tv BBC News at One BBC News December 21, 2021 1:00pm-1:31pm GMT
today at one, the chancellor announces a billion pound grant for the hospitality sector in the uk as the effects of covid bite ahead of christmas. it's part of a package of measures from rishi sunak as the government weighs tougher restrictions to combat the spread of the omicron variant. we've responded i think generously today, the grants we've outlined up to £6,000 are comparable to the grants we provided for hospitality businesses when they were completely closed earlier this year. a top scientist says there's still �*great uncertainty�* about the true impact of 0micron, and fresh data will dictate what the government does next. each of us can do a lot of things today that would make the chances of further restrictions lighter, and more data will be available tomorrow, today and tomorrow.
and i would act on those if transmission is rising still, and if hospitalisations are going up across the country. the world health organization is urging people around the globe to be extra careful when socialising this festive season. also on the programme... a whistleblower tells the bbc of the "neglect" of an autistic man detained in a specialist hopsital for more than 20 years. the biggest divorce settlement in an english court — the ruler of dubai must pay more than half a billion pounds to his ex—wife. and the monster millipede — eight feet long, discovered by chance in northumberland. coming up on the bbc news channel, no fans at sporting events in wales from boxing day as the welsh government tries to control the spread of the virus.
good afternoon and welcome to the bbc news at one. the chancellor, rishi sunak, has announced there'll be more than a billion pounds worth of financial support to help struggling businesses and the arts sector cope with the spread of the 0micron variant of coronavirus. after days of pressure from business leaders fearing some firms might not survive without help, the treasury says there'll support grants for hospitality companies in the uk and the reintroduction of a statutory sick pay rebate scheme for small and medium sized firms. there will also be an extra £30—million to support theatres and museums in england. the chancellor says he's "confident the measures will help hundreds of thousands of businesses and the millions of people they employ." here's our consumer affairs correspondent, colletta smith. with no customers and only a handful of shoppers, it doesn't feel like
the final countdown to christmas. but after days of pressure from businesses, the treasury has now announced financial support. firstly, we are announcing £1 billion in financial grant support which means eligible hospitality companies will be able to claim a cash grant up to £6,000. secondly we are providing £30 million to top up our successful cultural recovery fund to support institutions like theatres and museums and lastly, we are reintroducing our statutory sick pay rebate scheme so small and medium—sized companies can claim compensation from the government for the costs of sick pay for their employees. the costs of sick pay for their employees-_ the costs of sick pay for their emlo ees. �*, ., ., , employees. it's a generous package for some of— employees. it's a generous package for some of those _ employees. it's a generous package for some of those industries - employees. it's a generous package for some of those industries who i for some of those industries who have been struggling to pay bills with so many empty seats. restaurants, pubs and hotels have had a tidal wave of christmas cancellations, so this extra billion pounds is exactly what they have been asking for. we pounds is exactly what they have been asking for.— been asking for. we have had unprecedented _ been asking for. we have had unprecedented constructive i unprecedented constructive engagement and dialogue not only
with the chancellor but also with ministers across a range of government and i have been speaking to ministers daily and a number of times with the chancellor and treasury ministers so we have had unprecedented support from him and other ministers across government. theatres and museums are getting extra money as well. with hundreds of performances across theatres across the uk being cancelled because of covid issues, like this one, the industry will be really relieved to hear the chancellor making an announcement today about that 30 million funding for the culture sector in particular. with so many people off work sick right now, any small or medium—sized company should be able to get their hands on extra cash as a rebate to cover statutory sick pay. at shops and hairdressers will not be able to get extra funding being offered to hospitality and theatres. the phone rin . s, hospitality and theatres. the phone rinas, ou hospitality and theatres. the phone rings. you get _ hospitality and theatres. the phone rings, you get cancellations, - hospitality and theatres. the phone rings, you get cancellations, whenl rings, you get cancellations, when you have staff that have gone home with covid, we've had two of those, that's ten days worth of clients and
you cannot accommodate them. you could lose them, they could go elsewhere, we still have to keep on paying out, it's really tough, i have sleepless nights, i assure you. juggling those bills with more customers bailing out of appointments, it's feeling like a very close shave. colletta smith, bbc news. borisjohnson says all options are being reviewed "hour by hour," but he's so far held back from any additional restrictions to combat the spread of the 0micron variant. our health correspondent, dominic hughes, now reports on what factors may help policy makers decide what to do next. the omicron variant has now spread across the uk. london is the epicentre of the slated covid wave, at least one london hospital trust has already announced the cancellation of some or much of its planned surgery injanuary, head of an expected covid surge. but so much remains unknown, there's still no
