good afternoon. half of all uk adults have now received their first covid vaccine dose. despite this, a scientist on a government advisory body warns summer holidays overseas are "extremely unlikely" because of the risk of travellers bringing coronavirus variants back to the uk. it comes as france and poland have
reintroduced partial lockdowns, as both countries battle a sharp rise in infections in recent weeks. richard galpin reports. here in germany the authorities are warning that the country is facing a third wave of coronavirus. infections rising exponentially. and this particularly worrying is 8% of the population here has had a first dose of vaccine. there are now calls for lockdown measures to be brought back in. the situation also serious here in france, with covid cases surging. more than 20 million people now facing restrictions. poland, yet another eu countries battling the virus has today gone into a lockdown expected to last three weeks. the situation across the eu in part a result of a faltering vaccination
programme and delays in deliveries. and this not helped by the eu's recent suspension of supplies of the astrazeneca vaccine at this critical time. italy, though, is now moving ahead, with the astrazeneca vaccine. translation: the ahead, with the astrazeneca vaccine. translation:— ahead, with the astrazeneca vaccine. translation: the whole government and i must say — translation: the whole government and i must say the _ translation: the whole government and i must say the whole _ translation: the whole government and i must say the whole of _ translation: the whole government and i must say the whole of italy, - and i must say the whole of italy, is very active in ensuring that the vaccination campaign proceeds at the greatest possible speed with the greatest possible speed with the greatest possible speed with the greatest possible capacity. in contrast, back here in britain, where coronavirus cases are much lower than in the european union, summer holidays are now on the minds of many. but will it be possible to travel abroad, given the code of situation in the eu and other countries? be reporting the li; situation in the eu and other countries? be reporting the ly up shot of the _ countries? be reporting the ly up shot of the global _ countries? be reporting the ly up shot of the global travel - countries? be reporting the ly up shot of the global travel tasks - shot of the global travel tasks force on 12th april and of course, that will need to take into account notjust that will need to take into account not just vaccination that will need to take into account notjust vaccination rates here and infection rates but what is happening elsewhere in destination countries. iii
happening elsewhere in destination countries. . , happening elsewhere in destination countries. ., , ., ., countries. if travel is allowed, testin: countries. if travel is allowed, testing for _ countries. if travel is allowed, testing for covid _ countries. if travel is allowed, testing for covid and - countries. if travel is allowed, i testing for covid and vaccinations will be required. the earliest date of departure would be mid—may. the earliest date of departure would be mid—may. here, the government is coming under pressure to ease lockdown restrictions to allow protests to go ahead. more than 60 mps and peers have signed a letter warning that allowing police to criminalise people for protesting is "is not acceptable" and "arguably not lawful". 0ur political correspondent, jonathan blake is with me. there are concerns about immediate restrictions but also a wider sense going forward?— restrictions but also a wider sense going forward? yes, 60 politicians of va in: going forward? yes, 60 politicians of varying political _ going forward? yes, 60 politicians of varying political persuasion - going forward? yes, 60 politicians| of varying political persuasion have written to the home secretary with their concerns is about the impact of coronavirus restrictions during the current phase of lockdown on the right to protest. they have donagh in the wake of the high court appeal over the vigil linked to the death of sarah everard, in clapham common on last weekend, where the judge
hearing the the case didn't intervene but said that the right to protest and associated human rights could be considered as an exception and the signatories to this letter say that has created legal uncertainty, an entirely unsats trisituation they say which cannot continue. the home office make it clear that protesting as it stands is illegal and encouraging people to avoid it. the government said in nine days' time on 29th march when the next step of the road map out of lockdown happens, that it will be then legal for people to gather in groups and protest again, but that is not enough to the signatories of this letter who are more concerned with the more overarching limits as they say it on freedom of expression and freedom to protest. many thanks. let's take a look at some of today's other news. authorities in australia are warning of "life threatening" flash floods, as torrential rains batter parts of the east coast.
