this is bbc news. the headlines — this fictional party was a business meeting, and it was not socially distanced. the prime minister apologises and promises an invesitgation after a video emerges showing former senior members of his team laughing about a downing street christmas party. i can understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules, mr speaker, because i was also furious to see that clip. millions of people now i think the prime minister was taking them for fools. and that they were lied to. they're right, aren't they?
it was not socially distanced! and allegra stratton, who led that mock downing street press briefing, has quit as the prime minister's adviser. to all of you who lost loved ones, who endured intolerable loneliness and who struggled with your businesses, i am truly sorry. and this afternoon, i am offering my resignation to the prime minister. the government's facing criticism from members of the public. igoto i go to problems on a daily basis where i need to follow these rules and these are downing street had been having a whale of a time. a warning from the government's scientific advisers — hospitalisations caused by the omicron variant may reach 1000 a day in england by end of the year unless extra restrictions are put in place. meanwhile, the coronavirus booster vaccine campaign gets ramped up even further. now anyone over a0 in england can book theirjab. the new face of germany — 0laf scholz is sworn in as chancellor as angela merkel
bows out after 16 years in office. in the past few minutes it's been confirmed that borisjohnson will lead a downing street press conference at 6pm tonight. this afternoon — his adviser allegra stratton has resigned — after a video was broadcast showing her and other members of the prime minister's staffjoking about a christmas party last year at number 10 downing street in the middle of the coronavirus lockdown. mrjohnson has apologised for a video — obtained by itv news — and ordered an investigation into whether government rules on socal gatherings were broken. it follows a week of denials
from the government that such a party had taken place. at the event, guests are reported to have enjoyed cheese and wine, and taken part in a secret santa and party games.(ani)london had moved into tier 3 restrictions that meant indoor social gatherings were banned, and only six people could meet in outdoor public spaces,government guidance specifically banned work christmas lunches or parties. number 10 still insists that no party took place — and all rules were followed. it comes as whitehall sources told the bbc an announcement on tighter coronavirus restrictions could be imminent. allegra stratton made a statement earlier this afternoon — a warning there are flashing images from the start. i'm going to make a statement. you don't dot—mac the i'm going to make a statement. you don't dot—mac the british i'm going to make a statement. you don't dot—mac the british people i'm going to make a statement. you don't dot—mac the british people had made immense sacrifices in the ongoing battle against kevin 19 and i now feel that my leaked comments have become a distraction in that fight. my remarks seem to make light
of the rules. rules that people were doing everything to obey. that was never my intention. i regret those remarks for the rest of my days and i offer my profound apologies for the few at home for them. working in government is an immense privilege. i tried to do right by you all, to behave with civility and decency and acts to the high standards you expect of number ten, rightly expect of number ten. i will always be achieved what was achieved at cop 26 that glasgow and the progress that was made. the prime minister's leadership on climate change and nature will make it a lasting difference to the whole world. it has been an honour to play a part in that. i understand the anger and frustration that people feel and to all of you who lost loved ones, who endured intolerable loneliness and to struggle with your businesses, i am truly sorry and this afternoon i am truly sorry and this afternoon i am offering my resignation to the prime minister. thanks for your
time. , ., , ,, time. there will be a press conference _ time. there will be a press conference led _ time. there will be a press conference led by - time. there will be a press conference led by the - time. there will be a pressl conference led by the prime time. there will be a press - conference led by the prime minister at 6pm. borisjohnson has announced an investigation into the party held in downing street last christmas, saying he was "sickened" after seeing a video last night in which some of his senior officials joked about it. but at prime minister's questions, he continued to deny it had taken place. he apologised for any offence caused by the video, but denied anyone in downing street had broken any rules. i understand and share the anger up and down the country at seeing number 10 staff seeming to make light of lockdown measures. and i can understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules, mr speaker, because i was also furious to see that clip. and, mr speaker, i apologise... ..i apologise unreservedly for the offence that it has caused up and down country, and i apologise
for the impression that it gives. but i repeat, mr speaker, that i have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no party and that no covid—19 rules were broken, and that is what i have been repeatedly assured. but i have asked the cabinet secretary to establish all the facts and to report back as soon as possible. and, mr speaker, it goes without saying that if those rules were broken, then there will be disciplinary action for all those involved. the leader of the labour party, sir keir starmer, said the prime minister has been caught "red—handed" and called on him to end the investigation now and admit a party had been held. an internal investigation into what happened? the situation is clear as day.
i thought last week was bad enough. surely the prime minister is now not going to start pretending that the first he knew about this was last night. we have all watched the video of the prime minister's staff including his personal spokesperson. they knew there was a party and they knew it was against the rules and they knew that they thought it would be funny and it is obvious what happened. ant and dec are ahead of the prime minister on this. the prime minister has been caught red—handed. why doesn't he end the investigation right now by just admitting it? because, i have been repeatedly assured that no rules were broken.
