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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 12, 2021 4:00pm-4:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news. i'm jane hill. the headlines at 4pm... the first people in the uk have been hospitalised with the omicron variant of coronavirus, as the nhs in england extends the booster jab programme. days before an expected backbench rebellion, the prime minister faces fresh questions about christmas gatherings at downing street a year ago, after a photo emerges of him taking part in a quiz. he can't deliver the leadership that this country needs and we have got a very important votes coming up next week and he can't even discharge the basic functions of government. he is the worst possible leader of the worst possible time. they can now make their mind up when they see this picture of a prime minister
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on a virtual screen, on a zoom call, thanking his team that were in the building because they have to respond to a national emergency. emergency teams search for survivors in six us states, after more than 80 people die in the largest outbreaks of tornadoes in us history. in sport — a new champion in formula one, max verstappen takes the world title, in a nail biting race that came down to the final lap. and at 4:30pm, we look at the last 12 months of the pandemic through the eyes of a vicar and pastor in burnley. that's "the cost of covid" coming up in about 30 minutes here on bbc news. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. health officials say the first
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people in the uk have been hospitalised with the omicron variant of coronavirus, with the uk facing an inevitable large wave of infections. ministers say the uk is in a race to get the covid booster to as many eligible people, as quickly as possible, with bookings opening to everyone aged between 30 and 39. it comes as health leaders warn that nhs staff are currently working at full stretch. here's our health correspondentjim reed. in southampton this morning, plenty of people were out queueing for covid vaccine number three. ministers and scientists say these boosterjabs are the most important defence against the omicron variant of this winter. i think it's important just to make sure that you are protected as best as you can. my wife is having her one today as well, so just make sure that we are as best protected as we can. from monday, people in their 30s
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in england will be able to book their booster appointments, three months after that second dose, as the roll—out continues down the age groups with the other nations of the uk likely to follow soon. it's really important given what we know now about the omicron variant and how effective the vaccine is, particularly after the booster dose, so it's a really important measure for protecting themselves, their families and the public at large. government scientists say it's now inevitable. we will see a large wave of infections across the country. the new variant already makes up a third of cases in london. it was confirmed today that hospitals are now seeing their first patients with omicron, although it's not yet clear how serious those cases are. we have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best and i think ourjob is to highlight that this is a big wave, it's coming straight at us. if we see even half the severity that we saw with delta, then we are facing a very large number of hospitalisations
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and potential deaths. the future of this pandemic, though, is more uncertain than it has been for 18 months. in south africa, there are early tentative signs that infections in some parts of the country may be slowing down without a big surge in hospitalisations. in the uk, more rules are changing. from tuesday, those who are fully vaccinated and in contact with someone with covid—i9 should take a lateral flow test at home for seven days rather than having to self—isolate. ministers say extra testing and more boosterjabs like these are the best way to protect the whole country this christmas. well i'm just going to bring you the latest figures that have just come through in the last few moments from the uk health security agency in terms, specifically about the new variant, i should explain. we have been told there have been a further
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1239 cases of the omicron variant recorded in the uk as of today, so that brings the total number of cases, this is across the uk, to 3137. a60 5% increase on saturday, so the total number of cases across the uk,... is of course on the day that we are reporting that we've got the first people in hospital with the first people in hospital with the new variant, although, still quite complicated because we don't know how many people, if any, have been taken into hospital specifically because of that variant or because they are in for other reasons and they are tested and it transpires they have the new variant, so there's still a lot of data to emerge but we know there are people currently in uk hospitals with that new variant. it is of
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course, omicron, the variant that was first reported in south africa. i'm joined by professor shabir madhi — who's professor of vaccinology at vits university injohannesburg. a very good afternoon, professor. thank you so much for your time. perhaps you can start by saying what your figures are. perhaps you can start by saying what your figures are-— your figures are. what is the situation _ your figures are. what is the j situation with hospitalisation your figures are. what is the i situation with hospitalisation in south africa of people with this variant? ., ~ , ., ., ., variant? thank you for having me. the outbreak _ variant? thank you for having me. the outbreak was _ variant? thank you for having me. the outbreak was in _ variant? thank you for having me. the outbreak was in a _ variant? thank you for having me. the outbreak was in a province - variant? thank you for having me. | the outbreak was in a province that was the most densely province in —— densely populated province in south africa. currently, there's been nine to 10,000 new cases per day but that seems to have plateaued in the last few days and 95% of this case is actually omicron. to put it into context, south africa does about 13
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times less number of tests per capita compared to what happens in the uk. so the 10,000 that we actually report is really a tip of the iceberg compared to what you identified in the uk. what we are experiencing right now is the total number of deaths across the country, recorded yesterday, and probably around two thirds of deaths... as a time when we were explaining and seeing a similar rate with the delta variant, the equivalent number of people that were dying of covid—19 in south africa was rammed 250 per day, so it's about one tenth of what was experienced compared to what we experienced with the delta variance. when it comes to hospitalisation, the vast majority of people testing positive for actual —— actually
