this is bbc news. the prime minister's scientific advisers will brief him today on the spread of coronavirus over christmas as he decides whether to impose more restrictions in england before the new year. in scotland and northern ireland, further measures come into force today for pubs, bars and cafes. warnings the government isn't doing enough to help people deal with sharp increases in the price of gas and electricity. police apologise to the family of former premier league footballer dalian atkinson, who died from injuries he suffered while being arrested five years ago. the national trust warn some landscapes in the uk could be altered forever due to extreme weather conditions. and england's hopes of an ashes comeback are fading rapidly, after a dramatic second day
of the third test in melbourne. hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. borisjohnson is being briefed today on the latest covid data as he considers whether to impose additional restrictions in england before the new year. the prime minister will hear how fast the omicron variant is spreading and whether the nhs is coming under unsustainable pressure, even though omicron is now thought to be milder than previous variants. meanwhile in scotland, new rules are in force. from boxing day in scotland, indoor and outdoor events have new limits, and as of today,
pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and gyms will have to ensure a one metre distance between groups of people. groups of people meeting will be limited to three households. and table service will be required in hospitality venues offering alcohol. in wales, new restrictions from boxing day mean that no more than six people can meet at pubs, cinemas and restaurants. outdoor events are limited to 50 people, and there is a maximum capacity of 30 for indoor events, including in private homes. two—metre social distancing is also required in offices and public places. nightclubs have also had to close. and from boxing day in northern ireland, nightclubs must remain closed and indoor standing events are banned. then from today, pubs, cafes and restaurants will have to provide table service only, while no more than six people from different households will be allowed to sit together. our political correspondent
ione wells explained what we might hear from the government today about england restrictions. this is his first meeting on that data in england since christmas. we are used to having these daily updates of cases, hospitalisations, deaths in the uk, so borisjohnson meets today with sir patrick vallance and professor chris whitty to get a picture of what the data is looking like and the key thing he is looking at will be hospitalisations. as we know, further restrictions have been introduced in other parts of the uk. in england, cabinet ministers have been holding tight and this is because ministers have really been wanting to see real—time data on hospitalisations, notjust models about what they could look like in future but evidence that they are starting to rise to a level they believe willjustify introducing further restrictions in england. is there a changing political climate within the government, the conservative party, in the sense we have seen perhaps
increased scepticism on the tory backbenches and amongst some cabinet ministers about restrictions and the need for restrictions and scepticism about the science as well, sometimes? that's right. i think there is a political part to the story that needs to be reflected. certainly, as you say, several sources in government have acknowledged any further restrictions that could be needed for england would politically be very tricky to get through. firstly, there's the issue of mps, remember when the uk government tried to pass the introduction of covid passes in england, that was met with fierce resistance from backbench mps with the biggest backbench rebellion since borisjohnson has been prime minister, so that's something he will be keen to avoid again. there's definitely disagreement in cabinet, at the moment from the last cabinet meetings that took place, the majority wanted to hold off until there was further data but some are saying there would be vocal opposition within cabinet itself were any further restrictions introduced. and there are some in government
pointing to concerns about compliance from the public, particularly those triple jabbed, and how easy or not it would be to try and convince people in that situation to live with further restrictions going forward. at the moment number ten has not ruled anything out and are keen to stress this is not necessarily a crunch meeting today, just a regular data update but everything is kept under review and i think at the moment ministers are keen to hold tight until they think they can justify it. we've just been hearing the cabinet office mr stephen barclay will be chairing a meeting on workplace resilience today as well as the regular briefing the prime minister will be getting. before christmas he was having these meetings on staff resilience daily to get an update from different departments and they will —— they last met four days ago. we will update you on those various briefings today when we get them.
