this is bbc news. i'm lukwesa burak with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. the new omicron strain of coronavirus is detected across europe — with cases confirmed in germany, italy, belgium, the czech republic and the uk. this is the responsible course of action, to slow down the seeding and the spread of this new variant and to maximise our defences. several european countries take action to counter the spread — while israel which has also detected a case plans to ban the entry of all foreigners. how afghan healthcare is being cut off by the lack of foreign funds, following the seizing of power
by the taliban. unicef are saying up to one million women and children could die from malnutrition. it is a humanitarian catastrophe. the family and friends of one of those who died in the channel when their small boat capsized, tells the bbc that she was kind hearted, and humble. and the legendary us composer and lyricist, stephen sondheim, who was behind some of broadway's best known musicals, has died at the age of 91. hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world.
cases of the new omicron strain of coronavirus are being detected across europe — the latest being a first case in the czech republic — with the spread prompting countries around the world to heighten vigilance over the variant. it comes a day after the world health organization described omicron as a "variant of concern" and potentially more contagious than previous strains. british prime minister borisjohnson has announced fresh measures to halt its spread after health officials confirmed two cases have been detected in england. anyone now arriving from abroad will have to take a pcr test. a european case had already been confirmed in belgium. but now, italian health officials say a case has been confirmed there. germany also confirmed two cases of the omicron variant on saturday.
our political correspondent, iain watson, begins our coverage. it sounds like the title of a science—fiction novel — the omicron variant. but this latest version of covid, complete with many more mutations, is all too real. two cases have been identified here in the uk. the scientists say they need to learn more about it, but here's the reason the government's reacting swiftly to its presence... it does appear that omicron spreads very rapidly and can be spread between people who are double vaccinated. so, for the first time since the summer, there will be new restrictions in england. from next week, wearing masks in shops and on public transport will be mandatory, as it is now in scotland, wales and northern ireland, and if you're returning from abroad, compulsory pcr tests are being reintroduced. and that's not all...
we will require all contacts of those who test positive with a suspected case of omicron to self—isolate for ten days, regardless of your vaccination status. and here's one reason why... there are quite extensive mutations on the spike protein, which is an important part of the virus, and the reason that is important is that is the bit which all the vaccines are against, so there is a reasonable chance that at least there will be some degree of vaccine escape with this variant. and the new measures will be reviewed just before christmas. how likely is it that those restrictions could be ratcheted up in three weeks' time, rather than wound down, and can you say with any confidence at the moment that people can keep their christmas plans? i'm pretty confident, or absolutely confident, this christmas will be considerably better than last christmas. but the new measures aren't the entirety of the government's plan b.
advice to work from home and vaccine passports in england are still in the back pocket. i was told that boosting the vaccination programme was more important because even if it turns out vaccines are less good at stopping infection from the new variant, they could still offer protection against serious illness. we must boost the defences we have, which is why booster vaccines are so important, and go really hard and quick to get those booster vaccines across as many people as possible. the prime minister was criticised for not acting swiftly enough in the face of the delta variant. this time he is acting quickly, but the opposition say that in england he should be going further than the restrictions that he's willing to introduce. the government's plan b has always been our plan a. we think that mask wearing should be commonplace in public spaces, especially indoors, we think that people should be able to work from home where that is possible. i think we should have been doing all those things already, so of course we want them to be doing that now. the government say the new measures
are targeted at slowing the spread of the omicron variant, buying time for vaccines to be modified if necessary. butjust as the beginning of the end of the pandemic was being predicted, we are now facing a period of uncertainty. iain watson, bbc news, westminster. there are reports that israel is planning to announce a ban on entering the country for all foreigners — as well as reintroducing counter—terrorism phone—tracking technology to contain the spread of the new variant. prime minister, naftali bennett, said in a statement that the ban, pending government approval, would last 14 days. israel, the first country to shut its borders completely over the omicron variant, has so far confirmed one case of the variant and seven other suspected cases. professor lawrence young is a virologist and professor of molecular oncology at the university of warwick and joins me live.