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coincidental positives. these could be pregnant women who are routinely screened and are turns out to be positive. so, overall, what appears to be happening is despite an unprecedented rapid rise in cases in the particular wave compared to the past three waves, it seems to be... very few cases, relatively few cases ending up in hospital with severe covid—19 or dying from covid—19. right, so despite the numbers, what we have to take from that i think is not mercifully, many people dying from the new variant. people in hospital, but as you explained, perhaps coming in and discovered afterwards that they have it. is that the case because lots of people
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have a good 0 that is what is resulting in people not suffering too badly, mercifully, ifi resulting in people not suffering too badly, mercifully, if i can put it in those late terms? i too badly, mercifully, ifi can put it in those late terms?— it in those late terms? i think what's really _ it in those late terms? i think what's really driving... - it in those late terms? i think what's really driving... the i it in those late terms? i think. what's really driving... the vast amount of population immunity and is not primarily from vaccines in the south african context. in the south african context, it's mainly because people have been affected by the viruses during the first of the three waves. a survey was completed two weeks ago where we showed an example of people over 50, 70 5% of them are positive, meaning they got some sort of underlying community. so 80% of the people most vulnerable
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of dying with the covid—19 have some sort of antibody. t cell immunity, which we believe to be the main driver protecting against severe disease. despite seeing huge number of cases, reinfection is unvaccinated individuals, that is not leading to large numbers of severe cases and deaths and i believe the reasons for that is because of extensive t cell immunity that exists in the population. and that exists in the population. and so exlain that exists in the population. and so exoiain first — that exists in the population. and so explain first what the public health messaging is in south africa around this new variant? where is the emphasis is on a visit on vaccination, is it on social distancing and other measures that we are talking a lot about here in the uk in terms of making it mandatory to wear a mask and many more places? what is the public
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health messaging in south africa cross this time around, government decided not to go into high levels of restrictions. it decided not to go into high levels of restrictions.— of restrictions. it still allows indoor gatherings _ of restrictions. it still allows indoor gatherings of - of restrictions. it still allows indoor gatherings of up - of restrictions. it still allows indoor gatherings of up to l of restrictions. it still allows l indoor gatherings of up to 750 people, is an example, as well as outdoor gatherings. so there are restrictions but fairly minor compared to what would have existed as a time of the delta variance outbreak when there was a similar sort of case rates. so the government has had a much more measured approach and we are focusing on hospitalisation as a measure to look at to determine whether we should go into higher restrictions. we can with some degree of certainty predict when facilities might come into pressure. we are trying to increase the coverage of vaccines. the focus is
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prevention of severe disease, so we're trying to use vaccines are available to continue targeting those high—risk individuals that are most susceptible to being hospitalised and dying of covid—19. that's really interesting and to what extent is there public debates or concern about the overall impact on the health service should you suddenly have a rush of people who need intensive hospital treatment, which as we know then takes facilities away from other people who need regular treatments for lots of other diseases in life. right now, the hospitals _ of other diseases in life. right now, the hospitals are - of other diseases in life. right now, the hospitals are not - of other diseases in life. fl gruff now, the hospitals are not under pressure and there isn't an indication that the hospitals are likely to come under pressure. in the province, we appear to have almost peaked. in the next one or two weeks, we can be a bit more conclusive about it. because of the
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large number of infections, many healthcare workers, even those who have been previously infected and those vaccinated are having infections, and consequently, they are needing to go off in isolation, creating more pressure on health care facilities than the number of people that are coming into covid—19. people that are coming into covid-19-— people that are coming into covid-19. ~ , ., covid-19. we must leave it there. thank you — covid-19. we must leave it there. thank you so _ covid-19. we must leave it there. thank you so much. _ covid-19. we must leave it there. thank you so much. appreciate i covid-19. we must leave it there. i thank you so much. appreciate your time. the labour leader, sir keir starmer, has said borisjohnson appears to have broken the law when he took part in a christmas quiz at downing street last year, at a time when social mixing between households was banned. the sunday mirror has obtained a photo of the quiz, showing the prime minister with two people sat next to him. downing street has described
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the quiz as a "virtual" event. our political correspondent, helen catt, reports. it's the christmas quiz that downing street said was virtual but is now posing very real questions for the prime minister. pictured here with two aids hosting a round on the 15th of december last year. on the video call, number ten staff — some dialling in from home, others apparently gathered in groups elsewhere in the building. at the time, indoor socialising with others was banned in london. so, question one... was he breaking the law? well, it looks as though he was and he must have known those other groups were in other rooms in his own building and, you know, this is very important because he has damaged his authority. he is now so weak, his party is so divided, he can't deliver the leadership that this country needs. he is the worst possible leader at the worst possible time.