let's take a closer look at the covid rules and restrictions in scotland and let's hear from our correspondent in scotland, who sent us this update. it's all about hospitality and indoor public venues. that means pubs, restaurants, theatres, museums and even gyms will have to have one metre spacing between each group. groups can contain no more than three households and where alcohol is served, table service will be required so you can imagine the knock—on effect there on pubs will be felt greatly because there can be no more drinking at the bar. nightclubs also will be shut unless of course they can use distancing and table service and operate essentially as a pub. the scottish government has provided extra money, £375 million worth of money to try and help businesses mitigate these
circumstances but this has hit the hospitality industry hard. over the weeks i have spoken to businesses who say further restrictions will not make an awful lot of difference because their businesses have been damaged over the festive period anyway because people are voting with their feet about restrictions. new restrictions on outside events came in yesterday, that's limited to 500 people outdoors and indoors, 200 people if they are seated, 100 people if standing, you can imagine the impact is going to be on big events like hogmanay which has really effectively been cancelled in terms of public events this year. the scottish premiership has now decided to take its winter break early because they would rather not be playing to empty stadia. restrictions are reviewed here every three weeks. the next date for the diary for checking will be the 11th of january.
and louise cullen gave us the situation in northern ireland. it's going back to table service in pubs, cafes and restaurants and at those tables it's back to the rule of six, six people from no more than six households can group together, it's a mix of regulations and recommendations here, the rule of six and table service, that is a regulation, another regulation is no dancing in hospitality venues but none of that applies to weddings or civil service partnerships. there are also recommendations that people should work from home where possible and when mixing in a private household, there should be no more than three households involved. there are changes to the laws around face coverings, some exemptions removed, for example, one where wearing a facemask causes severe stress,
that is gone, the onus is on the individual to prove any medical exemption. let's now speak to professor alison leary, chair of healthcare and workforce modelling, london south bank university. thanks much for being with us. i think we saw something like 12% of staff in the nhs absent last week. that is a pretty high figure, presumably, compared to what we might call normal times. are you worried those absences and shortages are just going to get progressively worse? i are just going to get progressively worse? ~ ., �* , are just going to get progressively worse? ~ . �*, ., ., worse? i think that's the ma'or concern, yes. we've i worse? i think that's the ma'or concern, yes. we've seen i worse? i think that's the major concern, yes. we've seen an . concern, yes. we've seen an increase, staff absence is usually around 5% depending on the group and it appears to be going up fairly quickly. in terms of omicron, which is a
rapidly spreading in london and the south of england in particular, what impact is that having? in south of england in particular, what impact is that having?— south of england in particular, what impact is that having? in london we are seeinu impact is that having? in london we are seeing quite _ impact is that having? in london we are seeing quite high _ impact is that having? in london we are seeing quite high and _ impact is that having? in london we are seeing quite high and sharp - are seeing quite high and sharp increases in absences. notjust people being off sick with covid, or symptoms of covid but also people isolating, that is impacting all sectors of health care, not only acute hospitals but also community services and social care, to a degree, as well. you have a health service but is dealing with higher numbers of hospitalisations but also —— fewer — — fewer staff —— fewer staff and some of those staff are off for quite a long time with long covid. that's right, one thing we are currently modelling is that long—term impact. there is quite a lot of focus, and rightly so, on staff shortages during surges, when there is a big increase in demand
but we also to think now about the increase in covid related issues, things like long covid and the critically mental health impact. we sought mental health absences rise quite considerably over the past two years during the pandemic. how do you think generally, may it's hard to answer, how is the nhs coping with these shortages of staff? it was already, even before covid, it had a huge number of staff that they needed to recruit, something like 100,000, i think. what has been the impact, on the health service? the what has been the impact, on the health service?— what has been the impact, on the health service? the impact has been fairly profound- _ health service? the impact has been fairly profound. certainly _ health service? the impact has been fairly profound. certainly what - health service? the impact has been fairly profound. certainly what we i fairly profound. certainly what we see is staff having to re—prioritise the care they give, we work with groups like district nurses and health visitors particularly and they are having to decide who and what kind of care they are going to give. and that's a problem because
