this is bbc news broadcasting to viewers in the uk and around the globe. i'mjane i'm jane hill. our top stories: borisjohnson says up to 90% of those who are the most seriously ill with coronavirus in the uk have not had a booster vaccine and urges everyone to getjabbed. the overwhelming majority of people who are currently ending up in intensive care in our hospitals are people who are not boosted. nicola sturgeon rules out any further coronavirus restrictions in scotland, but continues to urge caution as cases rise further. record numbers of covid infections are recorded in the us and france, as the omicron variant continues to spread.
people in the uk are left waiting days for covid pcr testing following high demand — and pharmacists warn of patchy supplies of rapid test kits. we don't know when these are going to be available, so it's very difficult to plan and let our patients and people know in terms of when to come back and when it's going to be in the pharmacies. soaring energy bills, rising taxes and stagnant wages will leave millions of british families struggling in 2022 — according to a leading think tank. and after prayers and thanksgiving in soweto earlier, an interfaith memorial service for archbishop desmond tutu is being held in cape town.
hello and welcome to bbc news. borisjohnson has urged everyone in the uk to get their boosterjab. he says up to 90% of people currently in intensive care beds with covid had not received their third vaccine. the number of people in hospital in england with covid has risen to nearly 10,500. meanwhile, pharmacists in the uk are warning of patchy supplies of rapid covid tests. demand hasjumped recently, because people are being advised to test themselves before going to events or to see family and friends, and also because of changes allowing those with covid in england to end isolation after seven days as long as they test negative. the government says more kits are being made available. 0ur health correspondent catherine burns has more. hello. thank you for what you are doing. happy new year to you.
the prime minister has been out today, pushing one key part of his strategy. encouraging people to have their booster vaccine. i'm sorry to say this, but the overwhelming majority of people who are currently ending up in intensive care in our hospitals are people who are not boosted. just as the booster campaign has had to be ramped up to deal with rising case numbers, so too has testing. lateral flow tests have never been a more important part of plans to keep covid under control. we are being told to do them before going out to see friends and family. and if you add to that huge numbers of close contacts of people with covid doing daily tests, you get a lot of extra demand. but there is a warning — supply is not keeping up with that demand. the association of independent multiple pharmacies is calling this a huge problem. they have not had any here since christmas eve. it is notjust our pharmacy that is out of stock.
it's many, many more pharmacies. some customers are very understanding with it, but some are getting very angry about it as well, saying that "we have been told we need to test every day, so how are the tests not available?" good morning, do you have any lateral flow tests? no, i'm afraid we are completely out of stock. but what i would suggest is try to order them to your house. you can try to do that, order them online, but you might be told there are no more delivery slots available. i'm very disappointed, because i want to go out on new year's eve with my family, and obviously i'd rather be tested to know where i stand, rather than to go out without knowing where we stand. the uk health security agency says it is supplying millions of lateral flow test every day, and has doubled its delivery capacity. but that it's dealing with unprecedented demand. it is asking people to use any tests they already have before ordering more. another question for authorities here is whether or not to follow america's example. it has cut the isolation time
for people who test positive for covid, but don't have any symptoms, to five days. doing that could help the nhs deal with staff shortages caused by workers isolating due to covid. that number doubled in london in the week before christmas. i do understand the argument, but as i say, we believe it is the right thing to do at present, to stick with the self—isolation period as it currently is, so that is seven days, and as i say, we've onlyjust made the change to bring it down from ten, so we want to make sure that that is working as we would expect it to be. but that brings us back to lateral flow tests. for the system to work, there has to be enough of them to go around. labour says the government needs to get a grip and provide enough tests. catherine burns, bbc news. let's talk about those test kits, all important at the moment. i'm joined now by thorrun govind, from the royal pharmaceutical society. hello, thanks for your time. what