reliable data on infections and hospitalisations linked to omicron. it's spreading unbelievably fast, it is a phenomenal variant, transmission is eye watering lehi but there is great uncertainty. what is it going to lead to in terms of pressure on the health system? people going to hospital? people dying. but what impact is it going to have on the broader society, staff absences, the ability to have other services functioning. ﬁne staff absences, the ability to have other services functioning.- other services functioning. one of the big concerns _ other services functioning. one of the big concerns is _ other services functioning. one of the big concerns is what - other services functioning. one of the big concerns is what will - other services functioning. one of l the big concerns is what will happen when large numbers of nhs workers fall ill with the virus, sickness rates amongst london staff have already risen fast, there are warnings that it is notjust nhs staff getting sick that could have an impact. mil staff getting sick that could have an im act. �* ., staff getting sick that could have an imact. �* ., ., . an impact. all of our infrastructure de-ends an impact. all of our infrastructure depends on _ an impact. all of our infrastructure depends on people _ an impact. all of our infrastructure depends on people being - an impact. all of our infrastructure depends on people being able - an impact. all of our infrastructure depends on people being able to l an impact. all of our infrastructure . depends on people being able to work so if large numbers are off sick, suddenly there is a strain in all parts of the system. so that is the reason for doing everything we can to delay the spread of the infection and also to make sure we can reap
the benefit of the millions and millions of booster doses now being given. millions of booster doses now being civen. , millions of booster doses now being iiven, , ., , , millions of booster doses now being civen. , ., ,, ., millions of booster doses now being civen. , ., ., , given. getting 'abs into arms particularly_ given. getting jabs into arms particularly boosters - given. getting jabs into armsi particularly boosters remains given. getting jabs into arms l particularly boosters remains a priority. the last two weeks has seen a steady increase in the number of people getting boosters but health experts say other measures, masks, social distancing and hand hygiene remain as important as ever. it always seems hardest, darkest before the dawn is the old saying and i know this has been a really difficult time for all of us, absolutely all of us. but we are vaccinating the world. even the resource book countries that we were struggling to vaccinate, we are getting volumes and vaccines into arms so certainly do not cancel christmas, but have a careful christmas, but have a careful christmas so you can have notjust a happy new year but many happy new years! happy new year but many happy new ears! �* . ., , , happy new year but many happy new years! across the uk, policymakers see infections _ years! across the uk, policymakers see infections are _ years! across the uk, policymakers see infections are rocketing, - years! across the uk, policymakers see infections are rocketing, what l see infections are rocketing, what they need is more data on exactly what that means. and whether rules
need to be tightened now. dominic hughes, bbc news. 0ur political correspondent, iain watson, is at westminster. borisjohnson boris johnson held borisjohnson held back on pulling the trigger on work restrictions yesterday but are we any closer to knowing if tougher rules could come in affecting christmas?— in affecting christmas? clive, certainly downing _ in affecting christmas? clive, certainly downing street - in affecting christmas? clive, certainly downing street are| in affecting christmas? clive, i certainly downing street are not ruling out further restrictions before christmas. they are saying they are still looking at the data but cabinet members who are, shall we say, amongst the sort of more sceptical towards further restrictions certainly feel they will not be any restrictions imposed before christmas. they feel not reaching a decision yesterday was in effect reaching a decision not to impose restrictions before christmas. professor chris whitty, the chief medical officer and patrick vallance, the chief scientific adviser will brief mps tonight on the latest data but even if borisjohnson was convinced he
had to act he would face considerable resistance amongst members of his own party and around his cabinet table, powerful voices are saying you cannot close down large sections of the economy based on small amounts of data so they are pushing for more data on hospitalisations, the severity of the illness, this might not come until next week before any firm decisions are taken. the other side of this, there are some cabinet ministers saying hospitalisations are going up in london, we cannot wait too long before we act, there are warnings about sickness levels as we are hearing in the nhs and the health secretary, if clinically advisable, is trying to push down self isolation times from ten days until seven days so it's clear boris johnson... loss of sound iain, thank you. so that's the view from westminster, but what of the devolved administrations across the uk?