they feel model distress, they get quite distressed about the fact they cannot give that care that extends to people in hospitals and all that the sector. that will have quite a big impact in terms of people's desire to stay within the service. so a problem with retention of staff as well? , . ., , , ., as well? very much. there has been a roblem as well? very much. there has been a problem with — as well? very much. there has been a problem with retention _ as well? very much. there has been a problem with retention for— as well? very much. there has been a problem with retention for a _ as well? very much. there has been a problem with retention for a number. problem with retention for a number of years now which is why we have such a big deficit in the health service. also, that deficit extends to social care. in the last six months we lost something like 26,000 people from social care. that is a really big problem, we very much need to focus on retaining staff and retaining that expertise. thank you very much, professor. chair of the health and workforce modelling at london south bank university. a hospital in israel will start administering a fourth shot
of the coronavirus vaccine on monday in a clinical trial to find out if a second boosterjab is safe and effective in containing the spread of covid. the trial in tel aviv will include about 150 healthcare workers who received their third shot no later than august this year. israel's health ministry has not yet decided whether to give the wider population a fourth dose of the vaccine. if approved, it will make israel the first country to administer a fourth shot to its citizens. in new york, from monday children aged 12 and up will have to show proof of full vaccination against coronavirus for indoor dining, entertainmentand many extra—curricular school activities. new york has also become the first us city to require vaccines for all private sector workers, with jabs already mandatory for state employees. some businesses have threatened to take legal action. indian authorities are to impose a night—time curfew
in delhi to try to contain a growing number of coronavirus cases. the restriction, which takes effect from monday evening, will last for six hours each night. delhi officially recorded 290 new omicron cases in the latest 24—hour period. the latest headlines on bbc news.... the prime minister's scientific advisers will brief him today on the spread of coronavirus over christmas, as he decides whether to impose more restrictions in england before the new year. in scotland and northern ireland, further measures come into force today for pubs, bars and cafes. warnings the government isn't doing enough to help people deal with sharp increases in the price of gas and electricity. sport, and it's time for a full
round—up from the bbc sport centre. with the latest on a terrible story for english cricket down under. england are in real trouble. they seem to have lost any chance of mounting a comeback in the crucial third ashes test. they're 2—0 down in the series and need a win to have any chance of regaining the urn. there was some hope earlier after they bowled australia out for 267, meaning they only had a lead of 82 runs, but the second innings have started badly for england's batters, losing four wickets for just 31 runs asjoe wilson reports. england's players were unsure for a while if they'd even be allowed in the ground. four covid cases amongst the support staff and their family. but after the tests, the test continued. and yes, england prospered. marnus labuschagne batting, ranked world number one, out for one. success for mark wood. and what about steve smith? well, here comes james anderson. he's got him, bowled him.
england quickly dismissed australia's most esteemed batters. hey, we're in this! maybe? marcus harris persevered for australia. not always pretty, but past 50. and that feeling of optimism, it was sneaking away from england. as so often, they needed anderson. captain's grateful hands and harris was gone. but a late flourish helped australia build their lead. when their innings finally ended, they were 82 runs ahead. and in the last hour, the true context of the day's play — england batting again, zak crawley out for five. the very next ball — dawid malan — lbw. haseeb hameed couldn't last. faint edge, he was gone. so jack leach was sent in to defend and defy. hm, 31 foi’ii. and australia will be back for more. joe wilson, bbc news.
and there's more disruption to the festive season fixture list, with two further premier league matches called off tomorrow. arsenal against wolves and leeds versus aston villa have both been postponed due to covid. there have already been calls from managers and players to pause fixtues because of depleated squads. chelsea played yesterday and face brighton on wednesday. head coach thomas tuchel thinks that while clubs are dealing with coronavirus, the schedule is unfair. we're just filling holes are where we can fill them and we play teams who don't play international duties, and we have the covid situation, normally five changes were invented because of covid and now we are in the middle of covid and some teams get their games postponed and some do not and we have three changes and this is a big disadvantage, and also in europe. just one game in the premier league
tonight, with newcastle at home to manchester united. it's the first time newcastle have found themselves in the relegation zone at christmas, and with just 10 points from 18 games, manager eddie howe knows they need to be better in the second half of the season if they want to get out of trouble. there are enough games and enough talent in the squad but we are aware that we cannot waste games, time is against us. if the opportunities are there, we have got to take them. every game we do not win it becomes harder and harder to achieve what we need to do. newcastle expected to be big spenders in the transfer window, which opens on saturday, but one move already looking like it's gone through is manchester city forward ferran torres to barcelona. the 21—year—old striker has arrived in the spanish city today for a medical ahead of a 55 million euro move. it comes just 18 months after torres left valencia for manchester city.
