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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 29, 2021 7:00pm-7:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news broadcasting to viewers in the uk and around the world. i'm jane hill. the headlines: the uk announces just over 183,000 new coronavirus cases, a record daily total, but figures have been affected by delays over the festive period. it's as borisjohnson says up to 90% of those in intensive care haven't had a boosterjab. experts say it's still not clear how bad this surge of infections might be. we need to watch the data for a couple of weeks probably, the other side of the new year, to be absolutely sure which way this wave is going. as record infections rates are reported across europe and the us, the world health organization warns of a huge strain on global health services.
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i'm highly concerned that omicron, being more transmissible, circulating at the same time as delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases. 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. the european court of human rights urges russia to suspend the shutdown of the country's oldest human rights group. and prayers and thanksgiving in soweto, followed by an interfaith memorial service in cape town celebrating the life of archbishop desmond tutu.
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hello, and welcome to bbc news. borisjohnson has urged everyone in the uk to get their boosterjab — he says 90% of people currently in intensive care beds with covid had not received their third vaccine. his comments come as new figures show more than 10,000 people in england are in hospital with covid, the highest number since march. meanwhile, doctors and pharmacists in the uk are warning of variable supplies of covid tests, because of a big rise in demand. 0fficials says more kits are being made available. contributing to both the demand for testing kits and those high number of covid patients is the surge in cases. the latest data shows a further 183,000 people have tested positive for covid in the uk. the figure is significantly higher than a week ago because it has been affected by delays in reporting over the christmas period. 0ur health correspondent
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katharine da costa has more. george winder and his wife nikki are both gps in leeds. he tested positive for covid on a lateral flow device, which means, as a health worker, his wife cannot return to work until she's received a negative pcr test. it appears that, often, the website isn't showing availability. that doesn't always seem to hold true throughout the day. and i understand that other people have later in the day then found availability, which was the same with my wife. so, really, it'sjust this pattern of a delay in being able to book one locally on the government booking site. at some points today, there was no availability on the government website for home pcr kits or walk—in sites in england and northern ireland and only limited supply in scotland. there's been a surge in demand for lateral flow tests, too. that's led to pharmacists warning that supply�*s not keeping up. they've not had any here since christmas eve. it's not just our pharmacy that's out of stock, it's many,
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many more pharmacies. some customers are very understanding with it, but some are getting very angry about it as well, saying that "we've been told we need to test every day, so how are the tests not available?" health officials say they're responding to unprecedented demand, with record numbers of pcr and lateral flows tests being sent out. the advice is to keep trying back on the government website as more are released throughout the day. spiralling cases are leading to an increase in hospital admissions in england. the weekly average is up by more than 50% compared to a week ago. the number of people with covid in hospital has risen above 10,000 for the first time in nearly ten months, but there are some signs of optimism. it's quite difficult at the moment to interpret the data. we have very high rates of infection in the community, and therefore we may see some of these people naturally in the hospital as well. but equally, we're not seeing the same rate of admission
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to intensive care units, and so that could be a positive sign. the prime minister, on a visit to this vaccination centre in milton keynes, was pushing the message for people to get boosted. cases are going up, we've got a lot of cases of 0micron. but on the other hand, we can see the data about the relative mildness of 0micron, and what we can also see is the very, very clear effect of getting those jabs, getting those boosters in particular. that's what is making a huge difference. mrjohnson says 90% of covid patients in icu haven't had a booster, but there's still uncertainty over what impact the 0micron variant will have on older age groups as the virus spreads from young into those who are most at risk of falling seriously ill. katherine da costa, bbc news. well, let's look at the latest government data now. some of the figures are still being affected by delays
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over the holiday period, and some data has not yet been published. it also includes five days' worth of data from northern ireland. there were a record 183,037 new infections recorded in the latest 24—hour period. 57 deaths were recorded — that's of people who died within 28 days of a positive test. 0n vaccinations, more than 325,000 people had boosters, bringing the total to more than 33 million. 0ur health correspondent catherine burns explained why it is tricky to interpret the current data about hospitalisations with coronavirus. we're almost at a point now where we were at ten months ago. it's that long since the numbers were that high. so if we break the numbers down, 10,500 covid patients in hospital in england, and that's up 2,000 in just two days. but there are some factors that could have boosted this, reeta, because once someone�*s in hospital and they have recovered, it can be a lot harder to get them
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discharged over christmas. so it could well be that hundreds of those people may well have recovered butjust haven't left hospital yet. so, in a way, more reliable to look at new covid admissions. last week, we were looking at a daily average of about 800 new covid patients in hospital in england every day. now, we're closer to 1,300. so to give you some context, in january this year, when we were at the peak of this, we were about 4,000 per day. so we're nowhere near that, but there is a genuine increase. even here, though, there is a proviso because we don't know how many of these patients are in hospital because of covid or in hospital with something else and just happened to test positive for covid. really, though, i've given you a lot of numbers here, and there's only really one question that counts — can the nhs cope or are we coming to the point where the government may have to bring in new restrictions in england? you heard jenny harries there. the good news was, she was saying, we're not really seeing an increase in intensive care patients yet. but there was another warning,