and i understand public anxiety about this, and i understand public indignation, but there is a risk of doing a grave injustice to people who, frankly, were obeying the rules. that is why the cabinet secretary will be conducting an investigation and that is why there will be the requisite disciplinary action if necessary. leader of the scottish conservatives, douglas ross, says the cabinet secretary's investigation needs to be swift. something has come to light and clearly they have not given artists — answers that will satisfy the public and you can understand why opposition parties are raising questions and we can understand why the country is upset it happened and why the responses from downing street have been as they are for the last week or ten days. given what we know now,
do you think that boris johnson may have misled parliament over all of this? the prime minister was very clear last weekend and again this week that he does not believe there was a party. you think there was one? that is my reading of it. but crucially we have to find out through the cabinet secretary enquiry what happened and first of all why was a party even allowed in downing street? let's take that issue first when everyone else was telling people not to have these parties yet people in downing street thought they could, and what it means for the public trust going forward and what it means for the people who did make the sacrifices and did not see their friends and family over the christmas period and could not go into hospitals to see loved ones getting treated for covid or other ailments. these are the questions that people want to know about because they are angry about it and i share their anger. what do you think this is done for public trust? you can't say anything other than it has significantly dented public trust. we are asking the public to follow guidance and most of us followed the guidance to
the letter of the law, yet people in downing street it seems may not have done that. at the same time they seem to be urging the public to do the opposite of what they do. do they still have confidence in boris johnson as pro— minister because monkey is the leader of the conservative party and the prime minister of the united kingdom and i want to see the enquiry and see where we get with this. there is no doubt that this episode has dented the confidence in terms of the public following the guidance that the government are setting, and at a time when we need to get more people vaccinated, to get their boosters, to follow the guidance with the new 0micron variant, we need the confidence to be restored which is why we need the report very quickly. douglas ross, leading of the scottish conservatives. 0ur political correspondent jonathan blake is in downing street. people are drawing all sorts of conclusions from her decision to
hand in her resignation.- hand in her resignation. yes, i think, though. _ hand in her resignation. yes, i think, though, really, - hand in her resignation. yes, i think, though, really, it- hand in her resignation. yes, i think, though, really, it wouldj hand in her resignation. yes, i - think, though, really, it would have been really difficult for her to continue in a role in any way that was public facing or dealing with the media on a daily basis after the revelations of the last 2a hours or so in that footage of her hosting that mock briefing inside number nine downing st fielding questions on an event that may or may not have happened, it was potentially very damaging for the government as a whole and she clearly felt that she had no choice but to offer her resignation. we have had no official word that it has been accepted but i would expect it to be and we may well get words confirming that before too long. she has gone. there are others involved in everything and others who would have been at the party on the 18th of december and now an investigation is under way by the cabinet secretary there will be more details and at some point we can assume they will come to light. they have been tasked with
finding out the facts about what happened and the prime minister said in the house of commons today that if necessary there would be disciplinary measures to follow so maybe at some point if no one else chooses to resign although they may have no choice, they may be asked to eventually go. how have no choice, they may be asked to eventually 90-— eventually go. how much pressure is boris johnson _ eventually go. how much pressure is boris johnson beginning _ eventually go. how much pressure is boris johnson beginning to _ eventually go. how much pressure is boris johnson beginning to face - eventually go. how much pressure is boris johnson beginning to face from borisjohnson beginning to face from the same party? boris johnson beginning to face from the same party?— the same party? welcome he's been under a fair— the same party? welcome he's been under a fair bit _ the same party? welcome he's been under a fair bit of _ the same party? welcome he's been under a fair bit of pressure _ the same party? welcome he's been under a fair bit of pressure on - the same party? welcome he's been under a fair bit of pressure on this i under a fair bit of pressure on this but that really came to a head today. before prime ministers questions, when there was an exasperated, frustrated mood among conservative mps who were at their wits end, really, some of them, about how the government and prime minister have handled this in the last few days and weeks. they wanted him to say more than he had done already and they wanted him to attempt to do something to draw a line under it and i think that is what we saw from boris johnson today. a definite change in tone, expressing his apologies and his
anger and frustration at what has come to light in the last day or so in terms of that video of the mock briefing inside downing street. he was still, though, face political pressure from his opponents. ciaran starmer attempted to keep up the pressure saying he was taking the public for fools and could not say previously that he knew that new rules had been broken or that there was no party and say today he was asking for an investigation to find out the facts and as we find out others from other opposition parties saying the prime minister would resign. the pressure continues and although this investigation may help the government contain it for now, questions about what happened in downing street in about christmas last year will undoubtedly continue. we are expecting a press conference at 6pm led by the prime minister and also the chief medical officer for
england and the chief scientific adviser. also due to be with him. what can we expect, then? lots of suggestions that the day that there will be some kind of plan b, a strengthening of restrictions again? i think we can expect at this point further measures to be announced by the prime minister later on today. senior cabinet ministers have been meeting in downing street in the last couple of hours or so and the health secretary emerged along with others in response to questions about what may or may not be coming. it may be there as a statement to mps as well in the house of commons to confirm the measures but under plan b, the government's options are relatively limited, actually. it would involve the requirement to wear face masks and would involve the requirement to wearface masks and more would involve the requirement to wear face masks and more settings. asking more people to work from home as well and even the introduction of vaccine passports being required in some settings, too. all of those
measures are difficult for the government politically because there are plenty of conservative mps deeply uncomfortable with any more measures being imposed at any point and they want to have a debate on it and they want to have a debate on it and they want to have a debate on it and they will want to express their opinions but clearly the government is taking the new 0ma very seriously and at this point the measures announced a week or so ago need to be reviewed and to be strengthened and strengthened very soon. thank ou ve and strengthened very soon. thank you very much- _ thank you very much. as we've been hearing, relatives of people who died in the pandemic are among those to have expressed anger at the emergence of the video. 0ur correspondent tim muffett has been gauging reaction. political stories sometimes slip by unnoticed. what about this one? the government has set out guidelines rules and a lockdown, for them to then go and have a christmas party. when questioned about it, "business meeting". she's stuttering. this is the prime minister's
spokesperson talking. i work in construction and i go through problems on a daily basis where i have to follow these guideline rules and these lot are in downing street having a whale of a time. i am not very interested in it. ijust want to get on with my life. i am not really interested in what happened a year ago. i think it is a bad example _ of government, but they are humans, they won't be alone. many of the day's front pages make for pretty awkward reading for the government and amongst some who lost loved ones there is barely concealed fury. sarah lost her mother and brother to covid. seeing this video is just utterly sickening and it makes me feel so angry and upset over and above the upset we have already
gone through, we and many, many thousands of families across the country. it isjust despicable and unforgivable. by the time allegra stratton stood at that podium and laughed her way through that, my dad had the cpap mask put onto his face and the following five days he deteriorated and died on the 28th of december. as well as anger, there has also been mockery of the government's response. but they weren't celebrating. they didn't have a party. they categorically deny any suggestions that they had a party. and this fictional party definitely did not involve cheese and wine or a secret santa! evening, prime minister! for now! with ongoing concern about the omicron variant there is the possibility we could face more covid restrictions over the coming weeks and months. the big question is whether frustration about this story could affect people's willingness to obey any new rules.