the build up to the welsh grand national is on the bbc sport website. that starts from ten to three this afternoon. but that is the sport for now. i will be back later. ben. the business secretary, kwasi kwarteng, is due to hold emergency talks with some of the uk's energy providers, who warned last week that household bills would rise by another 50% next year unless the treasury intervened. ahead of the meetings, the boss of the country's third largest supplier, ovo energy, told bbc news ministers were showing "nowhere near enough urgency", and needed to step in to protect customers. our business correspondent vishala sri pathma reports. it's been a constant worry for households for the past three months — rising prices of gas and electricity around the world have meant we've all been paying more to heat our homes and cook our meals. 26 energy companies have gone bust since september, and more casualties are expected
in the industry, as there's no sign of prices falling. our number—one ask going into the meeting is that the government and the regulator are taking the situation very seriously, and they're prepared to start taking action — not in the months to come, but in the days to come. because i think if we don't find a solution in the coming weeks, we're certainly going to be locking uk consumers into more and more expensive energy for years to come. labour is calling on the government to use money raised through higher—than—expected vat receipts to cut household bills. the party says higher energy and food prices have meant more vat being paid, so the extra money should be used to help people struggling with the higher cost of living. the government said they are regularly engaging with the industry, and are continuing to support those most in need. the energy price cap is expected to be on the agenda, as well —
it stops companies from passing rising costs onto their customers. the cap will be reviewed again in april, when bills could go up as much as 50%. not the good news families were hoping for this festive period — with many already struggling to keep the lights on. vishala sri—pathma, bbc news. joining me now is rob gross, a professor of energy policy at imperial college and director of the uk energy research centre. how far do you see prices going up in the next few months?— how far do you see prices going up in the next few months? prices will no in the next few months? prices will i o u . in the next few months? prices will .o u . -- in the next few months? prices will 90 up -- will _ in the next few months? prices will 90 up -- will not — in the next few months? prices will 90 up -- will not go _ in the next few months? prices will go up -- will not go up _ in the next few months? prices will| go up -- will not go up immediately go up —— will not go up immediately picks that might be because consumers are under the cap and that will not be reviewed until spring but when the cap is lifted prices will have to go up because we have seen unprecedented increases in the global price for gas and as you just reported in that your segment, we
use gas to generate electricity and we use a gas and almost all of our homes. although the price cap can help temporarily, you cannot put a domestic sticking plaster on a global problem. that is really what is underlying this. is that possible problem going to continue, long term, are we going to see continuing price rises and continuing spiralling of higher prices for gas and electricity? i would need a crystal ball. one thing we always know about oil and gas prices as they are very cyclical, boom and bust price cycle. prices go very high and then they collapse and go very high again. what we are seeing at the moment is an unprecedented increase in gas prices, separate from what is happening with oil, that is to do with geopolitics and also up—to—date with geopolitics and also up—to—date with the increasing demand for gas
we are seeing around the world for various reasons. gas will come back down, whether or not they are on an upward trend it's really difficult to say. in the meantime, what can the companies and the government be doing to help customers? we've been hearing from one company saying the government should do more to protect customers, did you agree with that? i think one of the things we ought to be thinking about, not in a very short term, but certainly as soon as we can, as at the failure that we've seen with energy efficiency improvement in homes because you don't need as much gas to start with and then what happens with the price will not affect you as much so that helps insulate you from those swings. there are various things the government could do any very short term, we heard about the possibility of vat cut but don't forget we only pay 5% vat on energy bills to the impact of that would be quite
limited. they could look at emergency bailouts for some of these companies. all of these are political decisions and all of these things will cost money for taxpayers or someone else. to be honest with you, and i note this is unwelcome news, there is not really a quick fix for this. we have to think about what the medium and long term and what the medium and long term and what we can do to protect ourselves from this kind of price volatility in the future. we had a situation with lots of energy companies offering cheaper prices and people could shop around and switch and now we have seen quite a few are going to the wall, are more going to go to the wall? what has happened, in the first instance is that some of the smaller and newer companies currently once effective at paying the market price for the energy and offering a deal to consumers, they really could not cope with what we have seen on the global market. i should stress again how unprecedented these increases are. and then the larger and more
medium—sized companies that would have bought that gas on the futures market and hedged against price increases, it is becoming more difficult for them as well. it is clearly unsustainable to go on with the situation where the price you are paying is going up and the price you are selling it to your customers is fixed or constrained. i cannot say for certain whether other companies will go to the wall but the conditions other that mean they very much could. rob, thank you very much. professor of energy policy at imperial college. thank you. less than half of our plastic waste is recycled — but a trial in denmark is tackling that problem using pioneering technology. adrienne murray went to take a look. early each morning, rubbish trucks are on the streets collecting binloads of household plastic. this is the start of its recycling journey.