we'll get the latest from lorna gordon in glasgow and chris page in belfast, but first, let's hear from our wales correspondent tomos morgan who's in cardiff for us this afternoon. on friday, the welsh government announced from the 27th, night clubs would be close to an social distancing would be brought in in shops and businesses. to date the welsh government announced all spectator sports, indoor and outdoor and community games will be banned on boxing day. they have done that they say because they want to withhold the amount of mixing that can happen in stadiums and the wider area. there were big fixtures coming up area. there were big fixtures coming up over the festive period, they will not go ahead now with fans in stadiums, that will go on behind closed doors. the economy minister vaughan gething has also said today even though there are 600 omicron cases here in wales, by boxing day they anticipate that figure will be
close to the thousands and that is why they are bringing in these additional measures. he also says they are not ruling out further measures coming in after christmas, nothing more before christmas, although cabinet is meeting here in the building behind me to discuss what measures could be brought in on the hospitality sector after christmas. that's the situation in wales, let's cross over to glasgow to hear from wales, let's cross over to glasgow to hearfrom lorna gordon. the scottish cabinet has been meeting this morning to discuss next steps in dealing with covid in scotland, the bbc understands ministers have been looking at whether to introduce further restrictions on big events or indeed whether to cancel them altogether. i think the concerns are the type of events that rely on back—up from emergency services like the ambulance service or police and the ambulance service or police and the movement of people to and from these events and the queueing that might take place for them to get into the events. if changes are announced i think it could affect big sporting fixtures like football
matches and of course hogmanay street celebrations. the biggest of those new year parties is always in edinburgh. this year its plan for a reduced capacity of 30,000 people, all of them would have to present a lateral flow test before being allowed in. nicola sturgeon has already said in scotland that christmas gatherings can go ahead. she has asked people to limit gatherings in the run—up to saturday, to limit their meetings with other households as much as possible. as to whether further restrictions will come in, we will hear about that this afternoon when she speaks at holyrood just after 2 pm. that's the situation in scotland, but in northern ireland, chris page is in belfast for us. the message from the devolved government here in belfast is the severity of the covid restrictions which could be coming up here may well depend on how many people turn up to places
like this, the titanic exhibition centre in east belfast and its been transformed into a vaccination hall, just open this morning, it has a capacity of 4000 people every day and already several hundred people have been through the doors during just the last few hours. the health minister robin swann has said the boosterjab is the most effective weapon we have in the fight against omicron so the more people that do get their boosterjab, the more likelihood northern ireland will avoid the most restrictive regulations. the number of people in hospital with covid has fallen, it's the lowest it has been for quite a number of weeks. but there has been a warning from the health unions here today that their workers could they believe be facing their worst winter ever so there is still a huge degree of concern about the omicron variant stop it is not spreading as fast here yet as it is in the rest of the uk. the ministers of stormont are holding a significant meeting
tomorrow where they will be considering fresh restrictions. it's understood the thinking at the moment may be around new rules for the hospitality sector, perhaps not closing the sector but asking businesses to close early as has been the case in the irish republic but perhaps looking more at interaction between people and the likes of pubs and restaurants. clive. tomos, lorna and chris, thank you. the director general of the world health organization has urged caution amongst the public this festive season as omicron spreads around the globe. figures from america show it's now the dominant variant in the us, accounting for nearly three quarters of all new covid infections. president biden is due to make an announcement later on how he plans to combat the surge. here's mark lobel. texas was bracing itself for an omicron storm, now it reports what's believed to be the usa's first related death. look how quickly, over the past week in the states,
omicron, in purple here, has taken over the delta variant, represented in orange, in new cases. scientists warn against complacency. omicron is spreading significantly faster than the delta variant. and it's more likely that people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from covid—i9 could be infected or reinfected. two, one, happy new year! so with ten days until 2022, its dominance — including 90% of new cases here in new york — will no doubt feature injoe biden's stark warning for the country's unvaccinated in an address expected later on tuesday. chanting. but in boston, there is anger that only the vaccinated will soon be allowed to enter restaurants, and that compulsoryjabs for all city employees will be dished out.