i think it is disgusting. i cannot believe that the government is expecting people to follow rules that it is not willing to follow itself. is there a danger people will not follow rules if new rules are brought in? i think people will do what they think is best for themselves. was it technically a party in downing street or not? either way, it has left the government with an almighty hangover. tim muffett, bbc news. earlier, my colleague geeta guru—murthy spoke to rachel glennon, whose father caught covid—i9 whilst in hospital for cancer treatment and died soon after the alleged downing street christmas party. she says her father was let down by leaders who didn't lead by example. 0bviously, with the lead up to the loss of my dad's anniversary, on the 8th of december he went into hospital for treatment where he caught covid.
he was in hospital for two weeks and sadly passed away on the 22nd of december. 0bviously read the lead up to christmas on the anniversary of his death, it has been hard for the whole family, but seeing this news has deepened the shock and grief. whilst we were watching our loved one gasping for breath over face time, there was obviously a complete disregard for the rules and by those that were making them. and whilst we watched him pass away ever face time on the 22nd of december, allegra stratton was joking about the party. we cannot trust or believe anything that we are being told by the
government, as they continue to cover up and lie. we have all suffered and made sacrifices over the past two years, some more than others, but their staff laughing and joking about a cover—up of a christmas party shows a complete lack of respect for the british public and the people who have voted for them. it just. .. you know, it'sjust shocking to see the news over the past 12 hours and the reckless leadership and the cabinet ministers, the advisers following suit. it's just an example of setting out the rules and breaking them, what example does it set to society and why should anyone follow the rules that they are making? the prime minister is saying that as far
as he knows the rules were not broken, he said that in parliament again today, downing street are still saying there was no party. is that something you believe now? no, you can't believe it. it is there on the video. you can't believe anything they have been saying over the past year and the video consolidates the distrust i have, that they are continuously covering up and lying and over the last year more should have been done, more should have been done to protect those going into hospital. more should have been done to protect the nhs and more should be done now.
so do you think in terms of what happens now at the top of government, should the prime minister stay in his position? what would you say to him? he has offered his apology for the impression that was caused. i couldn't see my dad. my mum couldn't say goodbye... and people wear at parties that were making these rules. we lead by example in businesses, those at the top are those that lead us and it's the leadership and the cabinet ministers and the aids,
they will all to blame. they should have been leading by example and they weren't, because otherwise there would have been no party. briefly, yourfather, obviously very dear to you and your family, what would you like to say in his memory as a brief tribute, if i can ask you that? he was a kind man, he followed the rules. we all did as a family. and he wanted to do the best by everyone, so he followed the rules, as we were told, he followed the rules and he was a kind man at the beginning of his retirement who had still so much to do. he was let down by his government. let down because they didn't protect him and they didn't lead by example.
rachel, we are so sorry about what has happened to your family and your father, but thank you for your time. thank you. and confirmation that they'll be a downing street press conference lead by the prime minister. it will be at 6pm tonight — full coverage on the bbc news channel. the number of people needing hospital treatment from the 0micron variant may reach at least 1000 a day in england by the end of the year without extra restrictions being put in place, according to government advisers. the omicron variant has now been reported in 57 countries, and we expect that number to continue growing. certain features of omicron, including its global spread and large number of mutations,
suggest it could have a major impact on the course of the pandemic. exactly what that impact will be is still difficult to know. we are now starting to see a consistent picture of rapid increase in transmission, although for now the exact rate of increase relative to other variants remains difficult to quantify. in comparison to the beta variant, omicron is a much stronger
antibody escape variant. so based on this data, this data would predict that individuals who have received two vaccines, will most likely not have a significant prevention from infection or any type of disease. but we also know that these individuals will have memory t—cells as well as t—cell responses which are expected, which may prevent severe disease. our health correspondent jim reed is here. more data emerging of how good the vaccines are again something like a crown. we vaccines are again something like a crown. ~ . , , ., crown. we have the results of the first lab tests _ crown. we have the results of the first lab tests at _ crown. we have the results of the first lab tests at the _ crown. we have the results of the first lab tests at the moment - crown. we have the results of the first lab tests at the moment and | crown. we have the results of the i first lab tests at the moment and we have had three of all these results including from his company which is partnering with pfizer for that
visor vaccine. they are the biotechnology company which developed the technology behind it so what these teams are looking at is a specific part of your body's responds to an infection with k that all coronavirus at the moment and thatis all coronavirus at the moment and that is the antibody response so antibodies are sort of the first line of defence against any sort of infection and when you have a vaccine they essentially teach the body and theyjump in their and stop that virus getting into your salsa what these teams have been doing is looking at whether our current vaccines are protecting us well against 0ma crown as against previous versions of the miras and it is mixed news here. if you have two doses of a visor vaccine it is showing your antibody responses much leather and therefore might not protect you against an infection. it
still protect you against severe disease, needing hospitalisation. against that infection it is not as good but that positive thing is what you have a previous infection plus those two doses of a booster plus those two doses of a booster plus those two doses of a booster plus those two doses, the early lab tests are showing that boosts your antibody response and works quite well so taken as a whole think these results are actually pretty encouraging over the last 2a hours. you have seen some documents from the scientific advice as to the government about what might be thinking in terms of plan b. new restrictions.— thinking in terms of plan b. new restrictions. �* , ., ., restrictions. bees have come from sate, the restrictions. bees have come from sage. the group — restrictions. bees have come from sage. the group of— restrictions. bees have come from sage, the group of independent i sage, the group of independent scientists who have advised the government so they don't make these decisions about the government are reliant on them. when we saw the minutes from the meeting that the thing that the decision—makers are grappling with our hospitalisations.