are all your members telling you, what are they saying about demand and supply? what are they saying about demand and su -l ? , ., what are they saying about demand andsu--l? , . what are they saying about demand andsu--l?, . , and supply? demand has been incredible. _ and supply? demand has been incredible, as _ and supply? demand has been incredible, as you _ and supply? demand has been incredible, as you can - and supply? demand has been| incredible, as you can imagine, people are really keen to socialised and have the christmas that we didn't have last year, but that means that our pharmacy teams are getting boxes of lateral flow tests in and they're heading straight out through the door again. what we really keen to make sure the people are aware of is that if they have generated that code on the nhs website, they are aware that we have not got a labelled box waiting specific for them and we are providing them as fast as they are coming into us, so we're really keen for the government to look at this and make sure that we are getting more supplies into the pharmacies, really. i more supplies into the pharmacies, reall . . , . more supplies into the pharmacies, reall . ., more supplies into the pharmacies, reall. ., ., really. i was what you say, what more can _ really. i was what you say, what more can the — really. i was what you say, what more can the government - really. i was what you say, what more can the government do, i really. i was what you say, what i more can the government do, but really. i was what you say, what - more can the government do, but you want... the tests are manufactured, as far as you are aware. is it a question of distribution? absolutely. from our point of view,
we are getting them out to the public as fast as we are getting them in, but what we are experiencing is the sum of the memos of the public are are directing their anger at pharmacy teams. pharmacy teams have been working incredibly hard over this festive period, there has been pharmacy provision truck the country, even when we have been on christmas and during boxing day, so what we really need to understand is that people are working really, really hard and they should not be having abuse directed at them. it is they should not be having abuse directed at them.— directed at them. it is really disappointing _ directed at them. it is really disappointing to _ directed at them. it is really disappointing to hear - directed at them. it is really disappointing to hear that i directed at them. it is really disappointing to hear that isj disappointing to hear that is happening, because there will be plenty of people watching this who have done that thing of trudging around to half a dozen different pharmacies to try and find a box, certainly in the run—up to christmas, and is not the pharmacists fault but they are not stashing away from themselves. so i don't know, what could you do? put up don't know, what could you do? put up signs saying, i am really sorry, we have run out today? i'm not sure
what your member is meant to say, really. what your member is meant to say, reall . �* , ., , what your member is meant to say, reall . �* , . , ., , really. but they have been doing is lettin: the really. but they have been doing is letting the public _ really. but they have been doing is letting the public know— really. but they have been doing is letting the public know when - really. but they have been doing is letting the public know when they l letting the public know when they have run out, but what we really need is a greater supply to our pharmacies. pharmacy teams are working incredibly hard and we are dealing just like everywhere else, where we have team members who are getting covid, and that's why we are really important, reinforcing that social distancing and mask wearing in the pharmacies, because we need our teams to stay well, so that they carry on distributing lateral flow tests when we get them straight out to the public. tests when we get them straight out to the public— to the public. yes, of course, and is it partly — to the public. yes, of course, and is it partly your — to the public. yes, of course, and is it partly your sense _ to the public. yes, of course, and is it partly your sense that - to the public. yes, of course, and is it partly your sense that the - is it partly your sense that the change in the self isolation rules has exacerbated this? it does not apply in every part of the uk, but in england, if you can prove your negative, you can end yourself isolation now after seven days, and that puts pressure on you.-
that puts pressure on you. there is definitely wider _ that puts pressure on you. there is definitely wider demand, _ that puts pressure on you. there is definitely wider demand, and - that puts pressure on you. there is definitely wider demand, and also | definitely wider demand, and also because the festive period, people have seen each other more perhaps they have in previous weeks, where some of us have been isolating to make sure that we did get the christmas day that we wanted, so i thick it is really key that we support our pharmacy teams, our health care teams, wherever the setting is. please know they are working extremely hard and this is not a short—term commitment, they've been committed to the public throughout this whole pandemic and before, so let's keep supporting them. �* ., i , thank you so much. —— thorrun govind, thank you so much. from the royal pharmaceutical society. latest figures from nhs england shows that a total of 10,462 people were in hospital with covid in england as of this morning, the figure is up by 916 on yesterday and is the highest figure since the beginning of march. 771 people are currently on a ventilator, a figure that
has stayed relatively unchanged throughout december. scotland's first minister, nicola sturgeon, has called on people to "exercise caution" after the nation reported another about 15,850 new infections were registered in the past 2a hours, but she said this had not yet resulted in an increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital. however, no changes are to be made to restrictions in scotland. ms sturgeon said curbs are expected to remain until 17 january. at this stage, our expectation is that they will be in force until the 17th of january. that means, for now, limits on the size of live public events, though private life events such as weddings are exempt. for indoor standing events, the limit is 100, for indoor seated events 200, and for outdoor events 500 seated or standing. i know some question the rationale for this,