police say hundreds of people have flocked to evacuation centres in areas north of sydney. across australia's most populous state, new south wales, dozens of people have been rescued from floodwaters, and residents in many low—lying areas have been ordered to leave. councils across england will be eligible to apply for government funding to help cities, towns and coastal areas recover once coronavirus restrictions have eased. the communities secretary has announced a £56 million welcome back fund to help councils spruce up high streets and attract visitors. but labour says it's a "drop in the ocean" and "unclear which areas will benefit". the bbc�*s director—general, tim davie, has suggested that over—75s who do not pay the tv licence fee will not be threatened with legal action. the right to a free tv licence for the elderly ended last august for all, except those who receive the pension credit benefit. more than £16 million
has so far been raised for comic relief after last night's red nose day programme. 0livia colman, the duke of cambridge and daniel craig's james bond also made an appearance during the charity event, which took place with socially—distanced presenters and a virtual audience. a volcano in south—west iceland has erupted, releasing streams of lava from under the earth's surface. the fissure, just under 20 miles from the capital, reykjavik, is more than 500 metres long. it's the first eruption there in centuries and it follows thousands of small earthquakes in the area over recent weeks. danai howard reports. this is what icelanders have been waiting for for weeks now. a0 kilometres south of the capital reykjavik, lava began spewing from the ground on friday evening, and a no—fly zone has been established in the area. iceland sits between two tectonic plates, so eruptions aren't uncommon, but this is the first in fagradalsfjall in 900 years.
normally, there are around 1,000 tremors a year, but there have been more than 50,000 in the last three weeks — the highest number since digital recordings began in 1991. in 2010, the eruption of another volcano ejected a column of ash nine kilometres into the air that brought flights to a halt across europe. iceland's meteorological office says the lava from this eruption will emerge more slowly and not create such disruption. the small village of grindavik is just a few kilometres away. for weeks now, they have been affected by near constant earthquakes and tremors warning of the upcoming eruption. translation: the earth shook well outside, and when i came _ in with the luggage, the kitchen island was on its side and various things had come out of the cupboards. we thought we'd prepared! police have told residents to close their windows and stay indoors, due to the risk of gas pollution carried by the wind. and after 900 years of volcanic inactivity, people in the area have been flooding social media
with photos and videos of this formidable sight. danai howard, bbc news. with all the sport now, here's sarah mulkerrins at the bbc sport centre. good afternoon. there's a huge day of rugby in the six nations, with all the teams in action. it starts at murrayfield with scotland against italy, followed by ireland versus england in dublin. and then it's the big one, as wales take on france in paris, looking for another grand slam title. austin halewood reports. ireland, scotland, england, italy — a perfect six nations for wales so far. the team only won two matches in all of 2020. now they are the team to beat, and they are just one win away from a fifth six nations grand slam. the sense of pride we have in representing wales has been
accentuated by obviously the offfield situation that's going on, so we're not going to shy away. we know with the experience we have, the experiences we've had in the past, this is a new task. should wales beat france in paris, alun wynjones would be the man lifting the trophy. he'd be the first welsh player in history to win four grand slams, and at 35, he isjust as important to the team as always been. to the team as he's always been. if it's a monday morning or a grand slam game, he is exactly the same. the way he trains is so intense, and he brings out the best in everybody around him. he really leads by example on and off the pitch. his first cup was in 2006, and in 2021 he's still going strong. but france can spoil the party. if they beat wales and win the rearranged match with scotland, they can win the title. the french public has great hopes for this young, ambitious team, and after losing to england last weekend, they will be desperate not to let their fans down again. the grand slams i've won in cardiff, this is tougher wales, because they are going to a french
team that's firing, playing good rugby. i think they've got the experience to win the game. there are a lot of players that have won big games, that have won big games. after a shaky start, wales have begun to thrive. sealing a grand slam on foreign soil isn't far from the ultimate test, but if there's one thing this welsh team have done all year, it's upset the odds. peter lorimer, one of leeds united's greatest players, has died at the age of 7a after a long illness. he was famed as a ferocious striker of the ball, and after making his debut aged just 15 he became their leading scorer with 238 goals — a record that stands to this day. he was part of the team that won two league titles, the fa cup and league cup under legendary manager don revie in the late �*60s and early �*705. lorimer also won 21 caps for scotland and played in all three of their matches at the 1974 world cup.
