Skip to main content

tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 23, 2021 10:00am-11:31am GMT

10:00 am
this is bbc news — these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world. people with omicron are less likely to end up in hospital, as studies suggest it could be milder than previous covid variants. scientists say they're "cautiously optimistic", but warn the sheer number of infections could still lead to hospitals being overwhelmed. new south wales proposes to charge unvaccinated people for covid medical costs — the doctors�* union says it's unethical. erasing history — a statue in hong kong commemorating the tiananmen square massacre is dismantled. 13 months old. hey, baby. both of
10:01 am
them are 0k- _ 13 months old. hey, baby. both of them are ok. 0h, _ 13 months old. hey, baby. both of them are ok. oh, thank— 13 months old. hey, baby. both of them are ok. oh, thank you, - 13 months old. hey, baby. both of. them are ok. oh, thank you, jesus! and rescue footage emerges of two babies being pulled alive from the rubble of kentucky's tornado last week and handed over to their grandmother. hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. the uk government says it is continuing to monitor covid data, after two early studies indicated that the omicron variant may cause milder illness than delta, with patients less likely to need hospital treatment. alongside a similar study from south africa, early evidence suggests that people infected with omicron were between 30% and 70% less likely to need a hospital bed than compared with other variants.
10:02 am
one of the scientists leading the research — professor neil ferguson, from imperial college london — said the data is "good news to a degree", but a big wave of infections could still overwhelm health services. the uk reported more than 100,000 new daily infections for the first time yesterday. in spain, the prime minister pedro sanchez has announced plans for the mandatory wearing of face coverings outdoors, following a steep rise in covid—19 infections. the us presidentjoe biden has denied his administration "bungled! their response to the omicron variant, as americans struggle to get their hands on rapid—response test kits. more on that in a moment. first, more on the situation in the uk with our health correspondent, katharine da costa. early data from south africa, and now studies in england and scotland, are pointing in the same direction. omicron infections may be milder and leading to fewer hospital admissions. research by imperial college london found around a 40% reduction
10:03 am
in the risk of being admitted to hospitalfor a night or more, compared to delta. a scottish study suggested there was a 65% lower risk of being hospitalized with omicron, but it was based on only a few cases. while in south africa, omicron patients were thought to be around 75% less likely to need hospital treatment. rather than omicron being fundamentally milder, scientists think it's partly due to immunity in the population from previous infection and vaccination. it's still early days, but scientists say it's good news, to a degree. it's very important to recognize that, even if there were, say, a 50% reduction in the rate of hospitalisation, because it's doubling every two days, that 50% will soon just be overwhelmed by the increasing case numbers. so, the total impact of omicron is still very, very significant, because it's such a highly transmissible virus and it's growing so quickly. in the face of rapidly
10:04 am
rising infections, record numbers of boosters are now being administered. 30 million have beenjabbed so far. from the new year, boosters will be offered to all over—16s, as well as at—risk 12 to 15—year—olds, those living with someone with a weakened immune system, and teenagers who are immunosuppressed themselves will get a fourth jab. for the first time, 5 to 11—year—olds in the uk, with specific health conditions, will be offered two smaller doses of the pfizer vaccine eight weeks apart. christmas may be just days away, but scientists are working flat—out to provide the data governments need to make tough decisions on how best to respond to the virus. katherine da costa, bbc news. as our political correspondent ben wright explains, the different nations within the uk are taking very different approaches to tackling the new wave of cases. it's the pattern we've seen throughout the pandemic, that different parts of the uk have taken their own approach to how to handle coronavirus.
10:05 am
and, you know, that's certainly the case now. england is apart from wales, scotland and northern ireland, who have set out their measures for the sort of restrictions they'll put in place after christmas day. whereas for boris johnson and the uk government, the plan is stilljust to wait and see. we know there'll be no new measures announced before christmas day. we don't expect any other announcements before christmas day about what might follow boxing day as well. so for people wanting certainty around their year plans around their new year plans for the coming weeks, if you're in england, we don't have it yet. borisjohnson has written in the sun, hasn't he, kind of a short message? or someone's written it for him. and, you know, he's done a recorded message earlier as well this week, but he's not taking questions. no, that's the big difference. we've had press conferences from the first ministers of northern ireland, from wales, from scotland in the last few days, letting people know what's going on. you know, their thinking behind their action. whereas this week, from number 10, we had a pre—recorded video message posted of borisjohnson on tuesday,
10:06 am
after the cabinet decided not to take any action. today, a few words written by him in the sun, urging people to be extremely careful. but there isn't the same transparency right now from the westminster government that we've seen in other parts of the uk. professor paul elliott is the director of the react programme and chair in epidemiology and public health medicine at imperial college london. thank you so much forjoining us. people might be thinking, can they relax a bit now with this news that the omicron variant might be a bit milder, can you give us a definitive picture about what we know about its severity? picture about what we know about its severi ? ~ , , ., severity? well, the study we have been doing _ severity? well, the study we have been doing in _ severity? well, the study we have been doing in the _ severity? well, the study we have been doing in the react - severity? well, the study we have - been doing in the react programme, we have been tracking the virus actually since may of last year. and since the summer, we have seen high prevalence, but pretty much constant prevalence, but pretty much constant prevalence, all the way through to our current programme, which is from the 23rd of november to the 14th of
10:07 am
december with additional data up to the 17. and what we saw was pretty much the same picture through november. in fact, some good news that decreasing prevalence in older school—aged children who have been vaccinated and older people who have been having booster vaccines. but from the beginning of december, we saw this very sharp rise in infections, which is really down to the omicron variant coming in. and we particularly saw that rise in london and the kiwi macro number night is substantially above one, particularly in london. == night is substantially above one, particularly in london.— night is substantially above one, particularly in london. -- the our number. particularly in london. -- the our number- is _ particularly in london. -- the our number. is the _ particularly in london. -- the our number. is the effect _ particularly in london. -- the our number. is the effect of - particularly in london. -- the our number. is the effect of the - particularly in london. -- the our. number. is the effect of the variant going to be less including on older people customer it is definitely encouraging news we have heard that the infection may be less severe, so the infection may be less severe, so the chances of any individual going into hospital with serious illness may be reduced. but
10:08 am
into hospital with serious illness may be reduced.— into hospital with serious illness may be reduced. but the problem is we are getting _ may be reduced. but the problem is we are getting this _ may be reduced. but the problem is we are getting this massive - may be reduced. but the problem is we are getting this massive rise - may be reduced. but the problem is we are getting this massive rise in l we are getting this massive rise in infections and as you know, over 100,000 recorded in the routine data yesterday and in other data, we are seeing this very sharp rise. in our study, we go to a random sample of the population, so we are picking up asymptomatic infections as well as symptomatic infections, so a different bunch of people than the people who may be reporting for testing through the national programme. so all of that is telling us that there is a lot of cases. but for any individual, it might be less severe, but at a population level, there is going to be very severe pressure i think on the health service. �* ., , , service. and other people being hosnitalised _ service. and other people being hospitalised mostly _ service. and other people being hospitalised mostly those - service. and other people being hospitalised mostly those who l service. and other people being - hospitalised mostly those who have not been vaccinated? == hospitalised mostly those who have not been vaccinated?— not been vaccinated? -- are the --eole. not been vaccinated? -- are the people. certainly, _ not been vaccinated? -- are the people. certainly, you _ not been vaccinated? -- are the people. certainly, you are - not been vaccinated? -- are the people. certainly, you are a - not been vaccinated? -- are the i people. certainly, you are a much greater risk if you haven't been vaccinated. unfortunately, some people who have been vaccinated will end up in hospital and we know the
10:09 am
booster is also good at reducing the risk of hospitalisation so it really is important people get the booster jab when they can. because that will reduce the risk.— reduce the risk. there is a slight noise on the _ reduce the risk. there is a slight noise on the line, _ reduce the risk. there is a slight noise on the line, i _ reduce the risk. there is a slight noise on the line, i don't - reduce the risk. there is a slight noise on the line, i don't know. reduce the risk. there is a slight noise on the line, i don't know if it is going, sorry to interrupt. thank you for that. for people watching, again, as they try and grapple with what to do over the next few days, what is the percentage likelihood now compared with previous variants of any of us __ my with previous variants of any of us —— my ending up in hospital, is it down by 30%, 70%, with omicron, what would you say? the down by 30%, 70%, with omicron, what would you say?— would you say? the recent reports that came out _ would you say? the recent reports that came out from _ would you say? the recent reports that came out from colleagues - would you say? the recent reports that came out from colleagues in i that came out from colleagues in edinburgh and imperial college suggest that at the individual level, there is a 30% or more reduction in risk of hospitalisation from omicron compared to delta. but the point is that there are many,
10:10 am
many more infections. so more people are infected, more people are at risk of getting a serious illness in total. so really, we have to be quite cautious, take public health measures, we have to wear our masks. particularly if we are in crowded places. so it is really important, as the chief medical officer said, to prioritise those events that you want to go to and de—prioritise the other events. bud want to go to and de-prioritise the other events-_ other events. and as it clear at this stage _ other events. and as it clear at this stage from _ other events. and as it clear at this stage from the _ other events. and as it clear at this stage from the data - other events. and as it clear at this stage from the data why . other events. and as it clear at - this stage from the data why omicron is less severe? i was reading something about the fact does it penetrate less easily into the lung tissue? could it have a differential effect on different age groups going forward? ilil" effect on different age groups going forward? ., ., effect on different age groups going forward? . ., , ., , , effect on different age groups going forward? . ., , , ., ., forward? our data shows us that at the moment. _ forward? our data shows us that at the moment, omicron _ forward? our data shows us that at the moment, omicron is— forward? our data shows us that at| the moment, omicron is circulating mainly in younger adults and not so much in older adults. so we have two epidemics happening at the moment.