a very good evening to you. thank you forjoining us on bbc news. what do you think of this measure that israel is taking, would it be effective?— israel is taking, would it be effective? ~ �*, ., effective? well, it's an extreme measure. _ effective? well, it's an extreme measure, isn't _ effective? well, it's an extreme measure, isn't it? _ effective? well, it's an extreme measure, isn't it? given - effective? well, it's an extreme measure, isn't it? given the - effective? well, it's an extreme | measure, isn't it? given the fact that there is a lot of panic going on at the moment, what is important is to do everything to slow and limit the spread of this omicron variants, and when we were doing that, it's to restrict travel in some ways, and extreme measure, but i can understand by country like israel which has always been very robust in the way it's been managing the pandemic has made the decision to do this. ~ ., the pandemic has made the decision to do this. ~ . ., , the pandemic has made the decision todothis.~ . ,., �*, to do this. what has israel's experience _ to do this. what has israel's experience benefit - to do this. what has israel's - experience benefit coronavirus? they were all vaccination _ experience benefit coronavirus? tie: were all vaccination quickly and effectively, and in fact, in a way, they were considered to be the canary down the mine come out because we could look at what was going on there, we saw good coverage and high levels of vaccination and protection, and then delta had been, and they then started to do booster
jabs, so they removed all restrictions injune. delta hit them. they started to reliably stress, 44% of the population boosted now, they immediately saw an impact on the elderly and most vulnerable in terms of significant reduction in infection in the community, reduction in hospitalisations, and they were doing quite well, actually, with that boosterjabs, including rolling up that boosterjabs, including rolling up vaccinations for 12— 15 —year—olds and going into the younger age groups, so they are sort of on top of that, really, as well as introducing vaccine passports are green passes. so, they are very wary of experiencing yet a further wave, hence being very robust, not on the about travel restrictions, but also using their test trace and isolate system to their best effect. what using their test trace and isolate system to their best effect. what we have looked — system to their best effect. what we have looked at _ system to their best effect. what we have looked at -- _ system to their best effect. what we have looked at -- we _ system to their best effect. what we have looked at -- we have _ system to their best effect. what we have looked at -- we have looked i system to their best effect. what we have looked at -- we have looked toi have looked at —— we have looked to israel a lot for their data during this pandemic. so the british prime
minister spoke of bolstering protections against this new variant. he had mentioned reducing travel contacts. how else do you stop a virus? you know, what is the best way to do it? if we are talking about the scientifically?— about the scientifically? there are two thin . s about the scientifically? there are two things you — about the scientifically? there are two things you need _ about the scientifically? there are two things you need to _ about the scientifically? there are two things you need to look- about the scientifically? there are two things you need to look at, i two things you need to look at, population immunity, is that effective against the pirates? secondly, what can he do about human behaviour, particularly given that this virus is a variant, but it still spreads the same person, person—to—person contact, so there are two things that, we still don't know for sure to what degree vaccine —induced immunity will be effective against this variant, it is very, very likely that those who are boosted well have significant protection from severe disease from any variance. we know that because current vaccines protect against alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and they are likely to protect from severe disease from omicron as well, but we don't know that for sure. then human
behaviour, limiting spread and contact. he did that by preventing people bringing more virus and your country, and you do that by operating a very robust test trace and isolate system alongside encouraging people to limit their personal contacts to wear face masks in poorly ventilated crowded spaces and to work from home where possible. we have seen some of that being discussed today by government. we might have to see some more restrictions as we see what happens over the next few days.— over the next few days. professor, can ask very _ over the next few days. professor, can ask very quickly, _ over the next few days. professor, can ask very quickly, one - over the next few days. professor, can ask very quickly, one of - over the next few days. professor, | can ask very quickly, one of the key things that we are going to be looking at this hospitalisations, isn't it? because it's the severity of the disease that is presented at the hospital. what is the lag time normally between contracting covid—i9 and picking that's particular aspect of it up? it’s particular aspect of it up? it's about ten _ particular aspect of it up? it's about ten days _ particular aspect of it up? it�*s about ten days to two weeks. hospitals in south africa, for instance, are seeing a rise in young people admitted with moderate to severe disease. many of whom are
either unvaccinated or have only received one dose. so what we have got to do is keep a very close watch not only on the number of cases in south africa, but what happens to hospitalisations, and that will become much, much clearer both in south africa and in other countries where this new variant is present over the next 10— 14 days. tqm. over the next 10- 14 days. 0k, professor _ over the next 10- 14 days. 0k, professor lawrence _ over the next 10— 14 days. ok, professor lawrence young, thank you very much. thank you. passengers in south africa have been scrambling to find flights out of the country as world leaders announce tighter border controls. the netherlands says 61 people who arrived in amsterdam on two flights from south africa have tested positive for covid—19. further testing is being carried out to see if they are cases of the omicron variant. caroline davies reports. it is all taking... stuck on an aeroplane as the authorities grapple with what to do next. jack was one of 600 passengers who were stopped at shippable airport yesterday after flying
