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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 27, 2021 11:00pm-11:30pm BST

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this is bbc news, with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. as evidence grows that the official death toll in india's covid crisis is a massive under—estimate, we have reports from our correspodents around the country. some districts in maharashtra have reported a massive 700% rise, as compared to last year in the first wave. in brazil, president bolsonaro is now under formal investigation for his handling of the pandemic. 400,000 brazilians have died of covid. the pressure mounts on borisjohnson over how the renovation of his flat in downing street was funded, with the opposition demanding a detailed explanation. it's back to royal duties for the duke and duchess of cambridge, and the queen herself — the first public engagements since the death of prince philip.
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hello, welcome to bbc news. i'm shaun ley. india's official death toll from the covid—19 pandemic is approaching 200,000, with reports suggesting the numbers could be twice as high. crematoriums in the capital delhi have been forced to build makeshift funeral pyres, as the city runs out of space for its dead. but, while there has been a lot of reporting from the big cities, what is happening in smaller towns and rural areas of this vast nation of 1.3 billion people? the bbc�*s indian language services correspondents are based across the country and have sent this update. india's western maharashtra is the worst—affected state
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by the covid—19 pandemic. along the with cities like mumbai and camille, it's rural areas like where i am today are also suffering from a rise in coronavirus cases. some districts in maharashtra have reported a massive 700% rise, as compared to last year in the first wave. the availability of icu beds is a major cause of concern as a few districts have already ran out. maharashtra is the home of the world's biggest vaccine maker, but one in ten indians have managed to receive the covid—i9 jab so far. the north indian state of punjab has the highest death rate in the country and is a major cause of concern. experts say that people are reluctant to get themselves tested for covid—19. this is a major factor contributing to the high death rate.
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outside this district hospital, people have told me that covid does not exist. they say it has been created by the authorities to stop protests by farmers who have been gathering in big numbers since last year. health experts say that people only reach hospitals after developing serious complications — when it is not easy to save them. here in this state, elections remain the main focus up until now. - i'm outside this covid - hospital here in calcutta. —— kolkata. the health care system . is under severe pressure. people are now worried as 15—16,000 new cases are being reported - every day in the state. during the past month, | people have been voting here for the state elections and huge campaign - rallies were organised. thousands of people attended those
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rallies, most of them didn't - wear a mask or didn't - maintain physical distancing. the rallies were attended by the prime minister- and the home minister, l who flew down from delhi almost every other day. but people are now frightened that cases may explode. - gujarat has refused to enforce lockdown even though the cases and deaths are rising. as you can see, this is a busy crossroads and the likes of many people here have remained unchanged. we talked to a few people over here and found that they were out on the streets to purchase nonessential commodities. gujarat is governed by prime minister modi's political party — it says there is no scientific basis that says lockdown stops the spread of the virus. it also says that lockdown harms the economy.
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some trade unions have imposed self restrictions in many parts of the state. the government says that everyone should follow norms to control covid — something which is not seen here. here, we're 80 km away from mumbai. it is at this hospital where 24 people died because of an oxygen leak. for half an hour, there is no oxygen, leaving covid patients gasping for air. two days after the leak, the hospital on the outskirts of mumbai caught fire, leaving 13 people dead. in another incident in mumbai, another hospital caught fire, leaving 11 people dead. as india struggles with its growing covid crisis, everything is in short supply — from beds to oxygen, to medicine. the entire system is stretched out at a time when india needs all the help he can get.