10:11 am
we have continuing delta epidemic, which is more in younger children and in older adults, and the omicron, which is more in the younger adults. omicron, which is more in the youngeradults. so omicron, which is more in the younger adults. so it is a mixed picture. how and why omicron may be causing less severe illness, i think is a subject of very active investigation right now. find is a subject of very active investigation right now. is a subject of very active investiuation riaht now. �* investigation right now. and when we see a big effect _ investigation right now. and when we see a big effect on _ investigation right now. and when we see a big effect on the _ see a big effect on the unvaccinated, we see some countries like the us and elsewhere in the world are taking tougher measures against those who are refusing to have vaccines. do you think that is something the uk government should look at and not just that you can't go to the pub, but curbing you and fining you in some other way? in a way, all of society is having restrictions placed on us because of a smaller number of people who are refusing to comply. 50 a smaller number of people who are refusing to comply.— refusing to comply. so these are ruestions refusing to comply. so these are questions for — refusing to comply. so these are questions for policymakers - refusing to comply. so these are questions for policymakers and i refusing to comply. so these are l questions for policymakers and for government. and clearly, people have to weigh up all the risks and
10:12 am
benefits of taking those sorts of approaches. in the uk, we haven't gone down that route. and many, many people are getting vaccinated and many, many people are having the booster. we certainly see that in our data. amongst the older people, very high proportions of people are having the boosterjab and amongst younger adults, a very high proportion have had two vaccines and thatis proportion have had two vaccines and that is really important if we are going to curb this very rapid rise in infection from omicron that we are seeing right now.— are seeing right now. briefly, are ou are seeing right now. briefly, are you planning _ are seeing right now. briefly, are you planning to _ are seeing right now. briefly, are you planning to have _ are seeing right now. briefly, are you planning to have a _ are seeing right now. briefly, are you planning to have a family - you planning to have a family christmas or with friends meeting family indoors this weekend? irate christmas or with friends meeting family indoors this weekend? we do ho -e to family indoors this weekend? we do hope to have — family indoors this weekend? we do hope to have a _ family indoors this weekend? we do hope to have a small— family indoors this weekend? we do hope to have a small gathering - family indoors this weekend? we do hope to have a small gathering of. hope to have a small gathering of family, but we will be taking lateral flow tests beforehand. and we will not be having large gatherings. we will not be having large gatherings-— we will not be having large uaatherins. ., , ., ., gatherings. professor paul elliott, many thanks _ gatherings. professor paul elliott, many thanks indeed, _ gatherings. professor paul elliott, many thanks indeed, director - gatherings. professor paul elliott, many thanks indeed, director of i gatherings. professor paul elliott, i many thanks indeed, director of the react programme here and public health medicine at imperial college london, thank you.—
10:13 am
there are still concerns about the impact of omicron, even if it is milder. the variant is spreading rapidly across europe and around the world, as tanya dendrinos reports. a silver lining just in time for christmas, but while preliminary studies suggest the omicron variant appears to be milder, its rate of transmission is another story altogether. omicron is already the dominant strain in a number of countries, including the uk, portugal and denmark. and according to the world health organization, that will soon be the case right across europe. there is no doubt that europe once again is the epicentre of the global pandemic. the top ten countries with the highest mortality are in europe and central asia. in spain, the variant is believed to account for almost half of all infections. in response to the rapid rise, prime minister pedro sanchez has announced plans to reintroduce mandatory face coverings outdoors.
10:14 am
still, there's a hint of optimism. translation: this is not| march 2020, and this is not last year's christmas. fortunately, we are living in another time. 90% of people aged 12 and over have been vaccinated. this time last year, nobody was. belgium is also tightening restrictions. from sunday, most indoor activities will be banned, cinemas and theatres will close, and there'll be a two—person limit set for shopping. the united states, where omicron is also the dominant strain, saw its seven—day average of covid—19 cases jump by 25% on the previous week. as festive celebrations draw closer, the message is one of caution. would it be safe for individuals who are vaccinated, who are boosted, to get together with family in the setting of the home? the answer to that is, yes. but i want to make sure this is not confused with going to a large gathering,
10:15 am
and there are many of these. parties that have 30, 40, 50 people, in which you do not know the vaccination status of individuals. in china, it's a strict zero—covid strategy. more than 13 million people in the city of xi'an have been ordered to lock down, as authorities look to control an outbreak. it's recorded 143 infections since december 9th. the country on high alert, ahead of the winter games in february. right around the world, it's clear managing the pandemic remains a difficult task. two years on, and the balance is still difficult to strike. tanya dendrinos, bbc news. our europe correspondent nick beake is in brussels, and is following developments as omicron spreads across the continent. i think probably the most striking change is in spain where,
10:16 am
once again, people will have to wear a face covering outside. that is something we saw quite a lot of during previous waves in mainland europe, but now it's back in for the spanish. and pedro sanchez, the prime minister, talking about bringing this in before christmas. of course, in the netherlands, they are already in this strict lockdown. they've been in it for four or five days now. and that will continue over the festive period. other places, though, are delaying measures until after christmas and after boxing day. portugal, for example, is bringing forward something that they had planned for a while, schools and pubs shutting. but that's coming forward a few days. and also, here in belgium, the fact that you can't go to an indoor venue, you can't go to a cinema or theatre, and also, you can't go and watch a sports team play. that's the sort of approach the belgian government are taking. as you say, though, various different places across the continent, they're trying to work on the specific measures they think will work best for their particular country. nick beake.
10:17 am
well, covid—19 has put healthca re system everywhere under significant strain. in australia's most populous state, new south wales, authorities are proposing taking a far tougher stance against those choosing to remain unvaccinated, charging them for covid medical costs. the initiative led to widespread criticism, as our australia correspondent shaimaa khalil explains. this idea was mentioned by the new south wales state health minister, brad hazzard. he was speaking to local media, and he was saying that the new south wales state government is considering whether to force people who are unvaccinated to pay for their medical bills if they required hospitalisation for covid—19. he did not mention any further details. he didn't say how far along they are in those conversations. but if implemented, this is going to be extremely controversial, because it is going to be a drastic change from australia's universal health care system. it has already come under fierce criticism from australia's top medical association, the australian medical association.
10:18 am
its president said that this was unethical to charge people for medical care based on previous health choices, that it was a shame to deny people health care, to deny people medical care in the middle of a pandemic, and that this was a lack of compassion really, at a time when people need it the most. and also, where do you draw the line? by the same logic, do you then charge smokers? new south wales has, of course, eased its restrictions. it's come out of lockdown. it's opened both its domestic and international borders for australians and for visa holders, and there was an expectation that these cases were going to rise, but that number has sharply risen in the last week or so. today, the state has reported more than 5,700 covid—19 cases. about 80% of that is of the omicron variant. and these are big numbers, in an australian context.
10:19 am
so i think even if it'sjust an idea that's being floated, even if it's just being discussed, it's going to make that divide between the vaccinated and unvaccinated even deeper, and i think it also shows you a certain nervousness from the state government's side about whether or not the health care is going to handle more cases. well, most people do want to receive the vaccine, but many countries are still struggling to get hold of the drugs. eight billion covid vaccines have been administered worldwide, but the vast majority have been given in high and middle—income countries. former uk prime minister gordon brown says the failure to distribute coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries is a "stain on our global soul". naomi grimley reports. 2021 was the year 8 billion vaccines were administered across the world, but the vast majority have been given in richer countries.
