tv BBC News BBC News January 5, 2022 4:00am-4:31am GMT
this is bbc news. i'm david eades. these are our top stories: china's covid commandos. the authorities close down a city of more than 1 million after just three reported cases. it's a strategy that includes things like this — pop—up tents where you can get a booster on the way home and win prizes as well, but it also includes very, very harsh measures that can be imposed on a city in a matter of hours. it's more than a million and counting in the us as it hits the highest number of daily infections ever recorded. president biden urges people to get vaccinated. this continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated. so we've got to make more progress. prince andrew's lawyers argue
in court for the sexual assault civil lawsuit against him to be thrown out. they say he can't be sued because of an agreement signed by his accuser, virginia giuffre. despite strict covid rules, novak djokovic will be allowed to defend his australian open title without being vaccinated as he's granted a medical exemption. welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. it really doesn't get much tougher than this. the chinese city of yuzhou has been put into lockdown after recording just three cases of covid, all of them asymptomatic, as china shows its determination to continue with its zero—covid strategy. residents won't be allowed
to leave their homes in this eastern chinese city of around 1.2 million people. the transport system has been shut down, as well as shops and entertainment venues. only food stores can stay open and only workers involved in epidemic prevention are allowed out. another city, xi'an, with a population of 13 million, has been under lockdown for two weeks. our correspondent, robin brant, sent us this report. this is extreme, even by china's standards. a city shut down because ofjust three new cases with no symptoms. "everyone is prohibited from leaving the city," the sign says. a million—plus people are now in lockdown in yuzhou, the latest proof that china is very committed to its zero—covid strategy. translation: it doesn't bother me to do a covid test at midnight. it's for our own safety. 300 miles away and two weeks
ahead of yuzhou is xi'an, a city famed for its terracotta warriors, where 13 million people have now been locked down since before christmas. what started out a fortnight ago with the late—night army of officials welding gates shut has led to this. some people banned from leaving their tower blocks have taken to bartering with their neighbours. cigarettes for vegetables, other goods for sanitary towels. this is what most of china looks like. it's busy. yes, you have to have a mask when you get on the metro and there's a temperature check, but the government says its zero—covid strategy has achieved this for about 18 months now. and that's a strategy that includes things like this — pop—up tents where you can get a booster on the way home and win prizes as well. but it also includes very, very harsh measures that can be imposed on a city in a matter of hours. harsh measures,
brutal enforcement. it's been part of china's covid containment since the beginning. just last month, some cities were parading covid—spreading offenders in public. keeping cases at near zero is now even more important as china prepares to host another olympics. the winter games in beijing is just a month away. china's president, xijinping, saw for himself the final preparations on tuesday. on the brink of a third term in power, he wants and needs a smooth ride at the games. zero covid is central to that. robin brant, bbc news, shanghai. well, the chinese approach may seem pretty draconian. it's also in stark contrast to situations in other parts of the world. the united states has just recorded more than 1 million cases of the omicron variant. that's the highest daily tally of anywhere in the world. speaking at the white house, president biden pleaded with the american people who haven't been vaccinated
to get the jab. let me be absolutely clear. we have in hand all the vaccines we need to get every american fully vaccinated, including the booster shot, so there's no excuse, no excuse for anyone being unvaccinated. this continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated. in britain, nearly 220,000 new coronavirus cases — a new high — have been recorded. it comes as pupils returned to school in england and northern ireland. the prime minister, borisjohnson, says he hopes that england can "ride out" the current wave of covid—19 infections without further restrictions. here's our health editor hugh pym. the nhs is always under strain at this time of the year. now, there's a new variant —
with london hospitals like this one, uch, caught up in the early wave. they're seeing an important difference from previous covid surges. it's all looking very good. all looking nice and steady, so well done. there's less pressure on intensive care, but more elsewhere in the hospital. so, the numbers coming into intensive care are less, the numbers coming into general ward beds are more. and there's a caveat — we don't know, as the older people start to get omicron, whether that will convert into more coming into intensive care. and caring for covid patients in general wards brings its own challenges. this bay has four patients, all with different conditions, needing to see different consultants. but they're all together here because they've got covid. one of them is dennis, who had an underlying lung problem before he caught the virus. well, considering i was near death's door, they've brought me back. i feel good. i feel really good.
i had two lung collapses, they brought me back twice. adam and jade, who run the ward, say staffing pressures are creating added stress. we've had quite acute staff shortages, a lot of staff off sick and isolating. patient—wise, i think the numbers are increasing, but currently, we're not at full capacity yet. it'sjust sort of the fear of the unknown. you don't know which way it's going to go. even though right now it feels slightly better than it did this time last year. so, what might happen now? there was a chance to find out more at the downing street briefing. would you say it's now unlikely or highly unlikely that further restrictions will be introduced in england? i would say we have a good chance of getting through the omicron wave without the need for further restrictions and without the need, certainly, for a lockdown.