so let me set it out again. firstly, the higher transmissibility of 0micron means that large gatherings have a much greater potential to become rapid super spreader events. second, there are transmission risks associated with travel to and from such events. and thirdly, they do place significant demands on emergency services such as the police and the ambulance service. scotland's first minister speaking in the last couple of hours. louise maclean, who is part of signature group, which owns more than 20 bars in scotland, said more economic support would be needed for hospitality if the situation continued. business over christmas was poor. we were between a0 and 50% behind where we needed to be, a shortfall in our turnover of between £250,000—£300,000. as we go looking forward to hogmanay,
our picture is pretty bleak. obviously we can't have parties together, three—household limit, but also we're really struggling with our staffing. we've got between 10—15% of our staff either have covid or are self—isolating, and so trying to build a plan is a bit likejust a big game of chess. you just don't know who's going to fall next. i'll talk about your staff in a moment. in terms of the public, what sort of enquiries are you getting? do you have any sense of how many supplies to buy in? you've got to plan, but i guess you're in a situation where people can cancel at the last minute. talk to us about some of that. that's exactly right. although we're confirming with people and asking people to confirm their numbers, people are doing lateral flows at the last minute and have no choice but to cancel. of that, they have all of our sympathies. we also have people who have booked
a big party, and now we kind of have to be the police and say, "how many households are you? it's a three—household limit." 0bviously, we've got no restrictions in england, we've got lots of restrictions in scotland, lots of restrictions in wales. i think people just don't quite know which website to look at to get the correct answer. i think there's a real issue with consumer confidence. if the first minister stands up and tells people to stay home, an awful lot of people in this country listen to her, which is absolutely fair enough, and i think customers are scared. i think consumer confidence is in its boots with the easier transmission of this virus. and what do you need to help, then, given everything you've described? is it simply a cash injection? what could any government do for you that would really help? reducing isolation to seven days. i personally had hoped that would have been brought in today. that would have been a game changerfor us. we've got four bars closed
because we don't have enough staff due to self—isolation. i could have got those four open, so that's disappointing massively. so that would be a game changer if it were safe to do so and if the data suggested it. to see that reduced to seven days would be fantastic. from now till the 17th of january, where we are being told to expect restrictions, without any more cash, without anyone else helping us with the wage bill and with such a fall in trade, we will definitely need some form of job protection scheme or some form of further government support. there's just not going to be the income to balance the books. louise maclean, talking about the hospitality situation in scotland. the united states has recorded its highest—ever seven—day average of new covid cases, according to a tracker maintained byjohns hopkins university. the moving average of new cases was more than 265,000 as of tuesday,
surpassing the previous peak reported nearly a year ago. meanwhile, in france, the country's health minister says more than 200,000 new covid—19 infections will be recorded today. it will be a national and european record — and it means two people in france are testing positive for the virus every second. to try and quell the rising numbers, the french government says people should work from home at least three days a week. 0ur correspondent hugh schofield has more. one of the remarkable things about this latest spike here, as elsewhere, it seems to me, is that the numbers are, you know, sort of stratospheric, but we haven't seen the complete panic and breakdown of health services which you might have expected, given that these numbers are so high. they're the biggest numbers since the start of the epidemic, as you say, tuesday, 180,000 daily cases, which is nearly double the 100,000 that we recorded at the end of last week, and every expectation that it'll go even higher.
the health minister spoke of there being 250,000, 300,000 cases a day by the middle ofjanuary. and yet, you know, there is not the same complete panic about the health system that there was. yes, they're worried, but, i mean, the hospitals are not overcrowded. i think there's about 3,000 in intensive care at the moment, which is going up, but still nowhere near critical levels. and i think the fact is that, you know, there's still some doubt and confusion about the real dangerousness of 0micron. people are worried about it, it is clearly extremely contagious, but the figures just aren't in yet from south africa, from the uk, which is a bit ahead of france, on what it all means for death rates, intensive care beds and so on. and in the meantime, we're all slightly in the dark and guessing. the optimistic scenario is that you have a very, very wide contagion with many, many, many people getting it, but not getting it too badly.