from south africa. they were kept in the terminal for hours waiting for the results of new pcr test. jack is one of 61 people the authorities have said are positive despite being double jabbed and testing negative before flying. people were crying, babies were crying, and i said where am i going? you're going to a quarantine hotel in amsterdam and we were put into the back of a van, a minibus kind of van, that had, to be fair, it looked like clingfilm or sheets or something hanging from the top, two guys in the front in hazmat suits. have you been told what will happen next? i've not had any emails, no text messages. no phone calls or anything, nothing at all. the airport says it was a unique situation and they had done their best to make sure
people were comfortable. around the world, countries are closing their borders to arrivals from southern africa including the usa. we are going to be cautious, make sure there is no travel to and from south africa and six other countries in that region, except for american citizens who are able to come back. over the course of the last few months travel has been opening up, as the doors close trying to get uk nationals out of southern africa before quarantine hotels start tomorrow is a struggle. south africa is a huge definition for both business and visiting friends and relatives coming for the christmas period, there is lots of stress for passengers, and many of them will not be able to get home because there is not the flight up lift to get them back before quarantine comes in. there are still many questions about the omicron variant, while scientists around the world what to answer them,
the world's government is struggling to buy more time. as officials in france work to identify the 27 people, who died in the english channel this week when their small boat capsized, the bbc has been hearing from the family and friends of one of victims. maryam nuri mohamed amin was a 24 year old kurdish woman, from northern iraq. she was trying to reach the uk, to be with her partner. lucy williamson has more details. she left to start a new life with her fiance. video from her engagement party less than a year ago still stored on her relatives' phones. maryam nuri mohamed amin tried several times to get a visa tojoin her partner in the uk, before deciding to surprise him by trying to get there another way. she was messaging him when the boat began to lose air. in northern iraq, the anger of the family showed through their grief. her mother and sister, inconsolable.
translation: going to britain| is very difficult, she tried to get to britain legally twice. she went to the british embassy but the process was delayed. she was forced to go the way she did. herfriend, iman, left to absorb the news of her death. her humanity was so good, always advising me and she was like someone i looked up to for advice. no one should try this. no one. no one deserves to die in this way. but this disaster, it has changed little in the minds of people living in migrant camps here. they are waiting for the right weather conditions to make the same journey, take the same risks. there has been a lot of finger pointing across the channel over who is to blame for the growing crisis. european interior ministers are due to meet tomorrow to discuss the problem, but the british home secretary has been dis—invited,
in the middle of a diplomatic feud between the prime minister, borisjohnson, and the french president, emmanuel macron. investigations have begun to identify the other victims, but questions are also being asked about why help never arrived and more broadly, ahead of the meeting tomorrow, why after all the diplomacy, all the deterrence, lives are still being risked and lost in a narrow stretch of sea. lucy williamson, bbc news, calais. when the taliban swept to power in afghanistan, they inherited an economy which was heavily reliant on foreign aid — large parts of the health service were entirely funded by the world bank. all of that has now changed. the bbc�*s world affairs editor, john simpson, travelled to a clinic in the hills south of kabul. the clinic here in musayyib
is typical of the local health care system that was built up in the last 20 years with foreign help. not much to look at maybe, but highly effective. and then the taliban got back into power. instantly, the world bank, which had been paying for almost the whole of afghanistan's health care, cut off the flow of cash to the country. this is the result. up to nine million people could be on the verge of famine. unicef was saying up to one million children could die of malnutrition. it's a humanitarian catastrophe is what it is. with no international money coming in, clinics like this are in dire trouble. this is the pharmacy. normally, the cupboards would be packed with medicines. now they're running out really fast. the collapsing economy and the foreign sanctions
against the taliban mean people can't buy food. the result is malnutrition, and it's starting with the children. translation: there will be a huge health crisis. - there will be no medicine and people will face massive problems. even health care staff will leave. the health care services will collapse. we will start to see lots of mothers and children dying. as winter approaches, the cuts which the world bank and foreign governments have introduced are having a greater and greater effect. in offices and government ministries, thousands of miles away from here, serious men and women are taking decisions to try to force the taliban to behave better in government. but it's these people here right down on the ground who are paying the price for those decisions.