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saying that we don't actually know the full impact of 0micron yet on elderly patients. it hasn't really seeded through to them yet, and until we see that, we just still don't know what we're looking at. so it's still a case of "watch this space". 0ur health correspondent catherine burns. scotland has experienced a record number of new coronavirus cases in the last 2a hours. during a virtual recall of the scottish parliament, the first minister nicola sturgeon said a further 15,8119 cases had been reported. she said there will be no immediate changes to the current covid restrictions and that her government hopes to reach a decision she said there will be no immediate changes to the current covid restrictions and that her government hopes to reach a decision on isolation rules in the next week. 0ur scotland correspondent alexandra mackenzie reports. the wave of predicted 0micron cases is developing rapidly in scotland. the number of reported covid cases almost doubled in the past week. scotland's national football stadium, hampden park, is now a mass vaccination centre.
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the scottish government has stressed the urgency for people to get their booster, as cases surge. with such a high rate of infection, it will still cause a lot of pressure on our services and we will still see people admitted to hospital with this disease. the first minister said the impact of the soaring case numbers was being closely monitored — especially hospital figures, which have been broadly stable but increased by 80 since yesterday. nicola sturgeon said there was need for caution. she told msps she hoped to reach a decision on a change to isolation rules in the next few days. i indicated last week that we were weighing the risks and benefits of shortening the isolation period for indexed cases and also potentially easing the requirement for all household contacts to isolate following a positive case. these are finely balanced judgments and we are considering the current trends in infection carefully.
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there has been increasing pressure from business and opposition parties. we've had the ground—breaking omicron study that shows while it's more tranmissible, it is less severe. so, first minister, what more information do you need to take the steps on self—isolation that we've been calling for for weeks? hogmanay is usually a big celebration here in scotland, but this new year's eve, the advice is to reduce contact as much as possible and not to travel to england to attend a nightclub or to avoid scotland's more stringent coronavirus restrictions. the first minister acknowledged it had been another difficult year but said she believed that 2022 would be better. alexandra mackenzie, bbc news, glasgow.
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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 means that two people in france are testing positive for the virus every second. to try to quell the rising numbers, the french government says people should work from home at least three days a week. our 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
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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 omicron. 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.
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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 omicron and delta variants were continuing to put an enormous strain on global health care systems. delta and omicron 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 omicron, being more transmissible, circulating at the same time as delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases. 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. with omicron cases on the rise,
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health officials in new york have reported a steep increase in children admitted to hospital with covid over the christmas holiday. the us chief medical adviser, dr anthony fauci, has addressed the situation at a white house briefing. certainly, more children are being infected with the highly transmissible virus, and with that, there naturally will be more hospitalisations in children. it is noteworthy, however, that many children are hospitalised with covid as opposed to because of covid, reflecting the high degree of penetrance of infection among the paediatric population. the final conclusion about the level of severity in children remains to be determined. and india is introducing stricter restrictions to try and limit the spread of omicron.
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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 omicron cases. now, away from covid. the white house has announced that joe biden will hold another call with president putin on thursday as tensions continue over the build up of russian troops on its border with ukraine. meanwhile, russia and belarus have announced plans to hold joint military drills in february or march next year. the planned military drills, which will take place in belarus, come amid rising east—west tensions over ukraine. russia has demanded that nato do not admit ukraine — which borders both russia and belarus. the us says russia may be preparing an invasion of ukraine and has announced it will help to strengthen its borders. moscow denies this.
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and 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 closure 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 on dissent in russia. founded in 1989, memorial is russia's most prominent rights organisation and became a symbol of the country opening up to the world. it has chronicled purges under the soviet leaderjosef stalin and now campaigns for the rights of political prisoners and other marginalised groups. memorial says the charges against it
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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. 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 current and former employees were arrested, for producing what police described as "seditious publications". stand news, set up in 2014, was the most prominent remaining pro—democracy publication in hong kong, after the closure ofjimmy lai's iconic apple daily tabloid.