10:20 am
only one in four african health—care workers have been vaccinated, for example. and a former british prime minister thinks that should shame us all. it's really a stain on our global soul. because we've had a surplus of vaccines created in one part of the world — and, indeed, stockpiling — and we have a severe shortage in the other part of the world, where only 3% have been vaccinated in low—income countries. and it affects us all, because i think people are starting to realise that if we allow the disease to spread in poor countries and then mutate, it comes back and it haunts even the fully vaccinated. mr brown wants world leaders to try again at the start of the new year to make vaccination across the world a priority. the world health organization says 98 countries haven't been able to meet the target of vaccinating 40% of their populations by the end of the year. without more progress, who officials are warning
10:21 am
the pandemic will drag on for longer. getting the vaccines to those who need them most in all countries must be a priority for every single government, notjust some. we need to also be able to use tools to drive transmission down, because if we don't, we will continue to see the virus change, and the virus and threaten us in ways that will bring us closer to the beginning, rather than closer to the end. 2022 will see us enter the third year of the pandemic. but the question remains — will it be the year that vaccines finally become available everywhere? naomi grimley, bbc news. joining me now is romilly greenhill, uk director of the advocacy organisation the one campaign. we have watched as calls for all nations to get involved have played
10:22 am
out, where are we now as we reach the end of the year with distribution?— the end of the year with distribution? ~ ., ., , ., distribution? we are really no where near where we _ distribution? we are really no where near where we need _ distribution? we are really no where near where we need to _ distribution? we are really no where near where we need to be. - distribution? we are really no where near where we need to be. the - distribution? we are really no where j near where we need to be. the g20, the richest countries in the world, have agreed a target of 70% of people across all income groups should be fully vaccinated by september. next year. there was an interim target as we have just heard of 40% by the end of this year. and we are off track to meet that. and as we have just heard, that is bad news for people in low—income countries, but to be honest, it is also bad news for us in this country because it means the pandemic will last longer here and around the world. ~ ., , ~' , last longer here and around the world. ~ ., , ,, , ., ~ world. where does the key fault like is it with a lack — world. where does the key fault like is it with a lack of _ world. where does the key fault like is it with a lack of money, _ world. where does the key fault like is it with a lack of money, people i is it with a lack of money, people not going ahead with the pledges? is it a lack of supply, what is it? it is all of those things. there are three things that really need to change now, one is doses, we need to see much more rapid action. we are sharing doses and that includes with the uk government, we would like the uk government to scale up in terms of dough sharing. the second is
10:23 am
dollars or pounds in the uk. we are not seeing the financing needed to really scale up vaccines and roll—out vaccines around the world. the uk is £350 million short of its fair share this year, so we really need to see much higher levels of ambition in terms of the money we are putting in. and we also need clear delivery plans. what is happening at the moment is even when vaccine doses are shared, often it is very much at the last minute, just before they are due to expire and it means countries can't really plan proper vaccine roll—outs in the way we have done so well in this country. way we have done so well in this count . . , way we have done so well in this count . ., , ., ., , , country. india is one of the biggest vaccine manufacturers _ country. india is one of the biggest vaccine manufacturers in _ country. india is one of the biggest vaccine manufacturers in the - country. india is one of the biggest| vaccine manufacturers in the world, yet it has a huge and poor population itself. what has happened in south asia for example with getting the roll—out to ask many of the population there that needs it? well, i'm notan the population there that needs it? well, i'm not an expert in south asia, but across the board,
10:24 am
countries really are, when they are getting the vaccines, we are hearing they are distributing those vaccines very rapidly. really, the problem is that the moment, the rich countries are holding the vaccines and poor countries simply don't have the vaccines and they are not able to distribute them. as we heard from gordon brown, we are talking about 3% or 4% of people in low—income countries who are fully vaccinated. is there enough capacity in terms of countries across continents in africa, for example, being able to produce it and distribute it themselves, ratherthan produce it and distribute it themselves, rather than having to receive doses?— themselves, rather than having to receive doses? ., . , , receive doses? producing themselves to something — receive doses? producing themselves to something over— receive doses? producing themselves to something over the _ receive doses? producing themselves to something over the medium - receive doses? producing themselves to something over the medium and i to something over the medium and long term we need to scale up, because we need to scale up production for doses, especially if we will need boosters around the world so that is a key priority, sharing the know—how and the intellectual property so that we can improve regional vaccine manufacturing in africa and asia and across the world. but that is a
10:25 am
medium term prospect. in the short term, it is really sharing those doses and providing the money. and this is absolutely critical. next year, the uk needs to contribute less than £1 billion to support the global vaccine roll—out and the benefits just to the uk economy will benefits just to the uk economy will be something like £74 billion, so this is enormously good value from the perspective of the uk economically. it is incredibly good value when we think about the impact on our health, the risk that if you don't roll—out vaccines around the world, we will see yet more variants and we will go through the greek alphabet, we will all know the greek alphabet, we will all know the greek alphabet as well as a prime minister at this rate. so for our health and our economy, we need to be putting, sharing the doses and sharing the dollars and doing that right now. romilly greenhill, many thanks indeed. . ~ romilly greenhill, many thanks indeed. ., ,, , ., a women's health ambassador is to be appointed in england,
10:26 am
as part of government plans to tackle decades of gender inequality within the health service. women in the uk have a longer life expectancy than men, but officials say they are spending less of their life in good health. with me now is professor geeta nargund. she is the co—founder of the ginsburg women's health board, an nhs consultant and medical director at create fertility. thanks very much forjoining us. what is your response to this new programme that is being set up to try and prioritise health for women here in england?— try and prioritise health for women here in england? yes, i am delighted that the government _ here in england? yes, i am delighted that the government has _ here in england? yes, i am delighted that the government has published i here in england? yes, i am delighted that the government has published a | that the government has published a document, documenting the key themes, as well as the next steps for a women's health strategy which is due to be published in the spring of 2022. and the whole agenda seems to be really to close the gender health gap. so what really i am delighted about is the approach and the comprehensive document that
10:27 am
highlights that it will be a preventative approach, alongside and looking at access and outcomes. and that approach is what i am really excited about.— that approach is what i am really excited about. ~ ., ., , ., ., excited about. what does that mean, what are women _ excited about. what does that mean, what are women not _ excited about. what does that mean, what are women not getting - excited about. what does that mean, what are women not getting that - excited about. what does that mean, | what are women not getting that they need? , ., ., ~ .,, . need? yes, look, there was evidence last ear need? yes, look, there was evidence last year which _ need? yes, look, there was evidence last year which was _ need? yes, look, there was evidence last year which was published - need? yes, look, there was evidence last year which was published on - last year which was published on international women's day and subsequently, more than 110,000 women have responded of all age groups across our country and that shows that women are not being listened to. in fact, 4% of women have commented they felt they would not be listened to by the health care professionals. and that is the key theme that needs to be addressed. in the sense that education about women's help, potentially, people are saying that it should be mandatory training for
10:28 am
gps in women's health and education starts in schools and we do need to address women's health issues in schools. ., schools. can you give me practical examples. — schools. can you give me practical examples, though, _ schools. can you give me practical examples, though, of— schools. can you give me practical examples, though, of what - schools. can you give me practical examples, though, of what is - examples, though, of what is missing? examples, though, of what is missina? ~ . , examples, though, of what is missina? ., , ,, , examples, though, of what is missina? ., , ,, missing? what is missing is about, it is not a sickness _ missing? what is missing is about, it is not a sickness orientated - it is not a sickness orientated approach. it is life goals orientated approach. so that there is help. it is categorised as reproductive health needs, starting from addressing menstrual disorders and early access and diagnosis, as well as women's needs about fertility, pregnancy, miscarriages and early diagnosis of endometriosis and early diagnosis of endometriosis and menopause. and so it is a very comprehensive coverage which will be looked at and that means education. and the department of health and social care is also planning to work in partnership with the office for
10:29 am
health improvement and disparities. this is addressing all women to close the gender health gap, across all the age groups. that is actually quite exciting because it its is about education in schools, education at the workplace, education at the workplace, education of gps, so that we not only address, as you quite rightly said, women live longer than men, but it is the quality—of—life that matters. many women live with chronic illnesses that affects the quality—of—life and to address that, we do need to address it in the form of education and raising awareness, and then early access and diagnosis. they are clearly documented in the vision documented —— vision document because we want to change health outcomes for all women across all age groups. outcomes for all women across all age groups-—
10:30 am
age groups. sorry to interrupt, professor — age groups. sorry to interrupt, professor geeta _ age groups. sorry to interrupt, professor geeta nargund, - age groups. sorry to interrupt, | professor geeta nargund, many age groups. sorry to interrupt, - professor geeta nargund, many thanks indeed. rescue footage has been released of two babies being pulled alive from the rubble of kentucky's tornado last week. we're looking for a three and 15—month—old... hey, baby. this is the moment police officers found dallas, aged three months, and kaden, 15 months, in a bath tub. wrapped in blankets, their grandmother tucked the children with a bible into the tub, before the twister hit. the bath was ripped from the house by the force of the winds and flung into the garden. only one of the babies sustained a minor injury. they were reunited with their grateful grandmother before being taken to hospital. amazing footage and an amazing rescue there.