back at university college hospital, there are signs that numbers have stabilised, but no certainty what'll happen next. we were increasingly worried before the new year, and now, at the beginning ofjanuary, we're seeing some very, very early signs that perhaps some of that demand is listening. but i would caution against thinking we are through the worst of this pandemic. we have a long way to go injanuary, so we're really planning very much for the worst and very much for the best. the message to get vaccinated was also pushed again today by the prime minister. he said 61% of patients in intensive care units haven't been vaccinated, and 90% hadn't had a booster. borisjohnson added that people were dying needlessly because they hadn't had theirjabs. hugh pym, bbc news. let's get some of the day's other news. the authorities in kazakhstan have declared a 2—week state of emergency in the main city, almaty, and in a western province as a wave of protests hit the country.
they resulted from the authorities�* decision to lift price caps on vehicle fuel, causing prices to surge. a later government move to cancel the price rise apparently failed to calm the protesters. police in washington, dc have been outlining the security measures they've put in place ahead of the first anniversary of the attack on the us capitol. the police chief said the building's security team had implemented more than 90 recommendations following investigations into the intelligence and operationalfailures that led to the breach. south korea has reported the launch of what it called an unspecified projectile from north korea's east coast. the launch is the first of the new year for pyongyang. at a meeting of the north's ruling party last week, its leader, kimjong—un, vowed to continue to build up north korea's military capabilities despite the impact of international sanctions. prince andrew's lawyers have been trying to convince an american judge to dismiss
the sexual assault civil lawsuit against him. they say his accuser, virginia giuffre, can't sue because of damages she accepted in 2009 from the paedophile, jeffrey epstein, in return for dropping her claims against him and any other "potential defendant." prince andrew has consistently denied her allegations. our royal correspondent jonny dymond has the latest. she says she was sexually assaulted by prince andrew three times. he denies every allegation and says he can't remember meeting her. today, his lawyers argued the whole case should be dismissed. the civil case rests partly on this meeting in london, a night when virginia giuffre, here aged 17, says she was forced to have sex with prince andrew. when he spoke to the bbc in 2019, he denied the allegations
again and again. you can say categorically that you don't recall meeting virginia roberts, dining with her... yep. ..dancing with her at tramp... yep. ..or going on to have sex with her... yes. ..in a bedroom in a house in belgravia? i can absolutely, categorically tell you it never happened. do you recall any kind of sexual contact with virginia roberts, then or at any other time? none...none whatsoever. today in new york, the lawyers battled in court for the first time. at the centre of their arguments, a deal struck between andrew's accuser and his formerfriend, jeffrey epstein. epstein paid virginia giuffre $500 million. their deal released any other person who could have been included as a potential defendant from further legal challenge by virginia giuffre.
prince andrew's lawyers needed to persuade the judge that the 2009 deal covered the prince. the prince's lawyers demanded detail of the allegations against their client, but they were slapped down by the judge. finally, questions were raised as to whether the prince could even use the 2009 deal. he is a third party the court heard. thejudge said: thejudge was quite aggressive in his questioning of prince andrew's attorneys as they raised technical argument after technical argument, trying to get virginia's case dismissed.
the judge did not seem to be having any of it. even if this case is dismissed, prince andrew will, say veteran royal watchers, struggle to return to his previous public life. when it comes to the monarchy, the monarchy is obviously an institution that is big enough to rise above what has happened. but when it comes to prince andrew, one has to say that one can see no role in royal life for him in the immediate future or the intermediate future. just getting this far has damaged prince andrew. and if the case is not dismissed, it will hang over thisjubilee year. the queen's second son, threatened with having to testify in a new york courtroom. now, they wait. the judge in new york says a decision will come pretty soon. jonny dymond, bbc news. earlier, i spoke former us federal prosecutor mitchel epner about what the likely impact of that 2009 agreement
on the case. today was a horrible day for prince andrew. that argument was clearly rejected byjudge kaplan, both on the question of whether the deal, the settlement agreement was clear enough to cover prince andrew, but, more importantly, as your reporter properly noted, whether prince andrew would have the ability to raise this argument at all. it seems very clear that, a, judge kaplan is not going to dismiss this case and, b, he's going to find that the only person who could raise this settlement agreement to try to exonerate prince andrew would be the executor ofjeffrey epstein�*s estate, and that executor is not going to lift a finger in order to help prince andrew. why not?