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that's not the answer given by the government. what do we see? we see a prime minister in his office with two of his staff next to him. there are no drinks. my e—mail is full of people thinking that there were parties with guests and all sorts of things happening. actually, they can now make their mind up, when they see this picture of a prime minister on a virtual screen, on a zoom call, thanking his team, who are in the building because they have to respond to a national emergency. then, they can make their mind up. he said it was right that the cabinet secretary was investigating three gatherings, including an alleged party at number ten on december the 18th. downing street said staff already in the building may have attended the quiz virtually from their desks. the photo is the latest in a series of damaging leaks to the frustration of tory mps including the party's leader in scotland. we need clarity. we need to be honest with the public about what happened, _ why it happened and what has been said since because the public- are rightly angry, i'm angry.
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my family didn't have the christmas we expected last year. _ l it looks like there's a possibility. that we will not have the christmas we expected this year and the public rightly expect those _ at the top of government l and their advisers to follow the rules that theyj themselves wrote. for number ten, the timing could hardly be worse. more than 60 tories have already said they won't back the government's covid plan b measures in a vote on tuesday. after the emergence of this picture, backbench goodwill could be an even shorter supply. let's discuss the week ahead. alex dean is a conservative commentator and former chief of staff to david cameron, hejoins me now. so, there is a rebellion coming home is in there, on tuesday? what does that say about the prime minister's authority? just that say about the prime minister's authori 7, , , , ., authority? just purely on the numbers that _ authority? just purely on the numbers that were - authority? just purely on the numbers that were looking l authority? just purely on the | numbers that were looking at authority? just purely on the - numbers that were looking at now, it means that if you wants to pass his
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bill, you'll have to depend of the labour party to get it through the house of commons. there's never a good situation a prime minister to be in and there is i think a growing school of thought now among tories in the parliamentary party, both front bench and back bench, both supportive of the government and hostile, who say, let us be pragmatic here and pull this vote because there is no way the government is going to come out looking well. if you lose, you look terribly and if you win, you will have dinner depending on keir starmer. ., ~ , ., ., , starmer. you think they want to pull the vote on tuesday? i think- starmer. you think they want to pull the vote on tuesday? i think there l the vote on tuesday? i think there is a significant _ the vote on tuesday? i think there is a significant chance _ the vote on tuesday? i think there is a significant chance that - the vote on tuesday? i think there is a significant chance that the - is a significant chance that the government will not table the vote. if you look at the situation where on the one hand, you get it through the house of commons but you do it with labour supporting you. on the other hand, if you read through it and you don't get labour party support, and you lose, it also hurts the government. the pragmatic way is to put your head down, get through christmas and start 2022 in a
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slightly more positive state of mind. ~ ., ., , ., slightly more positive state of mind. ., .,, ., mind. what does that say about ublic mind. what does that say about public health — mind. what does that say about public health messaging? - mind. what does that say about public health messaging? what| mind. what does that say about - public health messaging? what does that due public health messaging because labour have said they will support it on public health grounds. i think there two things that mean that that's potentially a plausible path, jane. it looks like the vaccines are working, boosters are working and if you've been asked to have your booster, go and have one. it looks like the scheme that we have taken up as a country is working. the second when is the positive news that we have been hearing from south africa, which indicates that omicron, whilst of course need to be taken seriously, is not to hospital i think people are killing people in the kind of numbers that would mean that we would have to have terrible alarm bells sounding. early days that it does indicate that the public health situation is under control and the solution that we have been aiming at, plan a, which is a lot of
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vaccinations, is working. everyone was focusing on the prime minister's adviser, who had resigned and why had she resigned and all of the messaging got lost. what does that say about boris johnson's authority as well?— that say about boris johnson's authority as well? jane, i don't think anyone — authority as well? jane, i don't think anyone can _ authority as well? jane, i don't think anyone can maintain - authority as well? jane, i don't think anyone can maintain thatj authority as well? jane, i don't - think anyone can maintain that the situation has been handled well. the government has basically six goal conceded that. —— the government has basically conceded that. the apology was right and it was right that he may be apology. i would also say this, i think that you love the interview that you had with keir starmer was very revealing, in the end, theyjust hate the pm and they are out to get him and they will go with whatever tools that are offered to them to do it. the prime minister