10:31 am
the headlines on bbc news... people with omicron are less likely to end up in hospital, as studies suggest it could be milder than previous covid variants. scientists say they're "cautiously optimistic" but warn the sheer number of infections could still lead to hospitals being overwhelmed. new south wales proposes to charge unvaccinated people for covid medical costs —— the doctors' union says it's unethical. erasing history — a statue in hong kong commemorating the tiananmen square massacre is dismantled. and rescue footage emerges of two babies being pulled alive from the rubble of kentucky's tornado last week and handed over to their grandmother. the days following christmas
10:32 am
will see the return of some coronavirus restrictions in many parts of the uk in response to concerns over the omicron variant. in northern ireland, nightclubs will be closed from boxing day, from the 27th of december hospitality will return to table service only with no more than six people allowed to sit together and people will be advised to reduce indoor mixing to a maximum of three households. in wales — restrictions introduced include a return of the rule of six in pubs, cinemas and restaurants. two—metre social distancing rules will also be reintroduced in public places. nightclubs will close from boxing day. in scotland, from boxing day, there will be limits on the size of live public events. from the following day, nightclubs will close for 3 weeks, while pubs, bars and other hospitality venues will return to table service only with one—metre social distancing and no more than three households in each group. well, pubs and restaurants in wales say they fear they could be "crippled" by those boxing day restrictions our wales correspondent tomos morgan reports.
10:33 am
from boxing day, it'll feel like deja vu again in wales. the rule of six will be back. table service will be needed at licensed premises. and nightclubs have been told they must shut altogether. another blow for an industry reeling after a difficult 18 months, and one that was expecting a bumper christmas. probably the thing that underpins it the most is customer confidence. so all of these messages say that hospitality is not safe, and it is safe. of course, it'll mean a decline in footfall, a decline in sales. you know, going into the start of the year, when we were hopefully looking forward with a bit of optimism, we're on the back foot again and having to restart things. although an extra £120 million has been set aside to help those affected, some businesses took to social media yesterday, bemoaning the announcement, with some suggesting they couldn't operate under these new measures. later today, the economy minister will outline how the extra money will be divided amongst those affected. in addition, spectators at sports and large events
10:34 am
will be banned for now, while only guidance has been put in place for household mixing. there is a limit of 30 indoors, before breaking the law. the decision was made in order to protect the nhs from further pressure this winter. the question many are asking, though, is for how long will restrictions be in place this time around? tomos morgan, bbc news, cardiff. the british socialite ghislaine maxwell will spend the president of russia, vladimir putin, has been holding his annual end—of—year press conference in moscow. we are going to that in a few minutes. the british socialite ghislaine maxwell will spend christmas day , her 60th birthday , behind bars, after thejury in her sex crimes trial suspended deliberations on wednesday without reaching a verdict. the judge granted a request from the jurors that they take thursday off and told them to return on monday, after the
10:35 am
christmas holiday. our correspondent, barbara plett usher, has been following the trial in new york. the jury deliberated for two full days, but it wasn't able to reach a verdict before christmas. and the court has now recessed for the holiday weekend. the jurors are considering six counts against ghislaine maxwell of grooming and transporting girls for sex. and the case is narrowly focused on the accusations of four women who say that she facilitated or participated injeffrey epstein's abuse of her. the jurors have several times asked the judge to send them transcript of testimony or to clarify certain issues. they will come back on monday to continue deliberating about whether to convict ghislaine maxwell of all, some or none of the charges. in the meantime, ms maxwell will be spending christmas at the federal detention centre in brooklyn, where she's been for more than a year, with this decision still hanging over her. the president of russia, vladimir putin, has been holding his annual end—of—year press
10:36 am
conference in moscow. it isa it is a lengthy affair and it is still going on at the moment as we can see there. if still going on at the moment as we can see there-— can see there. if today's in amish russia would _ can see there. if today's in amish russia would be replaced - can see there. if today's in amish russia would be replaced with - can see there. if today's in amish | russia would be replaced with the state of siberia and four more states in the european part of russia. that was set in 1918 and in 1991 we separated into 12 parts. it seems to me our partners are not satisfied with that. they think russia is too large, even the european countries have turned themselves into a union of states. they are quite small states with populations of 60 to 80 million people, but the dissolution of the soviet union, we only had 146
10:37 am
million people and that is too much for the waste. that is the only explanation for the constant pressure against us. back in the 19905, pressure against us. back in the 1990s, the soviet union did everything it did to build normal relations with the west, with the united states, i will keep saying this and i will repeat for your viewers and listeners from the media that you represent, i didn't quite get that, but that doesn't matter. our nuclear science, our military nuclear sites had experts from the us intelligence authorities, they were going there, it was theirjob to visit the russian military nuclear sites, and the russian government had advisers from the cia working inside of it. what else did you need? why did you have to support the terrorists in the northern capacious? terrorist
10:38 am
northern ca pacious? terrorist organisations northern capacious? terrorist organisations for two reach your goals and break down the russian federation. that is what you knew were doing and a former director has said that and i know that. we were working with the double agents and they were reporting it on the western intelligence agencies. why did you have to do that? you should have done something different. treat russia as a possible ally and strengthen trust. but instead you kept trying to break us up and the east were saying don't do that and you promised you wouldn't, and they were asking where it was written. nowhere. we don't care about your concerns. every time we —— they try to make obstacles and we express our concerns about that but they said no. i concerns about that but they said no. ., ., ., , ., , ., no. i am going to bring an, it is a very lengthy. _
10:39 am
no. i am going to bring an, it is a very lengthy. very _ no. i am going to bring an, it is a very lengthy, very interesting, i no. i am going to bring an, it is a. very lengthy, very interesting, can you tell us more about what we have been hearing from the president? the your the ukraine is a concern at the moment. , ., ., , , ., ., moment. yes, “ournalists need a lot of stamina to — moment. yes, journalists need a lot of stamina to sit _ moment. yes, journalists need a lot of stamina to sit through _ moment. yes, journalists need a lot of stamina to sit through the - moment. yes, journalists need a lot of stamina to sit through the whole l of stamina to sit through the whole conference, it usually last four or five hours. to be honest, we were lucky to catch the answer of the president on international affairs because most of the questions refer to internal russian affairs. it is interesting how he links all that, at the moment, it seems he was talking about international affairs but actually there is a very strong message adjust to the russian people. he is saying the majority of russia problems are connected with the waste. you could hear him saying the waste. you could hear him saying the weston spirit constant pressure on us and that is a message for russians because at the moment the russians because at the moment the russian economy is struggling and livelihoods in russia have decreased
10:40 am
dramatically over the past few years including this year. for them not to ask inconvenient questions, there is always very convenient for the president, a convenient answer, it is due to the pressure from the west. ~ . . , is due to the pressure from the west. ~ ., ., , is due to the pressure from the west. ~ ., .,, ., west. what has he said about the ukraine? he _ west. what has he said about the ukraine? he blamed _ west. what has he said about the ukraine? he blamed it _ west. what has he said about the ukraine? he blamed it on - west. what has he said about the ukraine? he blamed it on the - west. what has he said about the l ukraine? he blamed it on the west, in essence. — ukraine? he blamed it on the west, in essence. he _ ukraine? he blamed it on the west, in essence, he said _ ukraine? he blamed it on the west, in essence, he said that _ ukraine? he blamed it on the west, in essence, he said that we - ukraine? he blamed it on the west, in essence, he said that we feel- in essence, he said that we feel that there might be a preparation within ukraine for a brutal military... as the president said, it is historically by russian speaking people. they want to make us not depend and he didn't give a direct answer, but we can read between the lines that russia tries to say that russia is not going to sustain this pressure, russia is ready to respond. but we need to remember that almost one month ago,
10:41 am