it's a gamble. that's what everyone hopes. but there's no reason at the moment to rule that as a possibility out. hugh schofield in france. the head of the world health organization has warned a tsunami of covid cases continue to spread widely around the world. tedros ghebreyesus said the 0micron and delta variants were continuing to put an enormous strain on global health care systems. delta and 0micron are twin threats that are driving up cases to record numbers, which again is leading to spikes in hospitalisations and deaths. i'm highly concerned that 0micron, being more transmissible, circulating at the same time as delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases. the latest from the who.
meanwhile, india is introducing stricter restrictions to try and limit the spread of 0micron. authorities in the capital, delhi, have put the city on yellow alert, imposing a 50% passenger limit on public transport which has resulted in long queues outside metro stations and bus stops. the city is also shutting gyms, schools and cinemas. prime minister narendra modi is meeting with his cabinet later to discuss the rise in 0micron cases. away from covid. a special service is being held in cape town to remember desmond tutu. archbishop tutu, the nobel peace prize laureate who helped end apartheid in south africa, died on boxing day aged 90. the service, hosted by his family, saw performances from local and international artists and tributes from different faith leaders. it is one of many that have been encouraged by the anglican church
in south africa to stop large crowds gathering because of covid. a court in russia has ordered the shutdown of the memorial human rights centre, which is part of the broader memorial rights group that russia's supreme court also shut down this week. the european court of human rights has urged russia to suspend the shutdown while it examines the case. russian state prosecutors have accused memorial international of breaking a law requiring groups to register as foreign agents. people have since been gathering in protest outside the court, shouting "shame!" this year has seen unprecented crackdowns of dissent in russia. founded in 1989, memorial is russia's most prominent rights organisation and became a symbol of russia opening up to the world. it has chronicled purges under former soviet leaderjosef stalin and now campaigns for the rights
of political prisoners and other marginalised groups. memorial says the charges against it are politically motivated. translation: we had no illusions. i think that our colleagues also had no illusions after yesterday's decision by the supreme court. today's decision is quite expected. it has nothing to do with foreign agents. this law was passed to be used in exactly this way, to liquidate organisations that the government considers undesirable for political reasons. meanwhile, the hong kong pro—democracy media outlet stand news has said it's shutting down, after hundreds of national security police raided its office on wednesday. these are images from the raid — seven former and current employees were arrested, for publishing what police described as "seditious publications". stand news, set up in 2014 as a nonprofit, was the most
prominent remaining pro—democracy publication in hong kong after the closure ofjailed tycoonjimmy lai's iconic apple daily tabloid. 0ur correspondent danny vincent told us more. earlier in the day, of course, hundred of police officers raided stand news. a number of former and current journalists were arrested. stand news is considered by many people to be perhaps the last prominent pro—democracy publication here in the city. when apple daily, perhaps the most popular tabloid in hong kong, was closed earlier in the year, many observers and critics pointed to stand news. many questioned how much longer this publication would be able to last. i've been speaking to many of the journalists over the last few months. there was a sense of impending doom, you can say, about the fate of this organisation, but there was also lots of, a lack of clarity.
i think people didn't know when they were crossing the lines. manyjournalists and activists often claim that the lines in the city, the red lines that have been... the red lines are shifting very quickly in the city. now a number ofjournalists are still waiting outside stand news. they are hoping to get a statement from the organisation. it is not clear if they will speak. again, we know that they have now ceased to operate. we know earlier in the day it stopped updating articles on its website. so i think many critics will say that this again is an example of the law being used in hong kong to silence people and organisations that have opinions which are critical of the authorities. danny vincent in hong kong. millions of families in the uk are facing a "cost of living
catastrophe" according to a leading think tank. the resolution foundation says stalling wages, rising taxes and soaring energy bills means — from april — households face an increase in their living costs of nearly £1,200. the government says it's provided more than £4 billion worth of support for families. the chief executive of the resolution foundation is torsten bell, and he explained why the pressures on household budgets are particularly strong now. everyone's already feeling, in their pockets, the cost of prices rising more quickly than their wages. we had the highest inflation in ten years back in november with 5%, and that's projected to get over 6% by next april. so, this is... you know, yes, we have seen fast price rises before, but this will be a very different feel to it, particularly because a lot of it will come all in one go in april next year, as we see a particularly large rise in energy bills and tax rises at the same time. torsten bell.