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british households will be worse off next year because of higher energy bills, stagnant wages and tax increases — according to a think tank. the resolution foundation, which focuses on people on lower incomes, claims millions of families are facing a "cost of living catastrophe". the government says it has put £4.2 billion in place to support families. our economics correspondent andy verity has more. at the moment, the dominant economic factor�*s omicron, of course, and that may be causing right now a bit of an economic contraction. but it's thought that that will be relatively short lived and what the resolution foundation is saying, they're a think tank that concentrates on living standards, is that in april, we are going to have a really nasty squeeze suddenly come upon us in the shape of, as you mentioned, higher tax rises, or higher tax bills, rather, and also higher energy bills. now, they calculate that for the average household, the rise in energy bills will be about £600 a year when the energy price cap is raised in april,
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so the bills will come in much higher than they have been before then. and then, of course, that hits low—income families who tend to spend more of their income on energy than higher income families, and pensioners in particular, especially hard. they are advocating that the government should do some things to improve the situation for those on the modest means, for example, the warm homes discount could be extended, etc. but then you've got the impact of something the government's doing quite deliberately, which is to raise taxes, national insurance going up by 1.25 percentage points for everybody who is working, at the same time as the thresholds below which you don't pay the higher rate of tax are being frozen, so that will drag more people into the higher rates of tax and national insurance, and they calculate that for the average family, that will be about £600 per year extra. so in april, you're talking about £1200 a year out of families' budgets, which in addition to the inflation we've got of 5.1% rising to 6%, it's going to be a difficult thing to cope with for most families.
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our economics correspondent andy verity. a 19—year—old man has been charged with the murder of an elderly couple in west lothian in scotland. the bodies of mary and dennis fell were found in the town of livingston late on boxing day. tobyn salvatore made no plea and was remanded in custody. ajoint inquest is to be held into the deaths of two women who died of a herpes infection. kim sampson and samantha mulcahy died weeks apart after undergoing caesarian sections performed at different hospitals run by the east kent hospitals trust in the summer of 2018. a bbc investigation found links between the deaths, including that the two women had been operated on by the same surgeon. a new study is warning that climate change will expand the range of tropical cyclones, making millions more people vulnerable to devastating storms. at present, cyclones —
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or hurricanes, as they are also known — are mainly confined to the tropical regions north and south of the equator. but researchers say rising temperatures will allow these weather events to form in the mid—latitudes, in areas as far north as new york city, beijing and tokyo. joshua studholme is the lead author of the report. i asked him how long it would take to see the changes take effect. there is observational evidence to suggest this is already happening. koepka —— tropical cyclones have moved to. white right, and are we talking about having more of them in any given year or are we talking greater severity? given year or are we talking greater severi ? ~ . . ~ , ., severity? what are the key risks for ou here? severity? what are the key risks for you here? the _ severity? what are the key risks for you here? the key _ severity? what are the key risks for you here? the key risk _ severity? what are the key risks for you here? the key risk is _ severity? what are the key risks for you here? the key risk is changing l you here? the key risk is changing whether occurs. _ you here? the key risk is changing whether occurs. we _ you here? the key risk is changing whether occurs. we have - you here? the key risk is changing whether occurs. we have little - whether occurs. we have little confidence in whether the total number of hurricanes will increase
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or decrease, but what we're fighting here is where they occur will change, so some areas in particular, higher latitudes, including new york and boston and even western europe, will experience relatively more hurricanes than the tropics. the oint hurricanes than the tropics. the point being. _ hurricanes than the tropics. the point being, these are places that are in some cases for the densely populated, so you are by definition talking about more people being impacted? talking about more people being imacted? ~ , ., , impacted? absolutely, and it is worth saying — impacted? absolutely, and it is worth saying we _ impacted? absolutely, and it is worth saying we believe - impacted? absolutely, and it is worth saying we believe that i worth saying we believe that hurricanes have not existed over this wide range of latitudes at any point in the last 3 million years, which is certainly beyond human civilisation, so regions that have not experienced hurricanes at all and have not developed to protect themselves hurricanes will begin to experience these damages. find experience these damages. and because of— experience these damages. and because of the _ experience these damages. and because of the nature of climate change, is it... presumably it is too late to stop this happening, so