he said it is actually very profitable for russia that the waste and the ukraine are nervous and anxious and he would like that nervousness to continue. has anxious and he would like that nervousness to continue. has he said an hini nervousness to continue. has he said anything about _ nervousness to continue. has he said anything about the _ nervousness to continue. has he said anything about the gas _ nervousness to continue. has he said anything about the gas pipeline? - nervousness to continue. has he said anything about the gas pipeline? we | anything about the gas pipeline? we have seen a new government take over in germany, this is all part of the key diplomatic pressure points between russia and europe? mar; key diplomatic pressure points between russia and europe? may he mentioned the _ between russia and europe? may he mentioned the gas _ between russia and europe? may he mentioned the gas pipeline - between russia and europe? may he mentioned the gas pipeline in - between russia and europe? may he mentioned the gas pipeline in the i mentioned the gas pipeline in the last two minutes, but if not, no, the gas pipeline has not been mentioned yet. he keeps insisting that the west have unwritten promises which were given earlier and were broken later on, he keeps insisting on that and at the moment russia insists on having written promises, there are red lines which cannot be crossed, and that has been his message for quite a while. it seems that he is definitely enjoying
10:42 am
the attention which excess in the international arena and in nato and international arena and in nato and in the european union headquarters regarding the situation in ukraine, he seems to enjoy that, it is not a problem for him to move his troops around the country and it gives him some trump cards, some strong points in possible negotiations with the waste which are due to happen in january. he waste which are due to happen in janua . . , , waste which are due to happen in janua . .,, , ., ,~ waste which are due to happen in janua . .,, , ., ., january. he has been asked about the statistics for — january. he has been asked about the statistics for covid-19 _ january. he has been asked about the statistics for covid-19 and _ january. he has been asked about the statistics for covid-19 and her - statistics for covid—19 and her trust whether they are. he statistics for covid-19 and her trust whether they are. he insists the figures _ trust whether they are. he insists the figures are _ trust whether they are. he insists the figures are trustworthy, - trust whether they are. he insists the figures are trustworthy, even | trust whether they are. he insists l the figures are trustworthy, even in that question he managed to point to the west as the source of the problems. he said unfortunately they do not want to recognise the russian vaccination and that is why keeps spreading. we need to know that it is russia itself, the producer of the russian vaccine who has not supplied the documents needed to the
10:43 am
world health organization and that is the key reason why the russian vaccine has not been approved yet. but for the internal audience, the problem is not within us but out. that is a really fascinating jet digester to see what the questions are under responses are. thank you very much. a well—known statue commemorating the deaths of students protesting in beijing's tiananmen square has been removed from a university campus in hong kong. china has always forbidden any public recognition of the killings of pro—democracy demonstrators in bejing in 1989 — and the university said it had removed the statue after taking legal advice. it was one of the few remaining public memorials in the region. russell trott reports. an iconic piece that stood tall in hong kong for decades, the pillar of shame commemorates the tiananmen square massacre, speaking volumes with bodies piled to represent the pro—democracy protesters killed by the chinese authorities in 1989.
10:44 am
it had been at the forefront of annual vigils, but it too has been silenced. i don't think people expected this thing would happen in the university — so—called with the most freedom of expression or freedom of speech. they try to become the first one to remove every history or parts of history inside the campus. under cover of darkness, construction workers dismantled the eight metre statue. the university of hong kong ordered its removal in october, saying the decision was based on external legal advice and risk assessment in the best interests of the university. i would ask, if they don't give me the sculpture, i will sue them. because they have destroyed an artist's work in hong kong, they have kept it for 25 years and now destroyed. of course, they must give it to me, even in pieces. i want to take it back to denmark and put it together
10:45 am
and make an exhibition. this pillar was one of the few remaining public memorials to tiananmen square in hong kong, where the anniversary was marked annually until being banned by the authorities in 2020. they cited covid measures as the reason, but with china forbidding any public recognition of the massacre, questions have been raised over attempts to erase history in this semi—autonomous region. russell trott, bbc news. our reporter, martin yip, is in hong kong. what has the reaction been to this move? ,, ., .,. ., what has the reaction been to this move? ,, ., ., ., , ., move? quite a mixed reaction as far as we can see- _ move? quite a mixed reaction as far as we can see. people _ move? quite a mixed reaction as far as we can see. people express - move? quite a mixed reaction as far as we can see. people express their| as we can see. people express their anger on social media and at the scene there are reportedly chinese students who are studying at the
10:46 am
university of hong kong shedding tears as they witnessed the statue being taken down overnight. until this very morning, they had finished the operation by seven o'clock in the operation by seven o'clock in the morning, until that moment, the pillar of shame has been the only remaining standing document marking the 1989 tiananmen square student protests crackdown in beijing, on chinese soil that is hong kong, we are talking about, because a few months ago, you might remember the vigil that was held every year by the hong kong alliance, before that, there museum with relics from the protest was raided by national security police and everything has been taken away. now the pillar of
10:47 am
shame has been taken down. this moment it is fair to say that there is no such monument left in hong kong any more. ? huge political change in hong kong in recent times, in terms of the population there, is it only be very politically active and interested who are perturbed by this, does the rest of the population take a more pragmatic view of what is going on there? is it possible to sum up that wider reaction? trite it possible to sum up that wider reaction? ~ . , it possible to sum up that wider reaction? ~ ., , ., ., ., reaction? we are yet to hear from the other side _ reaction? we are yet to hear from the other side of _ reaction? we are yet to hear from the other side of the _ reaction? we are yet to hear from the other side of the political- the other side of the political spectrum, the pro—beijing side. as far as we can see what is happening on campus, it is business as usual. there were those who went to the site and witnessed the standing of the pillarfor one site and witnessed the standing of the pillar for one last time.
10:48 am
otherwise, it is kind of, not fair to say not discussion, for the rest of the territory, for the rest who might claim themselves as pro—government or patriotic, this is just something that they don't care about. it just something that they don't care about. , , ., , ., , about. it is interesting how statues have become _ about. it is interesting how statues have become contentious, - about. it is interesting how statues have become contentious, we - about. it is interesting how statuesj have become contentious, we have seen what has happened in hong kong, we have seen statues taken down in the uk, in the us. it is an interesting sign of the times, isn't it? ., , , interesting sign of the times, isn't it? , , , interesting sign of the times, isn't it? , , ., , it? probably because for this particular— it? probably because for this particular pillar _ it? probably because for this particular pillar of _ it? probably because for this particular pillar of shame, i it? probably because for this i particular pillar of shame, this particular pillar of shame, this particular structure was installed in the university of hong kong, it has been there for two decades, it was there somehow because of the existence of what used to be an autonomous student union. the sculpture was somehow given to the
10:49 am
hong kong alliance and they gave it to the student union, and it was stood right in front of the student union building, just that, the student union itself has also been dissolved a few months ago, after another row that involved national security. that one has gone and the university has reclaimed the whole property and now they say they never gave the permission for the pillar so that you get away. and there are comments saying that it's the hong kong alliance, now it's the student union, now it is the pillar of shame, all the things that represent the university of hong kong freedom of expression has been taken away and that is why for those who are still in support of the pro—democracy movement, they feel
10:50 am
sadness fact that this campus used to nurture people back hundred and ten years ago who led the revolution to overthrow the imperial chinese regime and set up the first republic in asia. this really marks the watershed of this university's development as a monument of freedom of expression. development as a monument of freedom of exoression-— israeli archaeologists have discovered a roman—era gold ring bearing an early christian depiction ofjesus. the ring set with a green gemstone was found among a number of artefacts discovered in two shipwrecks off israel's mediterranean coast. it shows a shepherd boy carrying a sheep on his shoulders. in the bible, jesus describes himself as the "good shepherd". the other treasures include hundreds of silver and bronze roman coins.