the club said his passing left a huge hole in the leeds united family and his legacy at elland road would live on. peter lorimer, who has died at the age of 7a. the first of the weekend's fa cup quarterfinals is under way — southampton are at bournemouth, the last remaining championship side in the competition. and the visitors are 2—0 up at half—time — nathan redmond with their second goal. there will be no overseas fans at the this summer's delayed tokyo olympics and paralympics after organisers announced they would not be permitted. the decision comes amid widespread concerns among the japanese public, with continuing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. the british olympic association said it would be very sad if family and friends of athletes weren't allowed to travel.
and finally — england have won the toss and put india into bat in the their t20 decider. you can follow it on the bbc sport website and app. you can see more on all of today's stories on the bbc news channel. the next news on bbc one is at ten past five. bye for now. hello. you're watching the bbc news channel. as we've been hearing, much of europe is back under lockdown, with a third surge in coronavirus infections. catherine smallwood is the senior emergency 0fficer at the world health organisation in europe and she explained what was behind the rise in infections. it's certainly partly because of the b117 variant, which was first identified in the uk in december. the classic pattern that we have
seen throughout this pandemic of infections starting in western europe and moving gradually eastwards, and we are seeing this particular variant of concern very, very gradually, but very, very clearly replacing other circulating variants and taking up a bigger proportion of the cases. as it is doing that, of course, being more transmissible, being more severe in terms of the clinical picture, it is leading to bigger pressure on hospitals. but it is not the only reason either. partly, there is a frustration, as your previous correspondent said, a big push to relax public health measures, and the pandemic fatigue that has affected us all is also taking its toll. but the situation seen in poland is being seen in many countries across central and southern europe at the moment. and what about the whole problem with europe and the vaccine roll—out? how big a part is that playing?
and how much urgency is there now for the eu to really step up on that front? well, remember, geeta, that the first primary objective of the early phase of vaccine roll—out is to target those people who are at most risk of developing severe covid—19 and then potentially going on to die from it, and that is why it is the older age groups and people with other chronic diseases that have been targeted first. that means the greater proportion of the adult population, including in countries that are really far along in terms of their vaccine uptake, have still got the majority of the population that are contributing to the spread of covid still not vaccinated. so this is the case across the world and across the european region, as well, and it will take some time before the vaccination rates go up to a level where we would see those particular groups that are driving disease transmission being vaccinated themselves. and just slightly self interestedly,
if you don't mind, given the increase in europe, what about these reports of fears that, for example, in the uk we will not be able to have summer travel outside the country? i mean, any threat in any region has an impact globally, doesn't it, if we want international travel? absolutely. we cannot talk about the interest of one country or one city or one part of the world. this is so interconnected. and we have really got to come out of this together. it is in everyone's self interest for us all to come out of this pandemic together, and that will be the quickest route back to being able to get back to travelling around the world, doing those things that we used to do that we would like to get back to. and with that in mind, there has been a leaked report covered by bbc�*s newsnight programme this week about poorer nations asking the world health organization to help them to get hold of vaccines and some pushback from
richer countries on that. i am not familiar with the specific documents that you are referring to, but it has been who's position throughout this pandemic, notjust in the context of vaccine but for all countermeasures, whether it is ppe, whether it is essential medicines, or whether it is the vaccine, that we need an equitable distribution and allocation framework, that we need to do our best to all to come together and look at the public health good here. we are in a global pandemic, an extraordinary situation, to the extent that we have never seen before, at least in the last 100 years, so if we are not going to pull together and make sure that we can do this as a global community now, then when are we going to do that? we have seen some of the south african and brazil variants coming through in europe and even in the uk, despite much tougher travel restrictions, how are these new cases emerging given the controls? and does that mean that actually everyone should brace themselves for international travel to be suspended for some time?
it is a great question. itjust goes to show that applying travel restrictions unfortunately is not sufficient in making sure that we can prevent the spread of new variants that emerge. new variants will emerge, this is a natural part of the virus, the evolution of the virus, and they will spread. so, the best way to prevent the emergence of new variants, and specifically new variants that have different transmission capabilities or different disease severity, is to control disease transmission in the first place. the more the virus spreads in our populations, the more likely it is that they variants will emerge. if they have an inflationary advantage against other lineages and other variants, they will spread that, and that is certainly what we are seeing in europe with the b117 variant, it is now spreading in approximately 50 countries. this is a fact and we need
to deal with that fact. no matter what angle you take to this question, you always come back to this final answer, which is we need to reduce transmission using everything we have, including vaccination. brazil has registered its second highest coronavirus toll in the past 2a hours with more than 2,700 and almost 90,000 new infections. deaths the country is in the midst of a record surge in cases as a local variant spreads through the region, pushing the country's health system to breaking point. the head of intensive care at emilio ribas hospital in sao paolo says the current surge in covid—19 is increasingly hitting people under 60. translation: today, we face a prospect that the situation . will get worse because the patients we were admitting have a slightly different profile than before. we are seeing more younger patients with very serious conditions and no underlying health issues.