it's then brought to this facility, ready to be sent for sorting. in europe, each person generates 35 kilos of waste plastic packaging a year. only 40% gets recycled. globally, it's much less. while plastics are useful, a lot of packaging is difficult to reuse, and most of it ends up in landfill or incinerated. a big problem is plastic pollution. and yet more resources get used making new plastic products. here in copenhagen, new technology is being trialled that could help boost recycling rates. it's part of an industry—led project called holygrail 2.0. what we're trying to do is really use intelligence that is embedded in the packaging, using the digital watermarks to revolutionise the way we sort or recycle plastics. more than 100,000 packaging samples are being sent along this line to a smart sorting machine.
each piece of packaging is printed or embossed with a digital watermark that's about the size of a postage stamp. it can barely be seen by the naked eye, but it's like having an invisible bar code stamped all over it. this identifies what it is. consumers can even use a smartphone app to find out more about the product, and how to recycle it. inside the machine, a high—resolution camera scans the digital watermarks. this tells a computer what the plastic is, and what it was used for. air jets accurately separate the items. that's important if we want to reuse it. the digital watermark is embossed... american firm digimarc has developed the watermark technology. today's technology is able to identify the type of plastic, but not necessarily whether it came from a food application or non—food application. with watermarks, you can precisely identify what it was. dozens of firms are taking parts — including big consumer brands
like nestle, unilever and pepsico. it's sorting very, very accurately. the question now is, will that yield the kind of recycling results at scale that we would need for this to become a commercially viable solution for the future? however, the amount of plastic we consume is growing. yes, we have to improve waste management and recycling. but overall, i mean, the world is drowning in plastic and plastic waste. we have to look more into, how can we prevent waste in the first place? the tech will be tested out further. that means hundreds of watermarked products will be on supermarket shelves in denmark, france and germany as soon as next year. adrienne murray, bbc news, copenhagen. a texas lawyer who won a landmark 1973 court ruling to make abortions legal across the us has died at the age of 76. sarah weddington had once said the case widely known as roe v wade — would be her epitaph.
her death comes as the supreme court appears poised to accept a mississippi law that would bar abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest. technological advances mean it may be possible to screen people for prostate cancer in the next five years, one of the uk's leading experts has said. around 50,000 people in the uk are told they have the disease each year and one in eight will be diagnosed in their lifetime. at present there is no national screening for the disease, however the institute of cancer research says that advances in genetics and mri imaging mean that a tailored programme may be possible in the next three to five years. detectives are investigating a video apparently made by a man arrested in the grounds of windsor castle on christmas morning. the 19—year—old was in possession of a crossbow when he was arrested. since then, he has been sectioned under the mental health act, and remains in the care
of medical professionals. now, the weather, with carol kirkwood. hello again. we've been watching some wet and windy weather sweeping in across the southwest this morning, moving steadily north eastwards and turning lighter and patchy in nature in doing so. we also have some showers across scotland on and off through the day but there will be some sunny spells developing here, as there will across northern ireland and northern england, especially cumbria. temperatures — six to about 12 degrees north to south. through this evening and overnight we've got the remnants of a weather front still producing a lot of cloud, some showers, some drizzle and we've got clear skies across parts of the highlands, meaning for you there could be a touch of frost and some mist and fog. but later in the night all this rain sweeps in across the central swathe of the uk and through the course of tomorrow what it's going to do is continue its journey, moving off in the direction of the north sea. any mist and fog in the highlands lifting quite quickly allowing some