10:51 am
a lost episode of "the morecambe & wise show" has been discovered in an attic after more than 50 years. it hasn't been seen since it was broadcast in october 1970 but will be shown on bbc two this christmas as our media and arts correspondent david sillito reports. morecambe and wise, october 1970, and what would become a familiar setting for many classic sketches — eric and ernie at home in pyjamas. and the name on the card is mr eric morecambe. - hello, mr morecambe. hello, hello! are you there, mr morecambe? yes, speak up. but unlike so many of their shows, this has not been repeatedly re—shown. it was thought to have been lost. that is until eric's son gary paid a visit to his mother's attic. i was rummaging around mainly
10:52 am
looking for paperwork. i was looking, actually, for old scripts, because some of them had gone missing. and then i came across all these cylinders. i thought very little of them, except they were big and old and worth bringing down. he had no idea what was in the canisters until he got a call from someone who finally watched the footage and told him... i think you will be very surprised to learn you have just found a missing show. and i really was, i was staggered. i thought that was incredible. would you care to try to hit me over the head with your umbrella, sir? hit you over the head with my umbrella? i yes, please. all right, if you insist. i didn't realise, at that point, just how far the bbc would go then to present it. that it would then get colourised, for instance, which is fantastic. so it has been brought bang up to date. don't light your pipe in here, it's not allowed! look out, the nurse is coming. get rid of it, quick. and also, what's really
10:53 am
good is the quality. the quality of the show itself. you can see the embryonic morecambe and wise come through, and that's fantastic. so now, restored and colourised, a chance to see a bit of comedy history which has, until now, been lost in the family attic. mr morecambe. _ yes, that's true, that's true. yes, that's me. for £85.| oh, yes. do you have any idea whose voice this is? i it's you! david sillito, bbc news. earlier i spoke to eric morecambe's son gary about how he came to find the long—lost episode. well, by accident, to be honest. i mean, it has taken 40 years to sort the house out, hasn't it? it's a bit appalling! but i should point out my mother's attic is like something out of indiana jones, you don't want to go in there. i finally got around to it, and i was looking for scripts, as i've said, and ijust came across these canisters and that was how we found this incredible missing show.
10:54 am
and tell us about it, is it a classic? well, it's always a classic with morecambe and wise, and eddie braben's on board, so you've got the embryonic morecambe and wise coming through. i mean, obviously they are not as they quite were by 1975, the illusion of ernie being a great playwright with "the plays what i wrote" and all of that, but hadn't begun. but the rest of the format and the introduction of them sharing a bed is very interesting. so you have all of that coming in again, which is lovely. and how did your father feel about that bed scene? he was never very keen actually. he wasn't keen, he just thought that it gave out a wrong tone somehow. for two middle—aged men to be sharing a bed. back then anyway, in that area. so it was eddie braben again, the writer, who said, "well, it was good enough for laurel and hardy." and of course, that was brilliant because they were the heroes of eric and ernie, were laurel and hardy. that is really why they were in show business was because of them. you know, as a double act.
10:55 am
so that was it, he was then hooked. i don't think he ever fully enjoyed it. but if you notice, in most of those episodes where he is in the bed, he's smoking a pipe — he felt that that that was more macho if he did that. which in itself is very odd, to be smoking in bed, but there you go. but it seemed to appease him anyway, and he came round to it because, like the flat routine and like ernie's "plays what he wrote", it became a staple of morecambe and wise, the bed routine. and what was it like to have a father who was a sort of phenomenal comedic star? did you hear a lot ofjokes and sketches around the dining table? did he talk about the show with you? how was it at home? no, we mostly talked about football, to be honest. no, we didn't, and also... and i'm constantly asked, extremely famous people asked me, and i have to say, "well, i didn't really know any different." i knew other people's friends at school and things and their dads,
10:56 am
and they always said to me, "your dad is so much more interesting than our dads. " i don't know what that means exactly, but to me he was just dad, and that is what he did. so i can't really comment on that. talking about his father and the new episode of markham and weiss. you're watching bbc news. now it's time for a look at the weather with carol kirkwood. hello again. if you are dreaming of a white christmas, for most of us, that is not going to be the case. but today, it's going to be unseasonably mild, especially across northern ireland, england and wales. colder across scotland, especially the north east and we've got outbreaks of rain in the forecast as well. some of us have already seen that rain. we've got a clutch of fronts, this one is a weakening front, but this one is more active and is pushing northwards and eastwards. behind it, the breeze picking up, the breeze coming from the south—west which is a milder direction. so a lot of cloud and rain
10:57 am
pushing northwards and eastwards, limited amounts of rain getting into the far south—east, and behind it, we'll see some residual cloud, but it should brighten up later on. across south—west england, wales and also northern ireland. and here is where we are likely to see the highest temperatures. still cool, particularly so across the north east of scotland where we have got a north easterly colder wind. now, as we head into the evening and overnight, that band of rain continues to push northwards as it hits the cold air across the highlands and the grampians, we'll see some fresh snow above 300 metres, potentially as much as ten centimetres falling at that kind of height. at lower levels, there may well be some snow flurries. there is also the risk of ice here and also the chance of a frost. but push further south across the rest of the uk, it will be fairly cloudy, some patchy mist and fog forming as well. so first thing on christmas eve, we've got this decaying front producing some snow flurries, we'll see some of those in the northern isles as well, a lot of cloud around, limited brightness, and then this next weather front brings rain across northern ireland, wales
10:58 am
and south—west england. and the wind starts to pick up here too. temperatures are ten, 11 and 12 in the quarter of the country, but as we push further north, again, we are still in the cold air, as we will be on christmas day. so the mild air further south. and it is still where the boundary layer is between both of these air masses where we are going to see potentially some snow. now, at this stage we think, if it happens, and it is an if, it's going to be the hills in northern ireland, possibly the hills in wales and northern england. and later in the day, the southern uplands. because we've got this weather front coming in bringing the rain and a lot of cloud and still milder conditions compared to the clearer skies as we push further north. but wherever you are, it is going to be windy in the south, especially in the south—west.
10:59 am
11:00 am
this is bbc news, i'm annita mcveigh. the headlines at 11am. people with omicron are less likely to end up in hospital, as studies suggest it could be milder than previous covid variants. the health secretary welcomed the news, but warned the sheer number of infections could still lead to hospitals being overwhelmed. we do know with omicron that it doesn't spread a lot more quickly, it's more infectious than dealt us orany it's more infectious than dealt us or any advantage gained from reduced hospitalisation needs to be set against that. there's been a doubling in a week of the number of staff at acute nhs trusts in london who are absent for covid—19 reasons. across england nearly 19,000 staff were absent. new south wales proposes to charge unvaccinated people
11:01 am
for covid medical costs, the doctors' union says it's unethical. and rescue footage emerges of two babies being pulled alive from the rubble of kentucky's tornado last week and handed over to their grandmother. police warn e—scooter users they risk having them seized and destroyed if they're used on public roads. the health secretary says the government has no plans for further
11:02 am
restrictions this week and will continue to monitor the data after two early studies indicated that the omicron variant may cause milder in the stand out with patients less likely to need hospital treatment. alongside a similar study from south africa — early evidence suggests people infected with omicron were between 30% and 70% less likely to need a hospital bed than compared with other variants. one of the scientists leading the research, professor neil ferguson from imperial college london, said the data is "good news to a degree" but a big wave of infections could yet overwhelm the health service. the uk reported more than 100,000 new daily infections for the first time yesterday. other home nations have already announced new post christmas measures to curb the spread of omicron. in scotland, nightclubs will be closed for three weeks from 27th december, but venues can stay open with table service and social distancing. this follows similar moves in wales and northern ireland. here's our health correspondent,
11:03 am
katharine da costa. early data from south africa, and now studies in england and scotland, are pointing in the same direction. omicron infections may be milder and leading to fewer hospital admissions. research by imperial college london found around a 40% reduction in the risk of being admitted to hospitalfor a night or more, compared to delta. a scottish study suggested there was a 65% lower risk of being hospitalized with omicron, but it was based on only a few cases. while in south africa, omicron patients were thought to be around 75% less likely to need hospital treatment. rather than omicron being fundamentally milder, scientists think it's partly due to immunity in the population from previous infection and vaccination. it's still early days, but scientists say it's good news, to a degree. it's very important to recognize that, even if there were, say, a 50% reduction in the rate of hospitalisation, because it's doubling every two days,
11:04 am
that 50% will soon just be overwhelmed by the increasing case numbers. so, the total impact of omicron is still very, very significant, because it's such a highly transmissible virus and it's growing so quickly. in the face of rapidly rising infections, record numbers of boosters are now being administered. 30 million have beenjabbed so far. from the new year, boosters will be offered to all over—16s, as well as at—risk 12 to 15—year—olds, those living with someone with a weakened immune system, and teenagers who are immunosuppressed themselves will get a fourth jab. for the first time, five to 11—year—olds in the uk, with specific health conditions, will be offered two smaller doses of the pfizer vaccine eight weeks apart. christmas may be just days away, but scientists are working flat—out to provide the data governments need to make tough decisions on how best to respond to the virus. katherine da costa, bbc news.