well, the executor is charged with the fiduciary duty of protecting the estate, and the estate in virtually everyone�*s view is best served by trying to get the most compensation to epstein�*s victims and creditors as possible and has no percentage in being seen as helping to stonewall any of the victims in trying to obtain justice from any of the other alleged perpetrators. right. we can'tjump the gun on what the judge's opinion will be, but we could perhaps look at what a civil case might look like. i presume it really is a he said, she said sort of scenario, isn't it? yes, it is clearly a he said, she said, and the question will come down to one of credibility and one of corroboration,
and virginia giuffre roberts has one of the most capable attorneys in america in david boies and his team, today if i was prince andrew. despite suggestions about ms giuffre�*s own credibility? i mean, clearly, virginia giuffre roberts�*s story has changed and shifted over the years, and she will have issues with regard to her credibility. on the other hand, prince andrew has some major issues with regard to both his credibility and his availability. there is a fundamental question of whether or not he will even sit for deposition or if he will assert his rights under the fifth amendment to the united states constitution not to incriminate himself so as to avoid the possibility of eventual criminal sanctions. stay with us on bbc news,
still to come: we'll tell you why tennis star novak djokovic has come under fire for being allowed to play at the australian open. the japanese people are in mourning following the death of emperor hirohito. thousands converged on the imperial palace to pay their respects when it was announced he was dead. good grief. after half a century of delighting fans around the world, charlie brown and the rest of the gang are calling it quits. the singer paul simon starts his tour of- south africa tomorrow in spite of protests and violence - from some black activist groups. i they say international artists should continue to boycott south africa _ until majority rule is established. . around the world, people have been paying tribute to the iconic rock star
david bowie, who sold 140 million albums in a career that spanned half a century. his family announced overnight that he died of cancer at the age of 69. the world's tallest skyscraper opens later today. the burj dubai has easily overtaken its nearest rivals. this is bbc world news, our main story: a chinese city of more than one million people is under lockdown after three reported cases — under the government's zero covid strategy. let's have more on our top story, china's covid policy. earlier i spoke to professor elanah uretsky, a professor of medical anthropology, to find out to what extent the upcoming beijing winter olympics is responsible
for china's approach. china's in theirfinal stages of preparation for the olympics. a huge event for any country around the world and i think maybe even a bigger event for china with the 2008 olympics were an event that really brought china out onto the world stage, it was extremely successful and choreographed event. and i think they're hoping — that that was the summer olympics, this is their turn to have the winter olympics and this can bring them further out onto the world stage and send them into the next step of being a major global power and it is something that is very, very important to them. they saw the tokyo olympics postponed last year, they finally went on in 2021. they tried to be as careful as possible beforehand yet, you know, it's very, very difficult, as we see,
to prevent an outbreak of this virus anywhere in the world. so i think they're really trying to aim for that as much as possible. that is certainly clear. it is fascinating to look at the pictures which are designed, in some respects, to tell the story. we're calling it the anti—covid command unit of health officials out in the city. what is the local chinese and public perception of the way the lockdown is working? are they buying into it? you know, it's hard to tell because things have become so sensitive in china these days but in speaking with people in china, what they'll tell me is our government is here to protect us. that we had an outbreak in our city and the government came in right away and protected us, they vaccinated us, they test us, they make sure that we are safe and where needed
they bring us food. hundreds of thousands of americans have lost electricity, flights have been cancelled and government offices and schools are closed as winter storms engulf the us southeast and mid—atla ntic states. a foot of snow fell in northern virginia, with almost as much recorded in washington, central tennessee and northern alabama. stranded motorists in virginia have been trapped for hours in the freezing weather, some of them without food or water and with their vehicles running out of fuel. while i've been stuck here, i've had to have my car on and then off to conserve the gas but i need to turn it on to, you know, get heat from my vehicle obviously, and my vehicle has poor insulation, so i have to turn on my car maybe every hour or maybe every half hour. and that is another reason why i have my alarms for 30 minute intervalsjust so i can remind myself, hey, it's getting cold,
i only have so much warming layers and at the time i think it was about 20 degrees outside. i'm not sure how cold it is now but it would get very cold in my car very fast. the newjames webb telescope has completed a crucial task, in its quest to observe some of the most distant objects in the universe. its controllers completed the deployment of the space observatory�*s giant kite—shaped sun shield, which is the size of a tennis court. the barrier will allow the telescope to detect signals deep in space, including from objects present during the formation of the first galaxies. tennis now and the men's world number one, novak djokovic, has received a medical exemption to enter australia, bypassing the strict rules that only allow people
vaccinated against covid—19 to enter the country. the news means that djokovic — who has been critical of mandatory vacinations — can now compete in the australian open, which he is bidding to win for a record tenth time. on tuesday he tweeted this picture on the airport tarmac, bags packed, with the caption "happy new year... today i'm heading down under with an exemption permission. let's go 2022!" ben rothenberg is a tennis journalist and host of the �*no challenges remaining' podcast. i asked him how a player goes about getting a medical exemption. you apply for one and you have to give a reason for it and we still don't know what djokovic's reason was for this exemption. the understanding is that they would only be given in what they called acute major medical situations or cases and that's not something you would think as an active world number one athlete would have. there are reasons unknown to us and it is also possible there is a clause in there which would allow for a very recent covid case to
exempt from vaccination requirements. we've not heard about djokovic catching covid again. it is possible but at this point there is a lot of speculation and not a lot of details which will have to come from him at some point. he's only person able to fill us in more officially about what his reasons are. given that he is looking to achieve something no other tennis player in the men's game has ever achieved, a 21st grand slam victory, you can understand the attention on him. but are there other players who also have a medical exemption that we know of? we tend to focus on djokovic. no other confirmed exemptions that we know. only a handful of exemptions, the tournament said, that were given, probably about 26 applications and only a handful were granted and those include both players and support staff. we don't know about any other exemptions.