in washington, it's indoor mask wearing that's back on the menu, like in california and new york. such is the spread of omicron, keeping the country's borders closed to southern africa is now looking fruitless. we likely are going to pull back on that pretty soon because we have enough infection in our own country. alarm bells are ringing across europe as the eu approves a fifth vaccine, this one from us firm novavax. the new german chancellor, visiting his italian counterpart, warns a booster campaign is not enough and more restrictions will be needed, even for the vaccinated. all as the head of the world health organization pushes for difficult decisions to be made sooner, with his blunt new message in the run—up to christmas, warning the world that an event cancelled is better than a life cancelled. mark lobel, bbc news.
researchers in south africa have warned that new variants of covid—i9 could emerge from people whose immune systems have already been weakened by other illnesses including hiv, tb and cancer treatment. scientists say more must be done, to help vaccinate those most at risk around the world. our africa correspondent andrew harding has more from johannesburg. in this crowded neighbourhood outside cape town, one in four adults is hiv positive. over the years, south africa has taken impressive steps to manage the epidemic, dispensing drugs that allow people to live healthy lives. but millions of people here, and indeed around the world, are not on hiv medication. there are lots of issues. some, they don't want to get tested. they don't want to know. i think it's the stigma around hiv. and that's a problem notjust
for them, but potentially for a world now battling a new covid pandemic. that's because people with untreated hiv have weakened immune systems. and if they catch covid too, then the new virus can linger inside them for months. your immune system would kick a virus out fairly quickly if fully functional. in somebody where immunity is suppressed, that virus may be able to continue for many months, replicating, you know, making more... mutating. mutating as it goes. scientists hunting for new covid variants here in south africa have already detected two cases of extensive mutations occurring in people with untreated hiv. but that's also happened a dozen times in other parts of the world. we see many mutations, which are raised to a very plausible explanation that individuals that are immune suppressed for many different reasons, yeah, could be...