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-- all —— all the help it can get. i'm joined now by bhramar mukherjee, professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the university of michigan. thank you very much for being with us on bbc news. let us start on the statistical question — how difficult and why has it been to measure the impact of covid—i9 in terms of both infections and deaths in india? thank you for that question. so, reporting of deaths over covid—i9 has been death to make a challenge to some extent in every country. and lead us decouple the problem because many silent or asymptomatic infections are hard to catch. in terms of deaths, many of the deaths are misclassified because the cause of death is assigned to be another co—morbidity like heart disease or kidney failure. so, one way to get
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around this is to actually look at seroprevalence surveys and do more calculations which can give you an accurate assessment of what happened, what is the impact of covid—i9. we have done those calculations in order to supplement the reported data in india— and even in the first wave, there was an underestimating factor of 10—20 for infections and an underestimating factor of two to five for deaths, depending on where you were, it's had a huge heterogeneity across india. it's hard to know what's going on across the ground without the data. ~ , ., , . . . the data. why does the data matter? because peeple _ the data. why does the data matter? because people watching _ the data. why does the data matter? because people watching will- the data. why does the data matter? because people watching will say, i because people watching will say, look, the individual death matters very much to the people involved, the friends and family, but actually it's the overall numbers that don't really matter in this is that they aren't affecting the medical care
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they can be provided. so why are we so hung up on this statistical question? i’d so hung up on this statistical question?— so hung up on this statistical cuestion? �* ~ ., . . question? i'd like to argue that it does matter. _ question? i'd like to argue that it does matter, because _ question? i'd like to argue that it does matter, because based - question? i'd like to argue that it does matter, because based on i question? i'd like to argue that it. does matter, because based on past data, we make projections, we anticipate the need for how many infections will need oxygen supply, how many hospital beds will be needed. so if you don't have good past historical data, we cannot really do our projection work or forecasting work accurately. and i think it's good for the public, good for the policymakers, everyone in the modelers to know the truth. the truth is always better than fiction. just briefly, is india out of step with other countries on this — not in terms of the reporting numbers, but in the sense of the proportion of people affected? in terms of comparing countries proportions of the population, is its issues
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consistent or out of step? it seems like ou consistent or out of step? it seems like you could _ consistent or out of step? it seems like you could compare _ consistent or out of step? it seems like you could compare with - consistent or out of step? it seems like you could compare with other. like you could compare with other countries and i could only talk about the number of tests that are being done. many states in india right now have a 30—a0% test positivity rate. that tells us that not enough tests are being done. and the second thing is, in terms of death reporting, even without covid, india has a very broken reporting structure. more than 50% of deaths are not medically reported — and now with the surge, i think the system has crumbled. i really want to say that maybe it's a fundamental problem with the reporting structure, but the problem seems to be acute. ., , . ~ i. be acute. professor, thank you so much for being — be acute. professor, thank you so much for being with _ be acute. professor, thank you so much for being with us _ be acute. professor, thank you so much for being with us on - be acute. professor, thank you so much for being with us on bbc - be acute. professor, thank you so . much for being with us on bbc news. 0ur international viewers will be seeing a focus on india and its coronavirus crisis throughout the coming day, and there will be a special programme on the surge in cases, which will include first—hand reporting from our teams of correspondents. that's on bbc world
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news at 1500 gmt. the upper house of the brazillian congress has opened an inquiry into the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic — a move that could prove politically damaging for presidentjair bolsonaro as he seeks re—election next year. brazil has recorded the world's second—highest number of deaths fom the pandemic. but the president has attempted to stop state governors from imposing lockdowns and mandating the use of masks. 0ur correspondent mark lowen is in sao paulo and sent us this update. well, president bolsonaro was sounding very bullish about this commission of inquiry when he spoke to reporters, saying that he had nothing to fear and that he owed nothing to the commission of inquiry. but when you read the list of the issues that they are looking at, it is really a damning indictment of president bolsonaro's handling — or, indeed, mishandling — of the pandemic. they will be asking whether he minimised the severity of the virus, why he was consistently
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anti—lockdown, anti—any kind of restrictions, whether he promoted scientifically unproven cures like hydroxychloroquine, why there was a critical shortage of medical equipment and beds and syringes, why vaccines were too slow to be bought, especially when he received offers of vaccine procurement and turned them down, whether he allowed the virus to spread to try to achieve herd immunity and, indeed, whether the government is guilty of genocide against indigenous communities in the amazon — where the manaus variant, the pi variant that is very much more transmissible, was allowed to rip through that region at the end of last year uncontrolled and unchecked. now, the commission will continue for some weeks and months, and it is likely to come down to intense politicking and horse—trading between bolsonaro, between the commission, to try to minimise the damage, but the damage could be very serious.