it will take time for the outside world's financial pressure to have an effect on the taliban — if it even does. their guerrilla fighters, after all, used to living rough. it's the ordinary people of afghanistan with no resources and no protection who will suffer. john simpson, bbc news, musayyib. the headlines on bbc news... germany and the uk are the lastest countries to confirm cases of the new omicron strain of the coronavirus. all four cases were in people who'd returned from southern africa. there's also been one confirmed case in italy. several european countries take action to counter the spread — while israel which has also detected a case plans to ban the entry of all foreigners. in the uk, three people have died, as the first winter storm brought high winds,
rain and snow. storm arwen caused damage across scotland, northern england, the midlands and wales, leading to road closures and severe train delays. at one point, more than 100 thousand homes were without power. at one point, more than 100,000 homes were without power. here's andy gill. storm arwen has left much of the country facing disruption and damage. there have been some near misses, road and rail travel has been badly affected and tens of thousands of homes left without power. the storm brought picture postcard scenery to the north yorkshire village of low row, but it's also disrupting life, especially for the vulnerable. patricia is 86. she lives alone and has difficulty walking. her power�*s been off since half past ten last night. it's cold, very cold. now, i've got some... somebody brought me a hot water bottle to put on my knees. and i've got two jumpers on.
winds of more than 90 miles an hour battered the north—east coast of scotland and trains were cancelled across the uk. it's a fluid situation. we're going to try and keep people moving wherever we can. but in many parts of the country we are encouraging people not to travel at all and certainly to check on the websites, on the apps, and for live information before they do set off. on one train in the north of scotland, passengers were stranded overnight. well, i got on the train at elgin just at the back of 3pm yesterday afternoon and about five o'clock, we hit huntley and stayed there for about 17 hours. on a farm near st asaph in north wales, a shed roof blew off, damaging cars. the met office has issued a yellow warning for icy conditions on sunday across much of scotland, northern england and the midlands. andy gill, bbc news, north yorkshire. let's look at some of the day's other news.
canadian prime ministerjustin trudeau has visited areas of canada's pacific coast hit by catastrophic floods. he warned of further climate mayhem as the region braces itself for more torrential rains. a state of emergency was declared last week after an "atmospheric river" weather event brought a month's worth of rain in two days, causing floods and mudslides. the head of the women's tennis association says he remains concerned about the chinese tennis star peng shuai, after she accused a top official of sexual assault. steve simon said he would not engage in further email communications with her because he was not convinced that her earlier replies weren't influenced by others. scientists are warning that much of australia's native wildlife could disappear by 2050 due to differing factors. according to the national science agency indigenous animals and plants could be lost.
joey clarke is from the australian wildlife conservancy. his organisation isn't surprised by the findings. small mammals are a group that has suffered disproportionately. so things that you might not have heard of, bandit kids, they'll be us, it really unique animals which are only found in australia, they have suffered the worst extinctions command that's basically because they are the right size to be eaten by a fox or cat. what we see is the priority in the first instance is to create spaces that are safe, where we can rebuild populations of some of those native species. we have launched the largest three wilding effort in australia, building a network of fenced safe havens that are secured from the sterile predators will step beyond that, we need to look at managing habitat. so removing those large feral herbivores where we can at a large scale and also getting management
right. we have a lot to learn that from the indigenous australians who have been doing that, of course, for thousands of years. joey have been doing that, of course, for thousands of years.— one of musical theatre's most revered composers and lyricists, stephen sondheim, has died at the age of 91. he created some of broadway's best known musicals and wrote the lyrics for west side story. he also had a hit with the song send in the clowns, from the musical a little night music. daniela relph, looks back at his career. # send in the clowns... it was stephen sondheim's only hit song, remarkably, because this was a man who revolutionised the american musical. as a young man, he learnt his trade from oscar hammerstein, the lyricist who wrote shows like oklahoma and the sound of music. sondheim, too, started by doing the words, notably for leonard bernstein's music in west side story. # i like to be in america # 0k by me in america... soon, he was writing his own music as well.
