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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 29, 2021 9:00pm-9:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. borisjohnson says 90% of people in intensive care with covid have not had their boosterjab, as cases in the uk hit a pandemic high ofjust over 183,000. i think it is worrying seeing so many cases that we know even though it is a small percentage of those people that will become seriously ill, that will be a large number thatis ill, that will be a large number that is still going to be admitted to the hospital over the coming week. as record infections rates are also reported across europe and the us, the world health organization warns of a huge strain on global health services. i'm highly concerned that 0micron, being more transmissible, circulating at the same time
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as delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases. the european court of human rights urges russia to suspend the shutdown of the country's oldest human rights group. prayers and thanksgiving as south africa holds a week of special events celebrating the life of archbishop desmond tutu. good evening to viewers in the uk and around the world. the uk prime minister, 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. new figures show more than 10,000
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people are in hospital in england with covid — the highest number since march. meanwhile, some uk doctors and pharmacists are warning they are running short of covid tests because of high demand. officials say more are on the way. pressure is coming from a surge in cases — the latest data showing 183,000 people testing positive for covid in the uk. that's a new daily record but that's partly due to a delay in reporting results over christmas. 0ur health correspondent katherine 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 can't return to work until she's received a negative pcr test. it appears that, often, the website isn't showing availability for pcr testing. 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.
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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, 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
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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 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's making
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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 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.
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i've been speaking about the latest figures to professor anthony gordon, chair in anaesthesia and critical care at imperial college and consultant in intensive care medicine at st mary's hospital in london. it's a huge number, and i think it is worrying seeing so many cases that we know even though it's a small percentage of those people that will become seriously ill, that will be a large number that's still going to be admitted to hospital over the coming week. it was interesting hearing the prime minister, borisjohnson, speak about the trends in terms of who is being hospitalised, who is getting most ill, and it does seem to be that those who do not have the booster are most at risk. yes, undoubtedly the vaccines work. they do prevent infection, they prevent serious illness, so it is crucial people get vaccinated.
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what we see in intensive care, there is a mix of people completely unvaccinated, so people who haven't had their first dose should get that urgently, and more in older patients or those with underlying conditions, even people with two vaccines have come in so it is crucial to get boosters as well. patricia marquis is the england director at the royal college of nursing. we are hearing about all these figures. give us a sense of the effect it is having on nurses that you represent. effect it is having on nurses that you represent-— effect it is having on nurses that you represent. twofold really, one is pressure — you represent. twofold really, one is pressure at _ you represent. twofold really, one is pressure at work, _ you represent. twofold really, one is pressure at work, also _ you represent. twofold really, one is pressure at work, also in - you represent. twofold really, one is pressure at work, also in social. is pressure at work, also in social care and across the sector for the number of patients increasing, but also on sickness levels of the staff themselves who have got covid or who are isolating, so it is double fold the impact it is having on staff. are you able to put a figure, a
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percentage on how many nurses across the country, across the uk are actually, or even across england, themselves having to isolate? how many staff are the hospital is short by because of infections among nursing staff? i by because of infections among nursing staff?— by because of infections among nursing staff? i can't put an exact fiaure on nursing staff? i can't put an exact figure on it _ nursing staff? i can't put an exact figure on it and _ nursing staff? i can't put an exact figure on it and it _ nursing staff? i can't put an exact figure on it and it varies - nursing staff? i can't put an exact figure on it and it varies across i figure on it and it varies across the regions of england at the moment, but we do know there were massive shortages before and high sickness rates before the current wave due to stress, anxiety, exhaustion and other normal sickness absences, so the figures were already quite high. now there are increasing numbers getting sick themselves with covid, the shortages are quite significant in many areas. we saw in the run—up to christmas london very much the epicentre of the 0micron wave, the numbers were spiking quite sharply in relation to the rest of england and the uk. how
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is the situation in london from nurses compared with elsewhere in england? it nurses compared with elsewhere in encland? , ., , ., england? it still remains more difficult in _ england? it still remains more difficult in london _ england? it still remains more difficult in london than - england? it still remains more difficult in london than it - england? it still remains more difficult in london than it is . difficult in london than it is across the rest of england and the uk at the moment but we are starting to see figures rise, sicknesses rise, the admissions rising. in london, very acute and remains acute. 0f london, very acute and remains acute. of course nursing staff everywhere, and other staff in the nhs are working really hard to make the situation as good as it can be. but actually, it is not good. it doesn't look like it is going to improve any time soon. patricia, we are auoin improve any time soon. patricia, we are going to — improve any time soon. patricia, we are going to have — improve any time soon. patricia, we are going to have to _ improve any time soon. patricia, we are going to have to leave _ improve any time soon. patricia, we are going to have to leave it - improve any time soon. patricia, we are going to have to leave it there. l are going to have to leave it there. unfortunately the line is breaking up unfortunately the line is breaking up but we got the sense of the point you were making and the pressures on nurses in london and around the rest
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of the country. patricia marquis, thank you. france has recorded more than 200,000 new covid—19 infections recorded. it's a national and european record and means that two french people 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. here's our france correspondent, hugh schofield. 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.