the tokyo 2020 olympic organising committee has confirmed that international spectators will not be allowed to enterjapan during the olympic games which are scheduled for this summer. our sports correspondent alex capstick gave us this update earlier. this has been well signposted for a few weeks. in fact, there was a leak from inside the japanese government earlier this month, which suggested that this was going to happen. foreign fans were going to be barred from attending the games. today, that has been made official. it follows a meeting with the organisers of tokyo 2020, the japanese government, the tokyo metropolitan government, and both the ioc and the international paralympic committee. those two organisations both fully support this decision which has been made essentially by the japanese government. they have always said that their priority was for these games to be as safe and secure as possible. and with tokyo currently in lockdown, under emergency measures, the failure to control
the pandemic around the world, this decision was coming. it will be hugely disappointing, obviously, for fans around the world who were hoping to attend the olympics injapan this year. they now will not be allowed to, as you said in your introduction. they will get a refund, although costs related to hotel rooms and that sort of stuff, they will not get their money back on that from the local organisers anyway. willjapanese spectators be allowed? that decision is yet to come. that will be made in april. fans are watching live sport injapan, they are going into the stadiums right now. sometimes in quite large numbers. so fans are expected to attend the games or competitions, venues. how many? they do not know. there may be a cap on the number that go to those events. it has been suggested they could allow them to be full for the games, but that is a decision which has to come. there was comments from the international olympic committee... in fact, sebastian coe,
the head of world athletics, said earlier this week he thought the decision on foreign fans should be delayed until closer to the games. that has not happened because organisers wanted to make a decision mainly for logistical reasons. because people had reserved rooms, they had reserved flights, they felt it was only fair to make that decision as soon as possible before the torch relay starts later this week. what is the sense of the public mood injapan itself? are they keen to have this obviously very prestigious set of events happen or are they really worried about international teams, with the huge staff that come with them, coming into their country? i think the mood injapan has played a role in this decision. recent polls suggest that 80% of the japanese public either want the games postponed, delayed again until next year, or cancelled altogether. that has clearly worried organisers, it is clearly worried government officials as well. as has been consistently said by the organisers and the international olympic committee,
it is only fair for them to hold an olympic games that is as safe and secure as possible for the japanese public. they have clearly been worried about the influx of foreign fans. they are also worried about the 10,500... 15,500 olympic and paralympic athletes who will attend the games, all of their entourage, coaches and officials, and tens of thousands of media who are due to attend the event. closing off foreign fans will appease some of them, but many of them will still be worried about these games taking place at all. is a definite that they will go ahead or is it still actually an open question? if you talk to the local officials, the international olympic committee, the games are going ahead. it is not whether they go ahead, it is how they will go ahead. they have got lots of covid countermeasures in place, playbooks that have been given to athletes, given to officials, given to members of the media, with the clear instructions on how they should behave when
they get to the games. people will be kept inside bubbles, they will not be allowed to travel on public transport, go to local shops, restaurants, they will have to stay within the games infrastructure, accredited venues only. those are in place, they are clear for everyone. athletes seem to be happy with them. you mentioned in your introduction, this will be mainly a televised event. it has been said, that it is, for most people in the world, a televised event anyway, the olympics, and perhaps it will not look that different, especially if local fans are allowed inside the venues. of course, the overall experience, which is a meeting place for people around the world, that will disappear from this event, because foreign fans will not be allowed, and athletes will not be allowed, to mingle as much as they have done in the past. pakistan's prime minister imran khan has tested positive for covid—19. he was vaccinated just two days ago. according to the country's health minister, mr khan is self—isolating at home. pakistan has recently seen a sharp
rise in coronavirus infection. learning a language might have been an aspiration for many of us in lockdown, but now new figures here in the uk show there's been a boom in people learning one in particular — welsh. and notjust in the uk — people have been learning it all over the world too. tomos morgan meets some of the people in far flung places who've taken it up. i dysgu cymraeg nawr, to learn welsh now, the classroom's gone online, just like everything else over the last year. since i was a baby. but these classes aren't just for those living here in wales that can't speak the language. they're full of learners from all over the world. i will give you an eight out of ten for that, that's pretty good. people like student nicole gallegos who lives in,
yes, you guessed it, costa rica. not your usual hotbed for celtic languages, i'll admit. she began studying in october on a language app after realising that her surname has a welsh connection. i heard that the gallegos people are like a combination of spanish and welsh people that came to the land many years ago, so gallegos kind of has a little bit of welsh in it. and heraim? to be fluent and to come and study in cardiff in the future. it would be super, super cool if i could go and study there after i finish studying here. the royal welsh college of music and drama in cardiff, is it? yes, that's right. i wasn't quite good enough to get in there, so if you do, you'll have done very doing well. thank you. last year, welsh was the fastest—growing language in the uk on duolingo, and the number of users worldwide learning welsh has increased by 100,000 since october, with a fifth of all students based in america and even someone in antarctica.