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had a zoom quiz, come on. i am not sympathetic when people say it was ok for number ten to have parties or whatever. members of my family had a horrible time as christmas and they look about situation with real criticism but when you say you had a zoom quiz, how dare you, how outrageous! i think when they said a party, most of us were imagining raucous celebrations. a rather miserable affair, in which the prime minister looks and a camera socially distance from people, and result questions, labour has overcooked it on this one. i'm all open for an enquiry as to what happened with social occasions. but enquiry as to what happened with social occasions.— social occasions. but there are still questions _ social occasions. but there are still questions about _ social occasions. but there are still questions about the - social occasions. but there are still questions about the same | social occasions. but there are i still questions about the same at the 18th, aren't they? what would you say if you were advising boris johnson in the way you used to david cameron when you've got a situation where ant and dec are talking about the state of politics? {lime where ant and dec are talking about the state of politics?— the state of politics? once it
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becomes _ the state of politics? once it becomes mainstream - the state of politics? once it becomes mainstream and i the state of politics? once it - becomes mainstream and someone on the state of politics? once it _ becomes mainstream and someone on a show that it is as apolitical as that can make reference to it they know they can make it because people are going to get it, that's a bad sign. people on both sides of the i like to write off scandals and challenges saying it's just a westminster bubble story, this is not one of those and it's serious for the reasons you have suggested. that's why i think the prime minister did the right thing and announce that we have an enquiry led by the cabinet secretary, who is a serious neutral for getting the situation. they have got to hurry up and hand on the results. the trouble is, i think it's very difficult for him to give any result that is going to be taken seriously this side of christmas. there's almost no time and if he's going to look into social occasions and talk to multiple sources, witnesses, then it's very difficult to see him bringing it down the side of christmas. i wouldn't start from here but if you are going to respond to the situation, i would have instigated a cabinet secretary led
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investigation way sooner than the one that we got.— one that we got. what about thursday's — one that we got. what about thursday's by-election? - one that we got. what about | thursday's by-election? how one that we got. what about - thursday's by-election? how much is thursday's by—election? how much is resting on that? was your sense of how that's going to go? quite resting on that? was your sense of how that's going to go?— resting on that? was your sense of how that's going to go? quite a lot. it's a very significant _ how that's going to go? quite a lot. it's a very significant majority. - how that's going to go? quite a lot. it's a very significant majority. it i it's a very significant majority. it was a seat that speaks as an example to lots of people, who have been used to having what we would be regarded as safe seats and if it were either too heaven forbid that the tory party go liberal democrats or go anywhere near it, that's when you will really hear the alarm bells. i actually think the government is going to be ok on the day that people will not want it to be anything like as close as it's looking like it's going to be. i think it's a bit like the situation that you are talking about with ant and dec. it's another warning sign and dec. it's another warning sign and if you have these things together, the government is going to want to turn the corner, have christmas, have some breathing space and getting into 2022 hoping like hell to put 2021 behind them. thank
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ou. a hell to put 2021 behind them. thank you- a former _ hell to put 2021 behind them. thank you. a former adviser _ hell to put 2021 behind them. thank you. a former adviser to _ hell to put 2021 behind them. thank you. a former adviser to david - you. a former adviser to david cameron, of course. really interesting that he thinks tuesday's vote might be pulled. we must turn away from covid—19 for a few minutes. the foreign secretary, liz truss, has warned russia will face "massive consequences" and a "severe cost" if it were to invade ukraine. speaking at the g7 ministerial meeting in liverpool, ms truss said the uk, the united states and other allies are considering "all options" if russia were to launch an incursion across the border, amid rising tensions in the region. sport and for a full round up, from the bbc sport centre, here's hugh. good afternoon. max verstappen is the formula one world champion and yet for almost the whole of the winner—takes—all final race of the season in abu dhabi, it looked like that would be lewis hamilton again.