most of the shows that followed were hits and then in 1970 he came up with a new idea. a musical that didn't follow an obvious plot. "company" was a series of vignettes featuring a dozen central characters. no two sondheim musicals were the same. when you hit a chord that you have | hit before or you have a technique| of doing a song that you have done before, when i do it, _ i get very nervous and i think, "i have written that, - i must not do that again." somebody will catch me up on it, so to speak, i it's as if somebody is saying, "wait a minute, you did - that in that show!" into the woods was based on fairy stories, like jack and the beanstalk. sondheim's music was rhythmically complicated and harmonically sophisticated. # son, we have no time to sit and dither. # while her wither's wither wither. .. for his admirers, stephen sondheim produced some of the most sophisticated and thoughtful musicals ever written.
# but where are the clowns? # quick, send in the clowns. # don't bother, they're here... stephen sondheim, who's died, at the age, of 91. archaeologists in peru have unearthed a well—preserved mummy, that could be at least 800 years old. the mummy was discovered at an archaeological complex east of lima, and could be up to 1,200 years old, from the pre—inca chakla culture. archaeologists found the mummy in an oval underground structure, tied with ropes in a foetal position, and surrounded by various offering materials, such as pots, ceramics and gourds containing botanical remains. after the weather we'll take a look at tomorrow's front pages in the papers —
our guestsjoining me tonight are the broadcaster, jo phillips — and nigel nelson, political editor of the sunday mirror and the people. now it's time for a look at the weather with alina jenkins. hello. storm arwen brought wind gusts close to 100mph across northumberland. the storm has now pulled away south and eastwards and with pressure building from the west, the winds will continue to ease, but sunday will be another cold day, further wintry showers in the forecast and the risk of ice through sunday morning and an area of rain, sleet and snow originally across scotland and just clipping northern ireland, will move into the north of england and into the midlands and wales by the end of the afternoon. on either side of this there will be some good spells of sunshine but further wintry showers just clipping the east coast and more cloud pushing into northern ireland, but we will see some late afternoon sunshine here. by comparison to saturday, the winds will be much lighter but still fairly gusty down these eastern coasts for a large part of the day and in that way and it is going to continue
to feel cold. temperatures for some struggling to get much above two or 3 c and we could see seven or 8 c for some western coast. the area of rain, sleet and snow starting to move its way south through sunday evening, clear skies behind it, another cold and frosty night and more cloud and outbreaks of rain, a little bit of higher levels no pushing into north—west scotland and maybe northern ireland. temperatures across northern ireland staying above freezing, elsewhere another cold and frosty night. this is how we start monday, with this system moving into northern ireland and scotland. it is a warm front so behind it the air is going to be slightly less cold but it will bring a lot of cloud, initially some snow on monday, through the grampians, the southern uplands, more like rain come the afternoon. furthersouth, mainly dry, often cloudy, the best of any brightness, i think across southern and south—east england, where temperatures again, just four or 5 c. further west, they are starting to rise a little and we could see
nine or ten across parts of north—west england, north—west scotland and northern ireland. as we move into tuesday, we see another frontal system pushing in from off the atlantic and this one is going to provide some heavy outbreaks of rain, initially in the scotland and northern ireland and gradually sliding its way south and eastwards through tuesday. some parts of central, southern and eastern england may stay dry through daylight hours, but look as the temperatures recover into double figures, 11 or 12 c on tuesday. behind that rain band, things will be turning colder again on wednesday with some wintry showers and feeling cold in the wind, still quite cold on thursday.