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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
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to rule that as a possibility out. hugh schofield there. well, the spike in 0micron cases globally has led the director general of the world health organization to make an appeal against complacency. tedros ghebreyesus said the omicron and delta variants were continuing to put an enormous strain on health care systems and staff around the world. 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. with omicron cases on the rise, 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.
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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. let's turn our attention to other news now. 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
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to register as foreign agents. people have since been gathering in protest outside the court, shouting "shame". this year has seen an unprecented crackdown 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 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.
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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. the state funeral for archbishop tutu will take place 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
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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 — have been set up in many areas of the country to allow as many people as possible to be part of desmond tutu's send off. 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.
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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. 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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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 four billion pounds�* worth of support for families. victoria benson, ceo of the charity gingerbread, which helps single parents in the uk, explained that any rise in the cost of living would have a significant effect on the most vulnerable families. it's a huge impact, potentially catastrophic. most single parents earn very little and many are in poverty, by which they're earning under £16,000 per year, so this is a huge proportion of their already pretty low earnings. what could be done to help them? well, i mean, first of all, reinstating the £20—a—week universal credit uplift would be really, really helpful.
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many single parents have lost out hugely because of that, notjust in terms of luxuries, but in terms of everyday items like food. but, you know, there needs to be some help in capping that price increase and other ways, you know, increasing the amount of emergency funds available that are available to very low income people. in terms of the squeeze that people are already experiencing, i mean, certainly we've seen energy costs go up, and in the coming months i suppose those first bills that reflect that will be landing on people's doormats. yes, but, i mean, the situation's been getting worse ever since the pandemic started for single parents, because many were in flexible jobs, they lost their hours, they lost wages, they lost theirjobs, and they also saw a massive increase in prices, which we've all seen. and so they've already been hit by the impact. and when they lost the £20—a—week uplift, that caused them further damage, and now this is even more
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loss of income they're facing. so, this isn't a new situation for single parents, it's just a worsening of the current situation. i know we're specifically talking about the stalling of wages and the rising cost of living, but i would just be interested to get your thoughts as well on the impact for single—parent families where they are on zero—hours contracts or they're perhaps traders or self—employed and the impact of potentially having to isolate, as has been the case for so many over the past year. what's the effect of that that you're seeing? well, it causes huge anxiety because many people who are forced to isolate or if their children are sent home from school, they simply don't earn any money. so, it's a further stress for them on top of the anxiety they're already facing because they can't afford to get ill and they don't want to get ill because they're looking after their children. so, we have a lot of people phoning our helpline really
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worried about money. they don't know where else to turn. and, you know, quite a few of them are having to go to foodbanks because they're already in a really dire situation. 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 given 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.