possible hospitalisations from the emma crown variant. if it spreads more quickly that is one thing and it affects more people. the key thing is, do more people need to go into hospital? give the nhs be affected? the advisers have stressed the fact this is still very early date and they don't know exactly what is going to go on. they are to this stuff together but they are saying that they think the number of people needing hospital treatment from 0ma crown in the uk could reach 1000 a day in england if more restrictions and not put in place and then the concern is keep rising from there. they expect to have some kind of peak injanuary, they probably think, which is likely to be higher than the one 2000 and the cron admissions today that rules to slow these infection so if you compare what seeing at the moment. missing 700 a day and at that peak it was just short of 4000 ring then.
if you are getting sort of 2000 odd 0ma day plus potentially the six or 700 delta admissions you are getting not 1 700 delta admissions you are getting not1 million miles away from those numbers and that is the kind of thing the government is going to have to think about it they are considering putting in place these plan b restrictions. the considering putting in place these plan b restrictions.— plan b restrictions. the press conference — plan b restrictions. the press conference is _ plan b restrictions. the press conference is likely _ plan b restrictions. the press conference is likely to - plan b restrictions. the press conference is likely to touch l plan b restrictions. the press i conference is likely to touch on that and they will want to stay away from talk of christmas parties and tried to get us to learn something about antiviral drugs. what do they do and where got to? you about antiviral drugs. what do they do and where got to?— do and where got to? you are completely — do and where got to? you are completely right. _ do and where got to? you are completely right. the - do and where got to? you are - completely right. the questioning is going to be what went on last christmas and what the government would like us to talk about these new antiviral drugs. there was a lot of excitement about these and they were unanswered at these appeal that you take if you are infected with covid within five days of infection, you can take it home and you don't need to go into hospital and they will be reserved for vulnerable people like the elderly people in care homes. the idea is that then
cuts down your chance of having to go into hospital or dying from covid. now, there is one of these made by a company in the uk, initial trials were quite encouraging and they were cutting the risk of hospitalisation and death by 50%. later trial results are slightly less encouraging and that came down to 30% plus the other downside with these, you have to take them quite quickly after getting invited so ideally within three or five days. we are likely to hear more about the roll—out of these by the government at six. let's take a look at the latest covid figures for the uk. a further 51,342 covid infections have been recorded in the latest 24—hour period, as well as 161 deaths. that's those who've died within 28 days of a positive covid test. 81.1% of people aged 12 and over have received two
doses of a covid vaccine. 37% have received a booster or third dose. now it's time for a look at the weather with chris. that is looking quite lively. of course as the storm has taken centre stage over the last few days he has brought heavy wind and snow. this taken in northwest wales and right now we still have gusts of wind at 68 mph so it is very lively and will continue to be. those strong winds continue to be. those strong winds continue to be. those strong winds continue to feed in shower bans here and we have started to see some of those turned to sleep. not out of the question you could see a little bit of snow across the higher hills in wales. otherwise it showers continue overnight tonight and it is going to be cold with some frost for scotland and northern england with temperatures down to —3 in the cold response. tomorrow up have a bright
start of the day with a few patches of rain easing eastwards across scotland and northern england and then brightening up. the next band of rain comes in off the atlantic and his certificate because it will be dragging some milder air behind it. so towards the end of the day temperatures could reach 11 celsius towards south—westerly but still for many it is fairly chilly at 5—7 and thatis many it is fairly chilly at 5—7 and that is your weather. hello, this is bbc news with me, martine croxall. the headlines — after a video emerged showing members of his team laughing about the downing street christmas party? i can understand how infuriating it must be to think that the people who have been setting the rules have not been following the rules, mr speaker, because i was also furious to see that clip. millions of people now i think the prime minister
was taking them for fools. and that they were lied to. they're right, aren't they? this fictional party was a business meeting, and it was not socially distanced! and allegra stratton, who led that mock downing street press briefing, has quit as the prime minister's adviser. to all of you who lost loved ones, who endured intolerable loneliness and who struggled with your businesses, i am truly sorry. and this afternoon, i am offering my resignation to the prime minister. a warning from the government's scientific advisers — hospitalisations caused by the omicron variant may reach 1000 a day in england by end of the year unless extra restrictions are put in place. meanwhile, the coronavirus booster vaccine campaign gets ramped up even further. now anyone over 40 in england can book theirjab.
sport, and for a full round—up from the bbc sport centre, here's chetan. good evening. we start with cricket. it was another day to forget for england in australia as they were bowled out for 147 on the opening day of the first ashes test in brisbane. rory burns went with the first ball and joe root for a duck, too, as australia, led by pat cummins who took five wickets, had england dismissed before tea at the gabba. joe wilson was watching. # we are the army! # the barmy army!# no travelling fans permitted in australia, but if you were brave enough to support england and live in brisbane, well, hurry to your seats. you might miss it. the ashes start. and rory burns. ouch. yes, that was the first ball of the series, and it sure set the tone. dawid malan departed with england's score 11, so england's captain was in. england rely onjoe root. hundreds he made? nought.