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it could potentially recommend impeachment, it could recommend criminal charges, even, against the president. his political future very much hangs in the balance, and so do his chances of reelection next year. within the last few minutes, the health minister has reported over 3086 new coronavirus deaths, bringing the total to 390,022. the us health authorities say americans fully vaccinated against the coronavirus are no longer obliged to wear facemasks outdoors, except at crowded events such as concerts. the centers for disease control hopes its updated advice will motivate more americans to get vaccinated. speaking on the white house's north lawn, president biden urged americans to go get theirjab so the country can put some meaning into this year's "independence day". beginning today, gathering with a group of friends in a park, going for a picnic — as long as you are vaccinated
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and outdoors, you can do it without a mask. the cdc is able to make this announcement because our scientists are convinced by the data that the odds of getting or giving the virus to others is very, very low if you've both been fully vaccinated and out in the open air. peter bowes is in los angeles. peter, joe biden has been determined to draw a contrast with his experience of covid to his predecessor, donald trump. how worried do you think the federal authorities are in the us about vaccination rates, what might be called vaccine resistance? i think it's clear that _ called vaccine resistance? i think it's clear that this _ called vaccine resistance? i think it's clear that this announcement called vaccine resistance? i think. it's clear that this announcement is in large part offering an incentive to people to get the vaccination. now the president has talked about there being a stunning progress in
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there being a stunning progress in the past few weeks, as far as the roll—out of the vaccine is concerned— and it is very true that things have gone very well across the country, with aboutjust under a third of all americans having had both their vaccination shots and just over 50% having had one. in the incentive is that you can get back to some semblance of normality, you can not wear a mask and go out in public outside, and meet a group of friends. clearly the point is that, if you've had both those vaccination shots, this will open up that opportunity and move americans closer towards that goal, july the 4th, independence day was set by the president sometime ago as the date when the entire country would get back to some semblance of normality. he's announcing this at the end of apriljust encourage more people to get that vaccine. it has been a major concern over the last few weeks with a number of people actually getting the first vaccine
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but, for whatever reasons, not going back to get the second. and he is making the point that the scientific advisers, the government advisers are saying, "look, it is now safe to be outside without a mask, don't go outside to a concert or a crowded event, but if you're outside with a relatively few people around you, it is safe and you can live your life." peter, thank you very much. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: 25 years ago, australia's port arthur massacre ushered in a new wave of sweeping gun control reforms. we'll look at the legacy of those laws and their impact today. nothing, it seems, was too big to withstand the force of the tornado. the extent of the devastation will lead to renewed calls for government help to build better housing. internationally, there have already been protests. sweden says it received no
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warning of the accident. indeed, the russians at first denied anything had gone wrong. only when radioactivity levels begin to increase outside russia were they forced to admit the accident. for the mujahideen, the mood here is of great celebration. this is the end of a 12—year war for them, they've taken the capital which they've been fighting for for so long. it was 7am in the morning on the day when power began to pass _ from the minority to the majority — when africa, after 300 years, - reclaimed its last white colony. this is bbc news, the latest headlines... it's the 25th anniversary of the port arthur massacre
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in tasmania, an event which left deep scars on the lives and psyche of australians and shaped the countries' gun laws to the present day. 35 people were killed and 23 injured on 28 april, 1996, when a lone gunman opened fire at the historic site of port arthur. at the time, most australian states had no requirement to register guns. sweeping reforms of gun laws followed despite opposition from the gun lobby. 25 years on, have these controls protected australians and are there lessons for other countries whose gun laws continue to cause controversy? let's speak to rebecca peters, a global expert on firearm policy and a person who played a critical role in australia's gun law reforms. rebecca, thank you very much for joining us today. i suspect anniversary of port arthur is a sombre day for anyone who lived through it. but even for somebody like you who dealt with the
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consequences, it must always be a very pressing reminder of how awful that terrible day was. yes. very pressing reminder of how awful that terrible day was.— that terrible day was. yes, it really was — that terrible day was. yes, it really was and, _ that terrible day was. yes, it really was and, although - that terrible day was. yes, it - really was and, although something good came out of it in terms of our gun laws, it'sjust good came out of it in terms of our gun laws, it's just a time today, thinking of all those families, those kids who never grew up, those parents and grandparents who never saw their kids and grandkids grow up, and the survivors were still coping with the consequences all these years later. we paid a very high price for our new gun laws. what was it about the circumstances in which the gun man himself was able to acquire guns and ammunition that made, at some point, this was bound to happen somewhere in australia even if it wasn't in tasmania or that particular state. it was dutch tasmania was the most