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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
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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. conservationists at chester zoo have helped experts in mexico reintroduce a species of fish that was previously declared extinct back to the wild. the freshwater tequila fish — which is silver and less than three inches long — has now been returned to its native habitat in south—west mexico. our science correspondent victoria gill reports. a little—known species with an extraordinary story. the tequila fish is a small freshwater fish that lives in the rivers and lakes of south—west mexico, but it's been missing, presumed extinct for more than a decade. and it's just one of thousands of aquatics creatures that are facing extinction but have slipped under the radar. small little things, a bit silver sometimes, a bit of colour when they breed, but not much interest on the global conservation aspect. now, with the help of conservationists at chester zoo,
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scientists in mexico have reversed that extinction, bringing captive—bred fish back to the wild. the team has now confirmed that the fish are breeding, and that the population is recovering here. they're doing well. they started with the introduction of 1,500 animals, so now we're talking about from 1,500 individuals now to tens of thousands, and now what we're seeing that the species is slowly starting expanding to the river system, which is exactly what we wanted. so that is a very good start, and hopefully that will be more species looking forward. among the estimated 1 million species under threat around the world, a third of wildlife that depends on freshwater habitats are sliding towards extinction. and the ongoing loss of clean, healthy rivers and lakes threatens our food and water supplies too. so here injalisco, mexico, the community stepped in. local people trained with the scientists to take on long—term monitoring of this vital river network to ensure it is clean and healthy for both people and wildlife. it would be impossible without the local community.
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the local people are the main actors in the long—term conservation project. it's a conservation success story that it's hoped could be repeated for other threatened habitats and species, including one that lives in just one lake in the north of mexico. the achoques, a close relative of the axolotl, was saved from extinction partly by a captive breeding program led by local nuns. open the mouth. and now, with the community helping to clean up the lake, here in patzcuaro, these captive—reared animals could be brought back to the wild. the success of the little tequila fish is a much—needed sign of hope for one of the many small and perhaps underappreciated creatures that are facing extension. amid a biodiversity crisis, it's a sign that, with people's help, nature can make a comeback. victoria gill, bbc news. don't forget you can get in touch with me and some of the team on twitter.
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thanks for watching, i will see you soon. hello, time for some sport on the bbc news channel. chelsea have moved up to second in the premier league but were denied a win against brighton because of an injury time equaliser from danny welbeck. chelsea went into the lead just before the half—hour mark when romelu lukaku headed home his second goal in the last two games. the blues lost reece james to injury and brighton had plenty of chances to equalise. they finally took one in the 91st minute. chelsea are a point ahead of liverpool. the night's other game still has
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more than half an hour to go. manchester city leading by one goal to nil. phil foden gave manchester city the lead after 16 minutes. an eight—point gap is on offer if they manage to see that one through. city's next game after tonight is on new year's day against arsenal, 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 his media duties ahead of the game. covid also causing problems in the championship and in leagues one and two. four games postponed tonight. just three matches under way. blackburn rovers lead barnsley 2—1, ben brereton diaz with his 20th league goal of the season. elsewhere, middlesbrough 1—0 up at blackpool and millwall1—0 up at coventry. england cricket coach chris silverwood will miss
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the fourth ashes test in sydney after being forced to isolate for ten days after a member of the touring party tested positive for covid—19. silverwood will isolate with his family in melbourne as the england squad travel to sydney via a chartered flight later in the week. the touring party have recorded seven positive cases, three support staff and fourfamily members. the fourth test is due to start on january 5th. earlier on, chris woakes has given his backing to england captain joe root after their hopes of winning back the ashes ended in melbourne. both root and silverwood are thought to be under pressure after their abject display in australia, for which woakes has admitted the side were underprepared. england 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,
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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 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, who is currently playing dirk van duijvenbode, earlier he said he felt the tournament had been devalued following van gerwen's withdrawal, adding... "i'd rather play the best to be the best, absolutely feel sick for these players having to pull out over covid." 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 i wouldn't disagree with". but the tournament does go on. gary anderson survived a scare to make the fourth round. his opponent ian white missed this dart to win the match.
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anderson, a two—time champion, came from three sets down to win 4—3. he'll play rob cross next. earlier on, scotsman alan soutar, 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 tennis, 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 opposition 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 wildcard to take part in the event, where he's previously reached the final five times. and the defending and two—time champion naomi osaka will be there.


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