could be basically a source of virus evolution. this is a delicate subject. many people living with hiv across africa already face stigma and scientists don't want to add to that. they point out that there are many other reasons why people's immune systems can be weakened, including malnutrition, cancer treatment, and diabetes. there's also concern here that while africa may be home to the world's biggest hiv epidemic, the continent should not be seen as a focal point for new covid variants. we've seen the five variants we've had right now. they come from four different continents. so this is... to scapegoat africa in a situation where variants have already risen in the other continents is simply outrageous. the answer, scientists say, is to speed up the rollout of covid vaccines in africa to prioritise
all those with weak immune systems and to make sure people with hiv are given all the support they need. andrew harding, bbc news, johannesburg. the time is 13:20. our top story this lunchtime... the chancellor announces a billion pound grant for the hospitality sector, as the effects of covid bite ahead of christmas. and coming up, millions of americans quit theirjobs in october alone — we hear why the pandemic, is making many people re—evaluate their lives. coming up on the bbc news channel: manchester city players phil foden and jack grealish have been warned about their behaviour by manager pep guardiola for attending a night out after a win over leeds earlier this month. a whistleblower has spoken to the bbc about the "neglect" of an autistic man, who's been detained in a specialist hospital for more than 20 years. last month, after a court
order was lifted allowing reporting of the case, it was revealed that tony hickmott, who's 44, had been held since 2001 after being sectioned under the mental health act. now a former carer has told bbc breakfast that tony was "fed and watered, almost like an animal" with only his basic needs being met. here's jayne mccubbin. i do believe tony was probably the loneliest person living in that hospital. i watched myself and staff become resigned to the fact that nothing was going to happen with tony. i love you. i love you, too, tony. last month we overturned a court order to tell you about tony hickmott, an autistic man detained under the mental health act 20 years ago, 100 miles from his brighton home. he has been in a secure hospital ever since. he's lived there longer now, than he's lived at home. what have they done to all of us as a family? they've destroyed us. watching that report
go out was this man. he got his basic needs met. he was fed almost like an animal. fed, watered, and cleaned. and beyond that... if anything happened beyond that, wonderful. if it didn't, then it was still ok. tony was taken care of. phil devine worked with tony between 2015 and late 2017, and he wants to tell his parents about their son's care. tony had very little on his ward. i mean, in terms of things to stimulate him, engage him or anything like it. i mean, what has he got in that room? a bed and a table. 0h, his only interaction - with anyone was that door. to knock and kick if. he wanted somebody. they said to us, "here is a care plan." and it wasn't a care plan. it was "at so—and—so time in the morning, tony will get his breakfast. at so—and—so time, get him dressed. at so—and—so time, make sure
he's got his bed made." etc, etc. that's just a daily schedule, but it's not a care plan. it'sjust detainment. i can only imagine what must go through tony's mind every day. asking himself, "why? why am i here? why am i locked in every day?" who do you love? mum. that's it. whose boy are you? mum. put yourthumb up. the huntercombe group, the company which ran the hospital, sold it on in 2020 and has ceased to exist. we contacted the current huntercombe group, but they told us they could not comment because they are a different legal entity and were not involved in tony's her. his local authority and nhs commissioners say they're working to create care that meets his needs in his community. and i really appreciate you coming down — speaking out. you want to make things better. tony has always stayed in my mind.
now�*s the time to shout about tony," to make his... to give him a voice. because he needs it. a little bit of redemption for myself to say, "yeah, he has a chance to actually step back in and do something that might result in a much more fulfilling life." phil devine ending that report, from jayne mccubbin. a man has pleaded not guilty to murdering the conservative mp sir david amess. ali harbi ali, who's 25 and from north london, is accused of the stabbing during a constitutency surgery in leigh—on—sea in essex, in october. at a hearing at the old bailey, he also denied preparing acts of terrorism. the date for his trial has been set for the 21st of march. rescuers reaching islands in the philippines that had been cut off by last week's devastating typhoon have discovered scores of bodies in some of the worst hit villages.