11:05 am
the health secretary sajid javid has been speaking this morning. he confirmed the government won't be announcing any new restrictions before christmas. this is what he had to say: we are not planning any further announcements this week. i want people to, despite the caution we are all taking, the sensible caution, people should enjoy their christmases with families and friends, of course remain cautious, and we will keep the situation under review. we are learning all the time from this new data and we will keep analysing that data and if we need to do anything more, we will but nothing will happen before christmas. (pres)he also reacted to those studies into the omicron variant which appear to show — at least at this early stage — that it's less likely to lead to hospitalisations. these early reports, they suggest that the risk of hospitalisation is lower than delta and that of course
11:06 am
is good, but is encouraging news and they are not very clear yet on how much that risk is reduced and we do know with omicron that it does spread a lot more quickly, it is a lot more infectious than deltas or any advantage gained from a reduced risk of hospitalisation needs to be set against that and we know for example that if a much smaller percentage of people are at the risk of hospitalisation, that a smaller percentage of a much larger number that could still be significant in hospitalisations. britain may follow israel and germany in approving the roll—out of a fourth covid—19 vaccine. thejoint committee on vaccination and immunisation will look at data on protection from three jabs and hospitalisation from the new omicron variant before making a decision on a second booster. with me now is proffessor adam finn from the university of bristol and member of thejoint committee of vaccination and immunisation.
11:07 am
professor fenn, thank you for your time today. a lot of detail, a lot of lines to look at. and let's look at this preliminary data from several studies indicating that omicron may cause a milder illness than the delta variant and the uk health security agency is due to publish more data later, we think. what is your assessment of the information so far? we what is your assessment of the information so far?— what is your assessment of the information so far? we have several bits of information _ information so far? we have several bits of information pointing - information so far? we have several bits of information pointing in - information so far? we have several bits of information pointing in that i bits of information pointing in that direction so that is exactly what we needed to hear, really. whether it is the virus it's self that is more benign or whether it's because we have more immunity, either way, it is still good news. on the other hand, as you havejust is still good news. on the other hand, as you have just heard from the secretary of state for health, you have to balance that against the increased infectiousness of the virus, which is clearly a problem, so that i have a serious virus, which is twice as infectious, cancels itself out and leave you with the same problem. it's very
11:08 am
good news that it is looking milder, but it doesn't mean we can forget about the problem. {lin but it doesn't mean we can forget about the problem.— about the problem. on the other hand, we about the problem. on the other hand. we are _ about the problem. on the other hand, we are also _ about the problem. on the other hand, we are also being - about the problem. on the other hand, we are also being told - about the problem. on the other| hand, we are also being told that about the problem. on the other. hand, we are also being told that if you have two primary vaccinations and a booster, your chances of ending up a seriously ill and or in hospital with covid are greatly reduced, 75% chance that you won't be in that situation, so why this discussion around a fourth booster? is that looking ahead to perhaps another variant coming down the line as us? ~ ., ., ., ,., , as us? well, there are two reasons for boosters- _ as us? well, there are two reasons for boosters. one _ as us? well, there are two reasons for boosters. one is _ as us? well, there are two reasons for boosters. one is another - as us? well, there are two reasons| for boosters. one is another variant in which case we might well be trying to get towards reformulating vaccines that are more closely targeted to what is circulating but at the other aspect of this is that the vaccines we are currently using do turn out to have strong beneficial effects but they don't last that long, which is obviously a disappointment. we could find ourselves in a place where
11:09 am
particularly some of the older people who are more vulnerable and who are boosted first may want —— once again become vulnerable and need further boosting. we need to watch the situation clearly and we want to get vaccines to those who need them but that clearly is now on the agenda for discussion. presumably much too early to say whether we are getting towards the point where a virus that starts off as being incredibly virulent and without vaccinations at the start of this pandemic, that was a situation we were in, has caused so many deaths, we are perhaps not at the point where we are able to say is this virus virus now sufficiently mild that people may not need to be vaccinated against it?— mild that people may not need to be vaccinated against it?- i - vaccinated against it? well, i am talking _ vaccinated against it? well, i am talking about _ vaccinated against it? well, i am talking about future - vaccinated against it? well, i- am talking about future vaccinations are not the booster programme now. that is certainly a possibility in the long term and i do think we should be optimistic and at least about this virus in the long term but things will gradually calm down
11:10 am
and we will get more immunity and that should mean that we won't have these massive waves that paralyse society in the longer term. but exactly how soon that will happen and whether there will be in the meantime, that is a hard one to predict. meantime, that is a hard one to redict. ~ , , . ., meantime, that is a hard one to redict. ~ , . ., , predict. absolutely. who is in hos - ital predict. absolutely. who is in hospital at — predict. absolutely. who is in hospital at the _ predict. absolutely. who is in hospital at the moment - predict. absolutely. who is in hospital at the moment with l predict. absolutely. who is in i hospital at the moment with the covid's by and large are vaccinations keeping people out of hospital, therefore people who are ending up in hospital are people who haven't been vaccinated? yes. ending up in hospital are people who haven't been vaccinated?— haven't been vaccinated? yes, i mean, haven't been vaccinated? yes, i mean. the _ haven't been vaccinated? yes, i mean, the most _ haven't been vaccinated? yes, i mean, the most distressing - haven't been vaccinated? yes, i | mean, the most distressing side haven't been vaccinated? yes, i i mean, the most distressing side of it for people working in the nhs are the significant numbers of relatively healthy young people who have chosen not to be vaccinated and are now seriously ill and if there is one group we really do need to find a solution for it is that group. we need to inform people who have been misinformed the reasons why they really do need to get vaccinated. of course, there are
11:11 am
also people in hospital who have been vaccinated, we know these vaccines, as we havejust been vaccinated, we know these vaccines, as we have just been discussing, that protection wears off over time, but it is also clear that being vaccinated makes your chances of ending up in hospital lower and makes your illness, even if you do end up in hospital, more likely to end up with a good outcome to be shorter and not culminate in death. getting vaccinated is the one thing people need to do. prep death. getting vaccinated is the one thing people need to do.— thing people need to do. prep -- rofessor thing people need to do. prep -- professor adam _ thing people need to do. prep -- professor adam scene, _ thing people need to do. prep -- professor adam scene, thank - thing people need to do. prep --| professor adam scene, thank you thing people need to do. prep -- - professor adam scene, thank you for your time. as european countries enter the christmas period — the omicron variant is turning into the dominant strain in a number of countries — notjust here in the uk. spain has indicated it will bring back compulsory mask— wearing outdoors. the country ended mandatory outdoor mask use in latejune, while still requiring them indoors in public spaces or in crowded outdoor spaces where social distancing was impossible. in australia's most populous state, new south wales, authorities are proposing taking a far tougher stance against those choosing
11:12 am
to remain unvaccinated , charging them for covid medical costs. our australia correspondent shaimaa khalil has more this idea was mentioned by the new south wales state health minister, brad hazzard. he was speaking to local media, and he was saying that the new south wales state government is considering whether to force people who are unvaccinated to pay for their medical bills if they required hospitalisation for covid—19. he did not mention any further details. he didn't say how far along they are in those conversations. but if implemented, this is going to be extremely controversial, because it is going to be a drastic change from australia's universal health care system. it has already come under fierce criticism from australia's top medical association, the australian medical association. its president said that this was unethical to charge people for medical care based on previous
11:13 am
health choices, that it was a shame to deny people health care, to deny people medical care in the middle of a pandemic, and that this was a lack of compassion really, at a time when people need it the most. and also, where do you draw the line? by the same logic, do you then charge smokers? new south wales has, of course, eased its restrictions. it's come out of lockdown. it's opened both its domestic and international borders for australians and for visa holders, and there was an expectation that these cases were going to rise, but that number has sharply risen in the last week or so. today, the state has reported more than 5,700 covid—19 cases. about 80% of that is of the omicron variant. and these are big numbers, in an australian context. so i think even if it'sjust an idea that's being floated, even if it's just being discussed, it's going to make that divide between the vaccinated
11:14 am