australia's new captain, pat cummins, got rid of ben stokes. and straight after lunch, haseeb hameed, who had at least defied for 25. but now watch this. the ball suddenly flying to the boundary atjos buttler pace. he had a partnership with ollie pope, and in the crowd, appreciation. for the neutral supporter, at least it was getting competitive. for a bit. there was buttler gone for 39. england were all out forjust 147 after a fine catch. another one. a wicket for cummins, another one. his fifth, in fact. australia's captain walked off in a perfect world. from start to tea, his side had dominated. the weather ruled out the final session. england's bowlers with neither anderson nor broad selected, must be outstanding to stop the whole match slipping away on the second day. joe wilson, bbc news. tottenham manager antonio conte says
that eight players and five members of staff have tested positive for covid—19 at the club. spurs are scheduled to play at home against rennes in the europa conference league tomorrow night. uefa says it's monitoring the situation, but "the match is due to take place as scheduled". tottenham then play brighton on sunday in a premier league game which is believed to be under review. spurs manager antonio conte says it's a serious situation and talking about football at the moment feels impossible. everyone is a bit scared, also because i think everyone, we have family, and i have to take this risk, why? why? this is my question. today we had positives, and tomorrow, who? me? i don't know. olympic cyclist mark cavendish says
he was violently attacked by four armed men during a burglary at his home last month during which his wife and children were threatened at knifepoint. cavendish was at home recovering from two broken ribs and a collapsed lung from a cycling crash when the break—in happened. essex police say they're appealing for witnesses. a louis vuitton suitcase and two "high—value" watches were stolen. no arrests have yet been made. ryder cup winner thorbjorn olesen has been cleared of sexual assault on a british airways flight following his trial in london. the 31—year—old, who denied all charges, was accused of the offence on a transatlantic ba flight in july 2019. at aldersgate house nightingale court, he was also acquitted of assault by beating and being drunk on a flight. the prime minister says the uk will diplomatically boycott the beijing winter olympics next year over alleged human rights abuses in china. the games are due to be held there in february. it follows similar moves by the us and australia, who've confirmed
they won't be sending diplomats. that's all the sport for now. you can find more on all those stories on the bbc sport website. that's bbc.co.uk/sport. you spoil us, you really do, thank you. it's thought the cabinet is meeting to discuss whether to implement so—called plan b coronavirus restrictions to help control the spread of the omicron variant. covid passports and a recommendation to work from home are among the measures being considered. leaked minutes from yesterday's meeting of the government's scientific advisory group, sage, warn the number of people needing hospital treatment could reach at least 1000 a day in england by the end of the year if no extra restrictions are put in place. professor peter openshaw is an immunologist at imperial college london and a member of the uk vaccine network. he also sits on the
scientific advisory group for emergencies. joining me also now is dr sarah pitt, a virologist at the university of bristol. first of all, what do we know for certain about the nature of omicron. we know it is how mutated and there may be some strange emerging as well. a lot of the rest is what we can inferfrom well. a lot of the rest is what we can infer from that ligula sequencing. i think it is quite extraordinary we can predict so much about its behaviourjust from looking at the sequence of the virus. this is really space—age science, i'm afraid. virus. this is really space-age science, i'm afraid.— virus. this is really space-age science, i'm afraid. what more would ou like to science, i'm afraid. what more would you like to know _ science, i'm afraid. what more would you like to know about _ science, i'm afraid. what more would you like to know about it? _ science, i'm afraid. what more would you like to know about it? well, - science, i'm afraid. what more would you like to know about it? well, we l you like to know about it? well, we know that it — you like to know about it? well, we know that it looks _ you like to know about it? well, we know that it looks as _ you like to know about it? well, we know that it looks as though - you like to know about it? well, we know that it looks as though it - know that it looks as though it is more _ know that it looks as though it is more infectious even than the delta variant— more infectious even than the delta variant and — more infectious even than the delta variant and that possibly at the lime _ variant and that possibly at the time between getting infected and
developing symptoms or certainly having _ developing symptoms or certainly having enough virus to pass on to other_ having enough virus to pass on to other people looks as though it might— other people looks as though it might be — other people looks as though it might be quite short, like be my 5—7 days, _ might be quite short, like be my 5—7 days, or— might be quite short, like be my 5—7 days, or s— might be quite short, like be my 5—7 days, or s with delta it was up to ten days — days, or s with delta it was up to ten days. so we would like to be clarifying — ten days. so we would like to be clarifying that. and we just also would _ clarifying that. and we just also would like to know what effect the virus is _ would like to know what effect the virus is having on people when it does _ virus is having on people when it does in — virus is having on people when it does in fact— virus is having on people when it does in fact them. so far the evidence _ does in fact them. so far the evidence looks as though this variant— evidence looks as though this variant is— evidence looks as though this variant is going to behave in people 'ust variant is going to behave in people just the _ variant is going to behave in people just the same as all the other variants — just the same as all the other variants but we don't know that for sure _ variants but we don't know that for sure. �* ., , variants but we don't know that for sure. . ., , i. variants but we don't know that for sure. . ., , ., , sure. amongst your colleagues, the scientist who _ sure. amongst your colleagues, the scientist who advised _ sure. amongst your colleagues, the scientist who advised the _ scientist who advised the government, how certain are you that there will be and we are going to seat restrictions brought back? well, i think we have to wait and see what government says, but clearly omicron is increasing very fast, the doubling time is 2—3 days at the moment. and i really do think that we do need to take measures