the actress, model and activist april ashley, hailed as a "trans trailblazer," has died at the age of 86. in 1960, ashley became only the second briton to undergo male—to—female gender reassignment surgery. she became a prominent campaigner for the transgender community, and was awarded an mbe for her work in 2012. aruna iyengar looks back at her life. april ashley, vogue model, parisian nightclub performer, but born in 1935 as georgejamieson to a working—class family in liverpool. ashleyjoined the merchant navy and went on to work in a paris nightclub, but in 1960, at the age of 25, she underwent reassignment surgery in morocco. i saved every single penny and the morning after the operation, to me, was the happiest day of my life. she became a top model, appearing in vogue magazine and films, but her career was abruptly ended
in 1961 when her story was revealed in a sunday newspaper. in 1970, her divorce proved to be a landmark case when a judge ruled it was not possible to change sex, so her marriage to artistocrat arthur cameron corbett had been invalid. when you go through life and you meet einstein, you meet sir winston churchill, you... dali wants to paint you, picasso looks you over three or four times, you know, to know all these people was extraordinary. the singer boy george tweeted that she was a force of nature and a transgender high priestess. peter tatchell, the lgbt rights campaigner, said she was "the great trans trailblazer for decades. i was so honoured to know and support her in a past era when she was reviled after being outed as trans." ashley left britain to live in america, but returned in 2005 after the gender recognition act was passed. aruna iyengar, bbc news.
april ashley, who has died at the age of 86. and it is time for some sport here on the bbc news channel. hello, i'm hugh ferris. arsenal manager mikel arteta has tested positive for covid for a second time — it means he'll miss the new year's day match against manchester city. arteta first contracted the virus in march 2020, which prompted the shutdown of football at the start of the pandemic. he's now isolating but is still expected to undertake media duties tomorrow ahead of the game. before city play arsenal, they have a game tonight at brentford. and if they win, there is a chance they could go nine points clear at the top of the league. it's one of two matches. if chelsea don't lose to brighton
in the other one, they'll go above liverpool into second. formerjockey freddy tylicki has called for harsher punishments for those who ride dangerously to make horse racing safer. tylicki was paralysed from the chest down following a fall five years ago, and last week a high court judge ruled that fellowjockey graham gibbons was responsible. harder punishments for reckless riding would be much the way forward, simply because when you punish a jockey for during a manoeuvre in a race that should not have been done, then the jockey gets xml of days to be on the sidelines. —— x xml of days to be on the sidelines. —— x amount of days. that would send the right signals out there. i think it'll make the sport overall a cleaner, safer environment, then. in response to last week's ruling, the british horseracing authority said that...
chris woakes admits england's cricketers were under—prepared for their ashes tour, but he says they can't use that as an excuse for the their performances. use that as an excuse for their poor performances. england are 3—0 down in the series, with the ashes already lost and two matches still to go. woakes says now is not the time to feel sorry for themselves. as a group of players, we have to take pride in what we do. 0bviously, no—one means to perform badly, no—one means to lose the way we have. we're trying extremely hard to put things right. but i think that's test cricket. it's called test cricket for a reason, it's really difficult, especially when a team gets on top. you have to show some character. that's all we have to do going
forward, zhoushan character, show some fight. —— show some character. now to alexandra palace, and dave chisnall has become the third player to withdraw from the world darts championship after testing positive for covid. michael van gerwen and vincent van der voort have also pulled out. but one man not leaving yet is alan soutar. the scotsman — who is a full—time fireman and also trains guide dogs — has made it through to the last—16 after beating seventh seed jose de sousa in a thrilling match at the palace. and in an all—english tie, callan rydz has just knocked out tenth seed nathan aspinall, sealing the victory with a 10—darter to book his place in the fourth round. the 23—year—old rydz is yet to drop a single set at the championship this year. novak djokovic has pulled out of this week's atp cup in sydney heightening speculation he could skip the australian 0pen next month. the world number one is yet to confirm if he's received the coronavirus vaccination, having previously expressed his oppostion to it. all players and staff competing in melbourne must be jabbed or have a medical exemption. and andy murray has been practicing at melbourne park, where the first grand slam of the season begins in just under three weeks' time. he was handed a wildcard