there's one american player who's made the quarterfinals twice, tennys sandgren, he pulled out of the australian open citing vaccination rules. he is unvaccinated and does not want to be, but he did not apply for an exemption. djokovic did apply and it was granted. all this takes place in melbourne, in victoria which has been through a lockdown hell, i think many people there would say. how has this gone down? not well at all. it has created a great deal of bad will towards the tournament and djokovic and whoever else�*s perceived possible to make responsible for bending the rules. that is how it is being perceived here. there is a great deal of frustration is a major covid spike is happening with hundreds of lines and people waiting around the city for tests and shortages of home tests and it is a tough time and itjust furthers the perception that there is different treatment for stars or celebrities than there is for the average
citizens who have made a lot of sacrifice. the 17th of january is when the australian open starts. goodbye for now. hello there. winter has certainly staged a return after the very mild start we had to this year. temperatures over the last couple of days have been dropping, and some places have seen a covering of snow. so, where we have snow on the ground and where we've seen wintry showers, there's the potential for ice to take us into wednesday morning. and with this little ridge of high pressure temporarily building in, well, that means wednesday actually is going to bring a lot of fine and dry weather. the greatest risk of ice will be across northern scotland and northern ireland through the first part of the morning. we will continue to see some wintry showers here, a few too into wales, the southwest of england, and a few grazing the east coast of england as well. but for most places, as we go through the day
and the showers become fewer and further between, we will see more in the way of sunshine, the winds will slowly ease — but it won't be a warm day by any stretch, top temperatures between 3—9 celsius. now, as we go through wednesday evening, still some showers grazing the east coast, some out west for a time. but things generally will be dry with long, clear spells. cloud tending to increase across northern ireland later in the night — that'll lift the temperatures here just a little, but for most places, a very cold night, —8 likely in some sheltered rural spots in scotland. but after that cold start, we bring in this frontal system from the west on thursday. there is, associated with this, going to be a very narrow wedge of milder air. so, what we will see as this front moves in is initially a spell of snow, even to quite low levels across parts of scotland and northern england seeing the rain run into the cold air. some snow over high ground in wales, perhaps into the midlands as well. but any wintry weather tends
to turn back to wet weather as we go through the day, as that little wedge of milder air starts to work its way in. and then, cold air will return from the west later. it will be windy, gusts of 50—60 mph or more in some exposed western spots. and temperatures still stuck between 4—9 celsius for the most part. and then, into friday, we're back into cold air again. we will see some sunshine, but we will see some showers, too, these falling as a wintry mix of rain, sleet, and snow. it'll be a fairly breezy day in many places — and top temperatures again between 3—9 celsius. that's all from me, bye for now.
this is bbc news. the headlines: in china, a city of more than 1 million is under lockdown afterjust three reported cases under the government's zero—covid strategy. residents of yuzhou are not allowed to leave their homes, the transport system has been shut down, and only food stores can stay open. the united states hasjust recorded more than1 million cases of the omicron variant. that's the highest daily tally of anywhere in the world. speaking at the white house, president biden has pleaded with the american people who haven't been vaccinated, to get the jab. lawyers for prince andrew have argued for the first time in court that the sexual assault civil lawsuit against him should be thrown out. they say he can't be sued, because of an agreement signed by his accuser, virginia giuffre. prince andrew has consistently denied her allegations.
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