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safety car drama and a controversial decision by the stewards led to verstappen overtaking his rival on the last lap to win the title. joe lynskey has the story. its formula one's ultimate finish. two drivers level with one race to go. lewis hamilton has the titles, max verstappen had dutch support. he started on pole titles can come down to a tenth of a second. hamilton reacted quickest and took the lead. through the season, there have been flashpoints, more here were certain. here was hamilton forced wide but improvising. with such a short cut, he'd often give back the lead but here not so. but this race would have a remarkable, breathtaking finish, when one of the field crashed the safety car came out and bunches the rest. when the all clear was given, there was one lap to go.
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in an amazing drama, max verstappen made his move. the teams and could barely believe it, a lifetime dream made in one lap. it was incredible but it was controversial, when the safety car came out, max verstappen was 12 seconds behind. driver george russell said bunching the concept was unacceptable. hamilton's team, mercedes, are protesting the results. it was unforgettable. a new world champion is the most extraordinary way. four days after going out of the europa league, leicester showed why newcastle might struggle to stay in the premier league. they won 4—0 at the king power stadium. a youri tielemans penalty put leicester ahead before patson daka made it 2—0. tielemans got his second of the afternoon in the closing stages to seal the win, but there was still time for one more.
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james maddison rounding off an emphatic victory to leave newcastle still second from bottom. in the scottish premiership, leaders rangers have moved seven points clear at the top, at least for a couple of hours. that's after they beat hearts 2—0 at tynecastle. alfredo morelos giving rangers an early lead. and they doubled it moments later — joe aribo with a superb finish. hearts did have a man sent off late on, but it didn't affect the result. six straight league wins for rangers. rangers' nearest rivals celtic are in action right now as they aim to cut the gap back down to four points. celtic up against fourth—place motherwell — 1—0 with tom rogic scoring in first—half stoppage time. manchester united returned to winning ways in the women's super league by beating brighton 2—0 at crawley. wales international
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hayley ladd opened the scoring just before half time. then norway midfielder vilde boe risa completed the victory as united ended a four—match winless run in the wsl. elsewhere, toni duggan secured a point for everton as they drew 1—1 with west ham. ellen white rescued a late win for manchester city against birmingham — she got the winner in the 89th minute. city had already come from behind twice through georgia stanway and lauren hemp. later tottenham travel to aston villa and league leaders arsenal host leicester. sale sharks got their heineken champions cup campaign off to a winning start by beating ospreys by 21 points to 13. jean—luc du preez scored sale's third try of the first half which was enough to secure the victory in swansea. in pool b, connacht beat stade francais. john higgins has it all to do if he's to win the scottish open. he'll start the final evening session trailing luca brecel by six the belgian, who's ranked 18th in the world, ended the first session
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with a century break in llandudno which is hosting the final. higgins has won the tournament twice before, but not for 25 years. that's all the sport for now. i'll have more for you in the next hour. jimmy greaves thank you very much. it is edging up to whether time. let's get the latest details. that is tied in with a area of low pressure that will get very close to the north—west of the uk overnight tonight. a very mild evening, increasingly breezy. very windy overnight for the western and northern isles of scotland. further showers for western scotland with clear skies to the south of that. a lot of cloud and some rain for wales
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and the south—west. temperatures in double figures here. overnight lows, further north — 78 degrees. through monday, quite cloudy. best of any sunshine for scotland, northern ireland and northern england. a little cooler here than it will be on sunday. temperatures still looking pretty mild further south.
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hello this is bbc news with jane hill. the headlines: the first people in the uk have been hospitalised with the omicron variant of coronavirus, as the nhs in england extends the booster jab programme. days before an expected backbench rebellion, the prime minister faces fresh questions about christmas gatherings at downing street a year ago after a photo emerges of him taking part in a quiz. he can't deliver the leadership that this country needs and we have got a very important vote coming up next week and he can't even discharge the basic functions of government. he's the worst possible leader at the worst possible time. they can now make their mind up when they see this picture of a prime minister on a virtual screen, on a zoom call, thanking his team that were in the building because they have to respond to a national emergency. in sport, a new champion in formula 1 — max verstappen takes the world
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title in a nail—biting race that came down to the final lap.

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