evenif that we do need to take measures even if it does turn out to cause a rather mild spectrum of disease. and is amenable to severity reduction in people who particularly have been triple vaccinated. it still could produce a very large surge in admissions to hospital because of the very large number of people it is liable to infect.— is liable to infect. bearing in mind what you've _ is liable to infect. bearing in mind what you've told _ is liable to infect. bearing in mind what you've told us _ is liable to infect. bearing in mind what you've told us about - is liable to infect. bearing in mind i what you've told us about omicron, what you've told us about omicron, what other measures do you think we might see? i what other measures do you think we miiht see? ., ~' what other measures do you think we miiht see? ., ~ ., , ., might see? i would like to see masks or face coverings _ might see? i would like to see masks or face coverings in _ might see? i would like to see masks or face coverings in all _ might see? i would like to see masks or face coverings in all enclosed - or face coverings in all enclosed public— or face coverings in all enclosed public spaces, including things like restaurants and pubs, so that when you are _ restaurants and pubs, so that when you are eating, honestly you take the mascot — you are eating, honestly you take the mascot but when you are moving around _ the mascot but when you are moving around the _ the mascot but when you are moving around the building, then you would keep it _ around the building, then you would keep it on _ around the building, then you would keep it on so it becomes a normal thing _ keep it on so it becomes a normal thing that— keep it on so it becomes a normal thing that we always do all the time when _ thing that we always do all the time when we _ thing that we always do all the time when we are out of the home. and also covid—19 passes have been used in other— also covid—19 passes have been used in other countries, and it was only
england _ in other countries, and it was only england in— in other countries, and it was only england in the uk where they are not being _ england in the uk where they are not being used — england in the uk where they are not being used. sol england in the uk where they are not being used. so i think that would be a good _ being used. so i think that would be a good editor bring those and because — a good editor bring those and because they do help persuade people to have _ because they do help persuade people to have the vaccine but they also -et to have the vaccine but they also get people who have been vaccinated and who _ get people who have been vaccinated and who are taking care confidence which _ and who are taking care confidence which when — and who are taking care confidence which when we are moving into a crowded — which when we are moving into a crowded area and potentially quite a lane crowded area and potentially quite a large number of people that the people — large number of people that the people around them are also doing whatever— people around them are also doing whatever they can to protect themselves against picking up the virus and — themselves against picking up the virus and passing it on. and working from _ virus and passing it on. and working from home — virus and passing it on. and working from home is— virus and passing it on. and working from home is also a good thing. where _ from home is also a good thing. where it— from home is also a good thing. where it is— from home is also a good thing. where it is possible for you to do that because itjust stops the chance — that because itjust stops the chance of you potentially having the virus but _ chance of you potentially having the virus but not having any symptoms or having _ virus but not having any symptoms or having very _ virus but not having any symptoms or having very mild symptoms and passing — having very mild symptoms and passing them on other people is reduced — passing them on other people is reduced if— passing them on other people is reduced if you are not going out and about— reduced if you are not going out and about a _ reduced if you are not going out and about a meeting people who are not in your— about a meeting people who are not in your normal household or social bubble _ in your normal household or social bubble too — in your normal household or social bubble too much. that in your normal household or social bubble too much.— in your normal household or social bubble too much. that brings us to the obvious — bubble too much. that brings us to the obvious question. _ bubble too much. that brings us to the obvious question. we - bubble too much. that brings us to the obvious question. we are - the obvious question. we are approaching christmas and people were hoping to be able to celebrate
a bit more than they were able to last year. how wise is it to get together and what sort of size group would be sensible? yes. together and what sort of size group would be sensible?— would be sensible? yes, that is a crucial question _ would be sensible? yes, that is a crucial question clearly. - would be sensible? yes, that is a crucial question clearly. many - crucial question clearly. many universities, imperial college included, are moving towards online meetings only where possible, and are going online in terms of teaching. it's been a huge effort to manage to teach a face to face so far, but with great regret we just don't think that it is safe and we are cancelling parties and other large celebrations. and i mentioned many other institutions and businesses are going to be doing the same. i think we do need to slow this down because we need high time for the vaccine roll—out to be even more extensive and for the vaccines to have an effect. it takes a couple of weeks for the immune system to respond to vaccination, and we are in the lucky privileged position in