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is it about those cities, those places, building in a way to try to defend themselves against it? is that the only option to deal with this? ~ , ,., , , that the only option to deal with this? ~ , , , ., that the only option to deal with this? absolutely, they should adapt to hurricane — this? absolutely, they should adapt to hurricane risks, _ this? absolutely, they should adapt to hurricane risks, but— this? absolutely, they should adapt to hurricane risks, but it _ this? absolutely, they should adapt to hurricane risks, but it is - to hurricane risks, but it is certainly true that by the end of the century, the impacts of this particular dynamic depend heavily on the amount of warming we seek, so we can avoid the worst case scenario if we commit to a low in mission scenarios. —— low emissions scenarios. joshua studholme. a week of events is taking place in south africa to mark the life of the anti—apartheid leader, archbishop desmond tutu, who died on sunday at the age of 90. in an attempt to prevent the spread of covid—19, the anglican church has encouraged multiple services to avoid large crowds gathering. a state funeral will be held
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for the archbishop on saturday. here's our south africa correspondent, nomsa maseko. a week of commemorative events in honour of archbishop tutu is well under way all over south africa, notjust here in cape town. mourners gathered for midday prayers outside tutu's home in soweto, to pay their respects to the man who was chosen by nelson mandela to head south africa's tumultuous reconciliation process. many people have been visiting desmond tutu's home here in cape town since his death was announced on boxing day. in the midst of the pain and sorrow, it's very comforting for people to show their emotions and pour out their love for my dad. and we are truly appreciative of it. it's not an easy time for anyone. in line with covid—19 regulations, public viewing areas — such as this one —
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have been set up in many areas of the country to allow as many people as possible to be part of desmond tutu's sendoff. the bell at st george's cathedral will toll at midday every day until friday in the archbishop's honour. the man known fondly as the arch was very clear on his wishes for his funeral — no ostentatious or lavish spending. he asked for a cheap coffin and that a bouquet of carnations from his family be the only flowers at the cathedral. he had it down, written in stone, so that no—one could change it, even if we wanted to. and why would we want to? because he was, yeah, loud and boisterous, but he was simple. desmond tutu is to be cremated. his ashes will be interred at the st george's cathedral where he served as south africa's first black archbishop. nomsa maseko, bbc news, cape town.
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that's it for now. thanks very much for your company. your watching bbc —— you are watching bbc news. time for some sport with me, hugh ferris. hello, good evening to you. the first of two games in the premier league tonight is about to kick off. it involves chelsea, one of two teams hoping to take advantage of liverpool's loss to leicester last night. they�* re playing brighton, with romelu lukaku making his first start since october. if they avoid defeat, they'll move above liverpool into second. but if brighton win, that'll give manchester city the chance to extend their lead to nine points. they're at brentford in an 8.15pm kick off. city's next game after tonight is on new year's day against arsenal,
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who will be without their manager. mikel arteta has tested positive for covid for a second time, having 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 ahead of the game. chris woakes has given his backing to england captainjoe root after their hopes of winning back the urn ended in melbourne. both root and coach chris silverwood are thought to be under pressure after the abject display in australia, for which woakes has admitted the side were underprepared. england are 3—0 down in the series with two to play, and 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. obviously, 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 what we have to do going forward, show some character, show some fight. a third withdrawal due to a positive covid test at the pdc world darts has led the current champion to ask
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for the tournament to be delayed. dave chisnall has followed three—time champion michael van gerwen and vincent van der voort in pulling out. but the 2021 winner gerwyn price said he felt the tournament had been "devalued" following van gerwen's withdrawal, adding... and he's come to the conclusion the only answer is to postpone the tournament, admitting that it isn't the best option but an option he wouldn't disagree with. but the tournament goes on, and one man making the headlines today 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 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
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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 open 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. andy murray has been practising at melbourne park, where the first grand slam of the season begins in just under three weeks' time. he was handed a wild card to take part in the event where he's previously reached the final five times. and defending and two—time champion naomi osaka will be there. she also practised on wednesday, after taking a break to concentrate on her mental health over the past few months following her shock third round defeat to cananda's leylah fernandez at the us open. osaka won the australian open in 2019 and 2021. and that's all you're sport for now. you can follow the chelsea— brighton game that's about to kick off, then
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brentford versus manchester city, via the bbc website. there is also updates on bbc radio 5 live. i will be back later on. this is bbc news, the headlines... the uk announces a record 183,000 new daily coronavirus cases — although figures have been affected by testing delays. and doctors and pharmacists are warning of �*patchy�* supplies of tests. as europe and the us also report record covid infection rates, the head of the world health organisation says the virus is straining health care systems and staff around the world. the european court of human rights, has urged russia to suspend the shutdown of the country's oldest human rights group — memorial international. and, the life of archbishop desmond tutu has been celebrated at memorial services outside his home injohannesburg, and at an interfaith ceremony in cape town.


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