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likely place it would happen, because the gun laws in australia vary state by state, and the weakest laws were in tasmania. so for example, semi automatic weapons, assault weapons were banned in some states of australia, but easily available in places like tasmania. so in a sense, tasmania was the most likely place where it could happen. and we knew that, and we had had just a couple months before the massacre at dunblane in scotland, when that happened, many of us thought it was only a matter of time before we got a really big tragedy in australia. dan before we got a really big tragedy in australia.— in australia. don blaine of course was a terrible _ in australia. don blaine of course was a terrible incident _ in australia. don blaine of course was a terrible incident because i in australia. don blaine of course l was a terrible incident because the man who committed those murders went to a school and effectively wiped out a generation of schoolchildren and their teacher. we also had the hungerford massacre in england which was a large number of fatalities in one small town in england, all from one small town in england, all from one assailant. it's notjust about
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the law, but also the interaction of the law, but also the interaction of the law, but also the interaction of the law and the people who sell guns, manufacture guns, other gun users who will often say after the events, "well, we did think he was a bit odd, we were uneasy about him," but it never led to anyone taking action. what is it about the action that you hoped would would be recognised in other countries as well as something that needs to be changed? in well as something that needs to be chanced? .. well as something that needs to be chanced? ~ , . . changed? in fact, in australia, we did used to _ changed? in fact, in australia, we did used to have _ changed? in fact, in australia, we did used to have mass _ changed? in fact, in australia, we did used to have mass shootingsl did used to have mass shootings about once a year in the old days, although they had never been as large as port arthur. but what was crucial at the time of port arthur, and what i hope other countries would learn from our experience, is that in the past, the opposition from organised gun lobby created a lot of noise and usually one political party or the other would back the gun lobby. what happened after port arthur was the two major political parties agreed this was not a party political issue, it was clear what needed to be done. and
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i've heard this from politicians and other countries too — privately they'll say they know what policy changes need to be made, but they can't take the clinical risk. but if the major political parties act together, that leaves the opposition with nowhere to go. that was the amazing thing that happened at port arthur, the major political parties said, "enough is enough, we will agree on this," and that was what made it possible to go forward. rebecca peters, you've done so much work on this including winning the human rights metalfor all you did. thank you so much for talking to us, i know some australians will have this as a day of remembrance as well as a day of celebration that things have improved. thank you so much. thank you. the pressure on borisjohnson shows no sign of easing as he faces renewed questions about the funding for renovating his downing street flat. mrjohnson�*s former adviser, dominic cummings, has claimed that the prime minister planned to get secret donations to pay for the work.
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but number ten said that the refurbishment costs have been met by the prime minister personally. the opposition has demanded full details of the way 0ur deputy political editor vicki young reports. leading the country and setting the tone for the rest of government. the decisions prime ministers make every day in this room have far—reaching consequences for us all. they won't always be right, but criticism of borisjohnson isn't just about hisjudgment, it's fast becoming about his integrity. everywhere they go, ministers are being asked similar questions about their boss's behaviour. has the prime minister- broken the rules, mr raab? that refers to the expensive refurbishment of the flat mrjohnson shares with his fiancee. the prime minister's former adviser dominic cummings says the tory leader tried to get party donors to secretly pay for the renovations. labour say it's time to come clean. who has given the loan? who has given the money? we need to know who the prime minister, who borisjohnson is beholden to for who has paid for his furniture, his sofa
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and the bed he sleeps in. and we haven't had that full and frank explanation from the prime minister so far. to be honest, he lied yesterday. that is not good enough. downing street says mrjohnson personally met the cost of wider refurbishment in this year, but hasn't denied that someone else originally picked up the bill. if they did, the rules say that must be made public. the reason why we have these rules around transparency is so that the public know who decision—makers, up to and including the prime minister, what their interests are and to be clear that they are acting on behalf of the people, on behalf of citizens and taxpayers, and that they are not overly influenced by donations or loans or private interests. number ten insists mrjohnson has acted in accordance with codes of conduct and electoral rules. many conservative mps i have spoken to are keen to downplay the significance of all of this. 0ne minister said borisjohnson has