wealthy countries that we can actually step up our vaccination campaign. that does not apply all or in the world, i'm afraid to.— in the world, i'm afraid to. doctor, ou are in the world, i'm afraid to. doctor, you are nodding — in the world, i'm afraid to. doctor, you are nodding vigorously - in the world, i'm afraid to. doctor, you are nodding vigorously in - you are nodding vigorously in agreement there will the professor. how large a gathering is too large because in the past we have benefited to only being able to go to restaurants with people with whom we are bobbled. are we in that territory? i we are bobbled. are we in that territo ? ., �* ~' we are bobbled. are we in that territory?— territory? i don't think we are there quite — territory? i don't think we are there quite yet _ territory? i don't think we are there quite yet but _ territory? i don't think we are there quite yet but we - territory? i don't think we are there quite yet but we might| territory? i don't think we are i there quite yet but we might be getting — there quite yet but we might be getting close to that and i would definitely suggest that your viewers reconsider their christmas plans so that if— reconsider their christmas plans so that if you — reconsider their christmas plans so that if you don't have 30—40 people all visiting _ that if you don't have 30—40 people all visiting one person for a family gathering — all visiting one person for a family gathering or for a party. i will suggest — gathering or for a party. i will suggest that if you are over the christmas — suggest that if you are over the christmas period actually staggering the parties that you are having or the parties that you are having or the gatherings that you are having and perhaps having smaller christmas dinners _ and perhaps having smaller christmas dinners with different members of your family,
dinners with different members of yourfamily, not dinners with different members of your family, not having everybody altogether the same time and also remembering that good ventilation is really— remembering that good ventilation is really important. so if you are going — really important. so if you are going to — really important. so if you are going to have windows open in your house. _ going to have windows open in your house, which you should do, then this is— house, which you should do, then this is designed to bring out your christmasjumpers and this is designed to bring out your christmas jumpers and try to make it into something festive as far as you possibly— into something festive as far as you possibly can, so not... i don't possibly can, so not... idon't think— possibly can, so not... i don't think we _ possibly can, so not... i don't think we should not meet up at all but we _ think we should not meet up at all but we should just meet up and be a bit more _ but we should just meet up and be a bit more careful than you are perhaps— bit more careful than you are perhaps considering a couple of weeks — perhaps considering a couple of weeks ago, just understand that it's a very— weeks ago, just understand that it's a very nasty, very infectious virus and there — a very nasty, very infectious virus and there is— a very nasty, very infectious virus and there is of cases out there at the moment. and there is of cases out there at the moment-— the moment. you mentioned the vaccines, the moment. you mentioned the vaccines. now — the moment. you mentioned the vaccines, now being _ the moment. you mentioned the vaccines, now being offered - the moment. you mentioned the vaccines, now being offered to l vaccines, now being offered to the over 40s, does the age limit... does it need to come down? bond over 40s, does the age limit. .. does it need to come down?— it need to come down? and the ractical it need to come down? and the practical matter, _ it need to come down? and the practical matter, quickly - it need to come down? and the practical matter, quickly get. practical matter, quickly get vaccines into the arms and logistics are vital at the moment. there are quite large stocks of vaccine in the uk. you know, we are very lucky that
thatis uk. you know, we are very lucky that that is the case or what we planned it very well for that to be the case. i think the other thing i want to say is we must not be waiting and counting on these antivirus which have been much talk about. how to use those antivirals is not quite clear. probably willjust be people at very high risk and they had to be given earlier than disease and probably in the setting of clinical trial i would say. so get vaccinated and get vaccinated often is really the message. and get vaccinated often is really the message-— and get vaccinated often is really the messaie. ., ., ., the message. professor and doctor, thank ou the message. professor and doctor, thank you both _ the message. professor and doctor, thank you both very _ the message. professor and doctor, thank you both very much _ the message. professor and doctor, thank you both very much for- the message. professor and doctor, thank you both very much for your i thank you both very much for your time. germany's olaf scholz, the leader of the social democrat party, has been sworn in as the successor to angela merkel. he's only the fourth chancellor in nearly 40 years and will lead a three—party coalition with the greens and the liberal free democrats. this also means it's the end of the merkel era. earlier, the outgoing chancellor made herfinal speech in the chancellery and was presented
with flowers by mr scholz as she formally handed over power. our correspondent damien mcguinness has been following events in berlin. frau dr angela merkel... after 16 years in office, angela merkel is no longer germany's leader. she's the first chancellor in modern germany to voluntarily give up power. it's the end of one era and the beginning of another. calm, fact—driven, seemingly unflappable. .. ..germany�*s new chancellor, olaf scholz, is similar in style to angela merkel, but unlike mrs merkel, he's not a conservative. for the first time in more than a decade and a half, germany is getting a left—wing chancellor. he says he will bring in a fairer society, a higher minimum wage, a lower voting age and more rights for minorities.
angela merkel has cleared out her desk in the chancellor's office, all ready for the new chancellor, olaf scholz, to move in. but there's little time for him to celebrate. germany is facing huge challenges. most importantly among them — the pandemic. it's being described here as a national crisis. germany is seeing record high infection rates. restrictions mean that unvaccinated people are now excluded from most leisure activities. and they have to get a daily test to go to work or use public transport. next year, germany could also introduce what politician said would never happen, a compulsory covid vaccine. there are fears this could spark further protests and divide society. there are also difficult foreign policy questions, including how to deal with russia and china.