so we're here just outside doorn in the netherlands... back to a more familiar time zone in holland and jen bailey, an australian music conductor, has also taken to studying one of the oldest languages in in europe over the pandemic. without the social interaction of the orchestra over the last year, the added interaction online, on facebook, has been a huge relief for her. some people live in wales and some of them, like me, come from across the world, no particular family connection, no reason whatsoever to learn welsh, and that gave a tribe and it gave validation, it's not completely weird to learn welsh. but this increased interest has meant that online classes have been overwhelmed with a lack of teachers to meet the demand. we were surprised initially that anyone would be interested in wanting to learn online. i've been running online chat
clubs all over the world, people from all over the world connecting, and ijust put up the chat club and it fills up within a few hours and then i have to turn people away. as face—to face socialising begins again, will welsh continue to flourish as the pandemic eases? for now, there's still plenty of grammar yet to be learned. tomos morgan, bbc news, cardiff. brilliantly impressive, aren't they? now it's time for a look at the weather with ben rich. iam afraid i am afraid i will not be doing the weather in welsh. we will do english this time i think. it is looking mainly fine and dry this afternoon, but cloudy for many. you can see that on the satellite picture. best of this and tend to be found across parts of eastern scotland and down into north—east england. that is where we are going to have the highest temperatures this afternoon. 0ne highest temperatures this afternoon. one or two places could get all the
way up to around 17 degrees. more generally across the uk, 11—111. there is a frontal system bringing some rain across the far north of scotland. so tonight, that will push its way southwards, the rain very light and very patchy, but mind at the cloud should start to break up a little bit more. we will see some clear spells and places by the end of the night, allowing temperatures across parts of central and southern scotland to get quite close to freezing. tomorrow should be a sunny day generally, there will still be some patchy cloud around, but more on the way of sunshine. however, not quite as warm as it is today for those parts of south—east scotland, north—east england. 10—11 the high for tomorrow. north—east england. 10—11 the high fortomorrow. it north—east england. 10—11 the high for tomorrow. it says mainly dry into monday. .
this is bbc news with me. the headlines. there are braces itself for a third wave of coronavirus infections with breast lockdowns in france and poland. 0rganisers of the summer's tokyo 0lympics france and poland. 0rganisers of the summer's tokyo olympics and paralympics say no international fans will be allowed because of concerns over the pandemic. reaching a milestone as borisjohnson gets his jab, the government announces half of all adults in the uk have been vaccinated. hot lava lights up the night sky as a volcano erupts near the icelandic capital at reykjavik. the former leeds and scotland footballer peter lorimer has died at the age of 7a after a
long illness. now on bbc news, zeinab badawi presents global questions. hello, and welcome to global questions with me, zeinab badawi. are people becoming intimidated into not expressing their opinions freely in public? many have been de—platformed or boycotted because of their views. has cancel culture gone too far? we hear both sides of the debate. well, to bring you this addition of global questions, our two panelists and our questioners join us via video link from all over the world. let me tell you who is in the hot seat this week giving the answers.