a bbc correspondent on the island of siargao described widespread devastation, with 90% of the buildings damaged, and a worrying lack of food and water. what's thought to be the largest divorce settlement in british legal history has been agreed. a high courtjudge has awarded around half a billion pounds to princess haya ofjordan in a long—running dispute with herformer husband, the ruler of dubai. the princess fled to britain with her children in 2019, saying she was in fear of her life. our security correspondent, frank gardner, is here. that is one hell of a settlement? it is record—breaking, the nearest thing was five years ago, there was a russian lady, this has surpassed that, it is i watering sums totalling around £554 million. half of that will go to princess haya's security and full compensation for houses she has lost by the end of her marriage, the other is going for
a guaranteed secure payment for the children but it includes things like pets, holidays, a nurse, a nanny, reinforced vehicles. what has come out during this trial is unusual into the secret goings—on of a middle eastern royal family, we have heard from the royal during this long—running custody battle has sheikh mohammed had implicitly or directly, according to the court, ordered the hacking of the phones here in the high court in britain, not in dubai, of princess haya, her legal team, not in dubai, of princess haya, her legalteam, hersecurity not in dubai, of princess haya, her legal team, her security team, not in dubai, of princess haya, her legalteam, hersecurity team, her legalteam, hersecurity team, her legalteam, hersecurity team, her legal team includes a member of the house of lords, baroness shackleton. the whole thing is pretty much finished, that is the end of it, sheikh mohammed has issued a statement saying he has only ever wished for the best for his children and does not wish to comment any further that she had said she will always be in fear of her life and
the church has pretty much said that it's true. he has denied anyhow and towards her. it's true. he has denied anyhow and towards her-— towards her. many thanks, frank gardner, towards her. many thanks, frank gardner. our— towards her. many thanks, frank gardner, our security _ towards her. many thanks, frank i gardner, our security corresponded. —— he has denied any harm towards her. the coronavirus pandemic has caused many people, to reassess their way of working and make a change. in america, where more than 1 in 30 employees quit theirjobs in september and october alone, economists are calling it the great resignation. our north america business correspondent, michelle fleury, has been to the state of kentucky, where workers are resigning at a particularly high rate. alex carter hit his breaking point last year. the former bank manager grew tired of dealing with bad behaviour from customers during the pandemic. attitudes of the people who come in and don't want to follow the rules and want to yell at you about why they don't feel they need to. you can only take so much of that. just take a second to prepare. alex started looking for a job that wasn't customer facing. that's actually a good note. he got an offer from a local manufacturing company here in kentucky. what's in the pipeline there? this was absolutely the best career move for me and my family.
and alex isn't alone. in october, more than four million americans quit theirjobs, part of a trend economists call the great resignation. you know, i couldn't be happier. and it's notjust millennials. with how things have worked out for me. i know it's going to work out the same for you. alex's dad is switching jobs too. i saw how happy alex was at stronghold and told him to keep his eyes open. it has been interesting for us. mike clark is an economist at gatton college of business and economics. according to him, the great resignation is also the great rotation as people take advantage of the tight labour market. it's not simply that. people are resigning. you know, when you look- at all the data, what we seem to be seeing is that people are turning over. - they're going to newjobs. and so it's more of. a turnover situation. josh hoff quit to start his own business, the former forklift driver recently launching bourbon city taxi service in bardstown, kentucky. i look forward to the day
versus dreading going into work, because i don't consider what i do work. while many people leftjobs for more money or more flexibility, josh's reasons were more personal. we thought my daughter had cancer at one point and i was at work. i couldn't leave and they were like, "oh, well, if you leave, you know, it's going to be a write up." and at that point, i was just like, you know what? i parked my forklift, got off. i said, do what you got to do — left. and then my grandmother passed, and then my grandfather, sorry. i'm sorry, i didn't mean to... i didn't get to go to my grandpa's funeral. surrounded by death and illness during the pandemic, josh, like many, started to feel that life was passing him by. i mean, how do you feel today? today, i feel liberated. there's so much more to life than a big house or having that career. as in many cultures, in america, a job is more thanjust a wage.
it is a source of self esteem and status. but the pandemic is altering this country's obsession with work, changing how some people think about life and work, and what they want out of both. michelle fleury, bbc news, kentucky. what's being described as the largest ever fossil of a giant millipede has been discovered by chance, on a beach in northumberland. analysis by cambridge university suggests the creature was more than eight feet long, and may have hunted other animals forfood around 326 million years ago. then, the north—east of england would have had a tropical climate. it was discovered by chance. we were out on the beach just looking around at the rocks, just a bit of a geological holiday, and as the sun was setting, we saw there was a boulder that had fallen from the cliff face, split down the middle. and then just looked inside and realised there was a big fossil there. so went back the following morning