing antibody responses that may have been imparted by exposure to the original variant. ﬁr may have been imparted by exposure to the original variant.— to the original variant. or the vaccine. that _ to the original variant. or the vaccine. that is _ to the original variant. or the vaccine. that is the _ to the original variant. or the l vaccine. that is the frightening thing. do we know that? certainly, this is still under— thing. do we know that? certainly, this is still under investigation. - this is still under investigation. certainly, the antibody responses have already been tested against the part of the blood where you find antibodies against people who have been previously exposed to the original, so we don't know whether
original, so we don't know whether or not that it's going to impact the effectiveness of vaccines. there are two pan the macro to parts of immunity, we have t cells as well, and we don't know what the impact will be on the t cell response. matt hancock was _ will be on the t cell response. matt hancock was talking _ will be on the t cell response. matt hancock was talking about 77 cases being monitored. how do these variants develop geographically like this? i mentioned the kent variant. then the brazil one. then the south african one. is it to do with something else geographically? can you explain it in layman's terms? well, it is the same for all of these kind of respiratory viruses. they constantly evolve. the vast majority of these are either deleterious, or the virus doesn't change at all, or they don't change
any parameters such as the infectiousness or how severe the disease it can cause is. it'sjust very occasionally get these new variants are rising that allow the virus to spread more rapidly or cause more severe disease. so this is happening all over the world, and it isjust in is happening all over the world, and it is just in these regions where there is more virus spread, you are going to have more generators, so it isjust numbers really. if going to have more generators, so it is just numbers really. if you going to have more generators, so it isjust numbers really. if you have more virus, you are more likely to have a variant that is changing the virus in a way that is detrimental to our health.— virus in a way that is detrimental to our health. thank you very much indeed. to our health. thank you very much indeed- the — to our health. thank you very much indeed. the snp _ to our health. thank you very much indeed. the snp will— to our health. thank you very much indeed. the snp will present - to our health. thank you very much indeed. the snp will present its . indeed. the snp will present its national assembly with what is causing a road map to scottish independence. the plan sets up the possibility of a showdown in the courts
with the westminster government over the legality of a fresh poll. borisjohnson opposes another referendum, even if the snp wins a majority in this year's scottish parliament elections. joining me now from falkirk is professor nicola mcewen — a political scientist at the university of edinburgh. constitutionally, the snp has said that they know they cannot unilaterally declare that they want to have a referendum, that would be a bit like the catalonian model, so what are the steps forward constitutionally to get a second referendum now?— constitutionally to get a second referendum now? ~ , ., ., referendum now? well, you mentioned the catalan example. _ referendum now? well, you mentioned the catalan example. what _ referendum now? well, you mentioned the catalan example. what they - referendum now? well, you mentioned the catalan example. what they did - the catalan example. what they did was declare unilaterally that they had won— was declare unilaterally that they had won a — was declare unilaterally that they had won a referendum and were declaring — had won a referendum and were declaring their independence, and there _ declaring their independence, and there is_ declaring their independence, and there is a — declaring their independence, and there is a constitutional barrier to that in_ there is a constitutional barrier to that in spain. the uk does not have the same _ that in spain. the uk does not have the same kinds of constitutional barriers, —
the same kinds of constitutional barriers, so it is a lot more ambiguous. but what the snp has always— ambiguous. but what the snp has always said is that it wants to have always said is that it wants to have a process— always said is that it wants to have a process that is consensual, that is clearly — a process that is consensual, that is clearly order and is clearly within uk order and beyond — is clearly within uk order and beyond legal doubt, so their preference remains to have a similar process— preference remains to have a similar process as _ preference remains to have a similar process as last time, with enabling them _ process as last time, with enabling them to— process as last time, with enabling them to the macro but the power for that remains in the uk parliament ultimately, but the uk prime minister, and he has said no. what the snp _ minister, and he has said no. what the snp is — minister, and he has said no. what the snp is hoping is that they can win enough of a majority in may, if the election— win enough of a majority in may, if the election is in may, to make that untenable, — the election is in may, to make that untenable, but what they have done with the _ untenable, but what they have done with the road map is set out a contingency if the prime minister continues— contingency if the prime minister continues to say no, that they will press _ continues to say no, that they will press ahead with legislation anyway, and they— press ahead with legislation anyway, and they never conceded that they
could _ and they never conceded that they could not— and they never conceded that they could not have a law that would enable — could not have a law that would enable a — could not have a law that would enable a referendum on the constitutional question and still be within— constitutional question and still be within the — constitutional question and still be within the confines of the scottish parliament. within the confines of the scottish arliament. ., , ., within the confines of the scottish parliament-— parliament. could it be a 2-stage rocess? parliament. could it be a 2-stage process? could _ parliament. could it be a 2-stage process? could they _ parliament. could it be a 2-stage process? could they have - parliament. could it be a 2-stage process? could they have a - process? could they have a referendum about wanting to have a referendum about wanting to have a referendum to see what sort of support they garnered there, and with that just serve as support they garnered there, and with thatjust serve as more political pressure on the westminster government but wouldn't change anything constitutionally? they haven't said in the road map what _ they haven't said in the road map what that— they haven't said in the road map what that referendum would look like if they— what that referendum would look like if they were doing it with plan b. presumably they could well be within the constitutional parliament but irrespective of what the question is all referenda in the uk would still need _ all referenda in the uk would still need the — all referenda in the uk would still need the consent of those on the