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a knack of getting away with things that others wouldn't. but there is concern that lots of individual, unrelated accusations could combine together and erode trust in the prime minister. one of the most damaging accusations mrjohnson faces is about his views on shutting down the country because of covid. he denied saying he would rather see "bodies pile high" than approve a third lockdown, but sources told the bbc and other media organisations that he did make the remark. it's another question being fired at cabinet ministers. i don't need to worry about who may, or didn't say what and when. the prime minister said he didn't say it, that's good enough for me. actually, saving lives is where it matters and that is what the prime minister's done. mrjohnson would rather focus on campaigning ahead of next week's elections, but there are bucketloads of questions still to be answered. the queen has been photographed for the first time carrying out an official engagement
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since the funeral of prince philip. she held audiences with foreign diplomats — via videolink. meanwhile the duke and duchess of cambridge have been visiting a family farm in county durham two days before their tenth wedding anniversary. 0ur royal correspondent nicholas witchell reports. cheering can it really be ten years? but, yes, it can. ten years ago this week, they were on the balcony of buckingham palace after their wedding at westminster abbey. now, a decade later, william and catherine are more heavily committed than ever to the demands of royal duty. today was not untypical. they were to be found on a farm near darlington in county durham, and so there were close encounters with some of the cleanest sheep you're likely to find, there was a very large tractor which, of course, just had to be driven. william went first — a quick circuit of the field, no mishaps, nothing damaged — and then it was time for catherine to have a go — a moment of intense concentration,
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better driving than me, i must say. i'll be back with more later, you're watching bbc news. hello. april 2021 is now officially the frostiest april on record. that is since records began in 1960 and it is based on the number of frosty nights we've seen. every night so far this april, temperatures have fallen below freezing and we've had an air frost. it may well be the case though that as we make our way into the early hours of wednesday, we escape and there's a lot of cloud sitting across the uk at the moment thanks to an area of low pressure sinking its way south. quite a strong wind across scotland and where skies clear, the chance of frost will be pretty limited. here's the centre of that low as we get wednesday underway to the south of the uk. to the north, the skies are clearer but there will be some chilly air around,
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those isobars are close together and that means a stiff north easterly wind. the heaviest of the shower on wednesday would be close to the low centre for wales, the midlands and the southwest of england. certainly for the first part of the day, some of the wind will drift further eastwards later in the afternoon. some isolated showers across the scotland and northern ireland but more in the way of sunny spells here. but generally quite a chilly field to proceedings across the north across the uk as we pick up the northwesterly, northeasterly, i should say, wind. the low pulls away towards the continent on thursday, as it does so, the northeasterly wind drags arctic air right away across the uk. the isobars open up as well. without the strength of the wind, that leaves us open to seeing quite a wider spread of frost as we move into the early hours on thursday. perhaps the southeast still close enough to the low to escape. through the day, there will be a lot of sunshine across the uk, but it will feel chilly and particularly on the north sea coast.
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just light breezes in contrast to wednesday, but with lighter breezes, where we do see some showers developing and we are seeing some that will be quite slow—moving. locally some heavy downpours but disappointing temperatures with ten to 12 as highs. things look very similar for friday and indeed it looks like we will hold on to a cooler air and light winds and like we will hold on to a cooler air and light winds and some decent spells of sunshine, but isolated showers as we move into the bank holiday weekend. but what will be a talking point for us is the overnight frost.
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you're watching bbc world news. i'm shaun ley with the headlines: there's mounting evidence that the indian government has been under—reporting the number of deaths from covid—19. deaths recorded by crematoria in delhi may be double the official figures. brazil's national congress has launched an inquiry into the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. the disease has killed almost 400,000 people. president bolsonaro has been widely criticised for his anti—lockdown and anti—vaccine stance. the us has updated its public health recommendations for coronavirus safety. presidentjoe biden says americans vaccinated against covid no longer need to wear masks outdoors, except at crowded events or in public spaces. the pressure mounts on borisjohnson over how the renovation of his flat in downing street was funded, the opposition demanding a detailed explanation. you're watching world news from the bbc.


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