germany's new leaders say this is a fresh start to modernise the country. given the tough challenges ahead, they'll need to hang on to that optimism. a mobile phone signal and access to high speed broadband are something that most of us take for granted, but in rural areas across the uk, it's something that many can only dream of. the rise of home—working and distance—learning during the pandemic has put even more pressure on communities already struggling with connectivity. our correspondent danny savage reports from coverdale in north yorkshire. in this picturesque part of yorkshire, the quality of life is rich. but technologically, it's poor. it is a problem. we have a lot of complaints from customers. at this smart restaurant and wedding venue, they struggle with one modern facility nearly everyone expects. there's no mobile phone signal. probably the biggest
reaction is a walk—out. where somebody booked a cottage for a whole weekend, they were up here, they were also doing work as well as wanting to phone their loved ones, and theyjust couldn't do it. so, they just sort of threw the keys and left, unfortunately. no, nothing at all. here, to get a mobile phone signal, leo has to drive to the top of a nearby hill. the problem is i might be doing this four, five times a day, and especially now with the new things about the banks where you have to get a text message and come out and everything, it's becoming a lot more often. and this isn't a small not—spot for phone signal, it lasts for more than 12 miles, which can take about 40 minutes driving down these country lanes. visiting and need to make a call? well, then you might need one of these. but things are about to change. a 5g mast will soon be switched on, giving wireless broadband to the homes scattered through this dale. how slow is the broadband here? very slow! sarah tries to work from home online. a 5g signal will make a huge difference. it's infuriating. we pay the same amount as people in cities, and we get _
an absolutely terrible service. we live in a beautiful place, j but it's very difficult to work in that beautiful place - with the speeds that we have. her partner tim will get a mobile 5g receiver so he can get coverage outside, too, immediately improving farm safety. if there's an accident, it's extra minutes, isn't it, to try and get emergency services here. we'd have to run down home or take a vehicle down home and ring from the house. and you know, time's lives, isn't it? i can't enjoy what other people enjoy and take for granted. sam is 22. he hopes better connectivity will see people stay and live here. it probably would influence maybe not young people, but families to move back. and that would have a knock—on effect and make their children hopefully stay in the dale and start their own business or want to work from home like i want to do. after the imminent 5g switch—on,
mobile phone coverage is planned to follow, bringing this ancient dale into the 21st century. danny savage, bbc news, coverdale. the artist willard wigan is best known for creating tiny works of art, often displayed in the eye of a needle or on the head of a pin. they are so minute that they can only been seen through a miscroscope. during a motivational talk for school children, willard described his autism as a blessing and said it had inspired his success. joanne writtle was watching. you know, there's a saying, the best things come in small packages. little things mean a lot. willard wigan's become world famous for his minuscule works of art which can sit in the head of a needle. even the queen has a tiny crown at buckingham palace. but what many people don't know is that he's autistic, and it's something he spoke to children at st george's school edgbaston about. scientists can't explain my work. they say, "oh, it's impossible. how can a human being do this? how can a human being do that?"
the world needs to understand that autism hasn't been properly uncovered. they've only uncovered some of it. i was quite surprised cos of what he's come from. i have autism, too, and i was surprised that he still kept on going. he made me feel like i could do more than i think i could. _ because he's overcome quite a lot, and as someone who has _ dyslexia, i know what it's like to face hard things. i so, now, it made me feel like i can actually overcome problems. - willard was brought up in wolverhampton and now lives in birmingham. his autism wasn't diagnosed until he was 50, but his late mum zetta recognised his difference and remains his inspiration to this day. one time i carved a little bird perched on the point of a toothpick. she said, "it's too big." so, you know, then i started to say to myself, "well, if i don't make it real small, my mum won't appreciate it."
my mum would always say "the diamonds in the dustbin", meaning people would throw them into a bin and not realise what's in there until they take the lid off and realise they've thrown a diamond in there. and that's what autistic people are, they're diamonds. the techniques he uses are fascinating. he also has a photographic memory. to create this type of artwork, i have to slow down my breathing. i have to work in between my heartbeat. i have to make sure the pulse on my finger doesn't cause any problem. because when you're working on this microscopic level, you have external forces that interfere with your work. i have to avoid that by working at night to avoid any traffic vibration or anything like that. it's like trying to put a pin through a bubble without bursting the bubble. willard's work, ranging from a dragon to the boxer tyson fury, can be seen at birmingham contemporary art gallery. the exhibition here opened four months ago and is now on permanent display. willard's described it as his gift to his home city. joanne writtle, bbc news.
ina in a moment, we have the bbc news at six from salford. now it's time for the weather with chris. thank you very much. the weather from barra flexing its muscles over the last couple of days bringing heavy wind and upland snow. here in northwest wells large battering waves hitting the coast at the moment we still have gus running into the 60 mph across western wales. that is where the winds are strongest when they were, slowly overnight. the radar picture shows a couple of bands of rain stretching across northern ireland into the northwest of england and wales and for the last hour some has turned justly over the high ground in wales and not out of the question we could see a bit of snow but pretty high up. probably about three to meters elevation or so. overnight it turns chilli across northern england and scotland, cold enough for patches of frost with the lowest temperatures
down to minus three degrees. tomorrow morning, could be an odd spot of rain across parts of scotland and northern england for a time within the weather brightens for most of us with some sunshine ahead of the next band of rain that is coming in off the atlantic. this band of rain, what follows is milder air, so across the south of wales, and it is southwest england late in the day, the temperatures rise to as high as 11 in plymouth but for most it is chillier than that, around 6-7, it is chillier than that, around 6—7, similarto it is chillier than that, around 6—7, similar to what we have had over recent days. that milder air does not last, moving away into europe from the weather system but left with what westerly winds for friday bringing a renewed chill. they will be quite a blustery kind of depth, a day of sunshine and showers and although many of the showers and although many of the showers on this chart across northern west of the uk, actually they will move well england chemically across northwest england, the midlands and northern wales as well. temperature is around 5—7 in the north and maybe nine for the south of wales and southwest england. looking at the weather
picture into the weekend, we have got another area of low pressure moving in bringing rain back into western areas of the uk, and a little ridge keeping what it settled ahead of that feature and could be if you missed and fought patches starting the day. what you will notice is eventually we will start to get south westerly winds moving in across the uk this weekend, and thatis in across the uk this weekend, and that is going to really change our weather. it is going to turn much milder, with highs of 11 or 12 across western areas and for all of us, those two pictures reaching double figures for this and you have the weekend with highs of 13 in cardiff and london. the weather stays quite chilly over the next few days, the winds from barra slowly ease but then this weekend it turns significant with mild temperatures pushing back a double figures. that's less weather, bye for now.
today at six... the fallout continues, after that downing street video appearing to make fun of a party during lockdown. the video, dating from a year ago, has brought calls for borisjohnson's resignation, but he still claims the party didn't happen. iapologise... i apologise unreservedly for the offence that it has caused up and down the country, and i apologise for the impression that it gives. millions of people now i think the prime minister was taking them for fools, | and that they were lied to.