and unvaccinated even deeper, and i think it also shows you a certain nervousness from the state government's side about whether or not the health care is going to handle more cases. some data to bring you now on the latest nhs staff absences from trusts in england. starting with london. a total of 3,874 staff at acute hospital trusts —— those which provide hospital—based services such as a&e and outpatient services —— in the city were absent for covid related reasons on the 19th of december. that's more than double the figure from a week earlier. across england trusts, 18,829 staff were absent on that same day, inclusive of the london figures. that's up 54% from a week earlier. we've contacted nhs england for comment on how those absences could affect nhs services. the total includes staff who were
11:15 am
ill with covid—19 or who were having anna, pretty striking figures. really interesting. this winter performance gives us an insight into how hospitals are coping during winter anyway but particularly at the moment with the emergence of omicron. you have touched on it there. the first thing of real interest is a staff sickness. nearly 19,000 nhs staff were of and that is “p 19,000 nhs staff were of and that is up by 54% for the week before. the increase was largely in london and london is still of interest because it is seen as the current epicentre for omicron and attention is on hospitals at the moment to see how they cope because depending on how they cope because depending on how they cope, but might indicate how they cope, but might indicate how the rest of the country is going to go. other services are also stretched, bed occupancy remains high, i have been told by the nhs that 10,000 beds are taken up by patients who are fit to be discharged, so there is that
11:16 am
potential blockage in the system. there have been improvements with ambulance handovers which is impressive considering the staff sickness as we are seeing but delays are continuing and a concern and thatis are continuing and a concern and that is a risk for patients.- that is a risk for patients. those number of _ that is a risk for patients. those number of staff _ that is a risk for patients. those number of staff absences - that is a risk for patients. those number of staff absences are i that is a risk for patients. those l number of staff absences are not just a number of patients in beds thatis just a number of patients in beds that is the only indicator of how much pressure the nhs is under. absolutely, the message is that we need to look as the nhs as a whole. this isn'tjust about covid patients or the number of covid patients coming through the door, this about non—care. covid air take up a small proportion that the nhs provides and the talking with the accelerator booster programme, trying to tackle long waiting lists, record waiting lists and day—to—day demands which are made harder by winter pressures and so they have a lot on their plate. and so they have a lot on their late. �* . and so they have a lot on their late, �* ., ., ~' and so they have a lot on their -late. ~ ., ., ~ ,, and so they have a lot on their late. �* . . ~' ,, ., and so they have a lot on their late. �* . . ~' ., .,~ , plate. anna, thank you for taking us throu:h plate. anna, thank you for taking us through that- _ the government and the nhs has urged
11:17 am
everyone to take measures to reduce the spread of covid during the christmas period as part of a "let's stay safe this festive season" campaign. to talk about this and winter pressures on the nhs i'm joined by gp, dr ellie cannon. doctor cannon, thank you for your time today. let's pick up on the subject of staff illness. we were looking at staff absences due to a covid in acute hospital trust. how much is affecting gp practices? well, to give you the experience for my own gp practice, we have three health care professionals currently isolating with positive pcr tests. thankfully, they are all well, although they are at home, so they are actually able to work, to font patients from home and that is just one example and i'm sure that is replicated around the country. hope replicated around the country. how about the campaign then? let's stay safe this festive season. i presume thatis safe this festive season. i presume that is a message you are, whatever the nature of your appointment,
11:18 am
trying to get over to your patients and what is the sense you are getting from talking to them about how they might be adapting their plans for the festive season? i think people are really taking this in their stride. we have had a tremendous uptake thankfully for our booster campaign locally and i would encourage everybody to get their booster vaccines, encourage everybody to get their boostervaccines, it encourage everybody to get their booster vaccines, it is not too late, and the 23rd of december or even tomorrow and christmas eve, walking vaccination sites around the country are open and that is a great thing to do. people are getting used to the idea of taking a lateral flow testjust to the idea of taking a lateral flow test just before you to the idea of taking a lateral flow testjust before you meet up with friends and family to see whether or not you are one of the one in three people with covid who may have no symptoms and that is a really important thing to do to prevent spread and i am seeing that more and more people now are doing that which is really great. and that is alongside ventilating teen —— vintage in your home as well as
11:19 am
wearing facemasks and on shops and public transport. trite wearing facemasks and on shops and public transport-— wearing facemasks and on shops and public transport. we can't emphasise does messages _ public transport. we can't emphasise does messages or— public transport. we can't emphasise does messages or advice _ public transport. we can't emphasise does messages or advice enough, . does messages or advice enough, especially at a time when people want to get together with family and friends. what other advice would you give to people to try to stay safe and try to curb the spread of this virus over the festive season? it is ve eas virus over the festive season? it is very easy at _ virus over the festive season? it is very easy at this — virus over the festive season? it 3 very easy at this time of year to mistake covid for another virus so i would say that any symptoms you have that might be a sore throat cough or anything that cuts could be covid, please isolate and get a pcr test and only if that pcr test is negative are you saved to ground. if you don't have any symptoms, a lateral flow test is really useful. get the windows open. we have already seen that throughout the past 20 months of being outside allows the virus to disperse and really cuts down that risk of viral transmission and we can do the same in the house. you only need to open
11:20 am
up in the house. you only need to open up the window for a couple of minutes every hour to disperse those virus particles. minutes every hour to disperse those virus particles-— virus particles. thank you very much for that advice. _ virus particles. thank you very much for that advice. and _ virus particles. thank you very much for that advice. and stay _ virus particles. thank you very much for that advice. and stay safe - for that advice. and stay safe yourself over christmas and i hope yourself over christmas and i hope your colleagues recover quickly. sport and for a full round up, from the bbc sport centre. good morning. bothjurgen klopp and antonio conte have asked for the efl cup semi finals to be one—off matches instead of over two legs. they want to try and ease the fixture congestion caused by the increasing number of covid cases among squads, while klopp says managers are meeting the premier league today to discuss the issue. nine of the last 20 league games have been postponed. and newcastle boss eddie howe isn't sure whether that's fairfor every team. to the benefit of the league you want everyone to be treated the same and you want a level playing field. so that is a tough challenge for the premier league to deliver, with the
11:21 am
current situation as it is as there are some teams not playing and some teams like us are playing all our matches. it's the integrity of the competition that is fundamental for me. meanwhile the head of the players football union, maheta molango says those playing the game should have a say as to whether football continues in england. premier league clubs decided on monday to not make any changes to the festive schedule, but molango believes it should be the players on the pitch who decide whether to have a break or not. what has been clear is that without players there is no game. and therefore what we have learned over therefore what we have learned over the last few months is that key stakeholders such as the fans and players, a lot of time have not been given the voice they deserve and the fans and players are the heart of this. ireland's cricketers have suffered a shock defeat to the usa in their opening t20 international in florida. it was the first time the americans
11:22 am
had faced a top side on home soil. and they were 16—4 inside five overs... but then they rallied to post 188—6. ireland, who are 17 places higher in the world ranking, fell well short, losing by 26 runs. the sides play one more t20 game, then a three—match one—day series. eoin morgan will captain a 16—man squad for england's t20 series against west indies next month. morgan will have a few new names... ..and a different coach... with paul collingwood will standing in for the five games in barbados. the squad includes 11 players who were in the uae for the world cup in november. uncapped left arm bowlers george garton and david payne have also been called up. (pres) according to coachjustin langer, not you are thinking of a whitewash. i know how quickly test cricket can turn around and i know how quickly
11:23 am
these things can change and everyone in the squad knows that and respect that. we respect chris —— test cricket is tough and england has a number of amazing players in their team and it changes quickly, so the mission, if you like is to win the ashes in australia. we have won two test matches and we have one to go and hopefully from our point of view it will be for us. and finally how about this for a comeback in the nba? 40—year—old joejohnson got a call from his agent on tuesday... and 24 hours later was back playing for his former team the boston celtics. johnson is one of many players getting opportunities to return as the league is ravaged by covid. he became the second oldest player to turn out in the nba in the celtics' win over cleveland. it's been 20 years since he made his debut... and he is the only current player to have been on court with the legendary michaeljordan. that's all the sport for now.
11:24 am
thank you very much, hugh. the days following christmas will see the return of some coronavirus restrictions in many parts of the uk in response to concerns over the omicron variant. some of the devolved administrations announced new measures yesterday, which will come into effect from boxing day. let's take a look at what is being introduced. in northern ireland, nightclubs will be closed from boxing day, from the 27th of december hospitality will return to table service only with no more than six people allowed to sit together and people will be advised to reduce indoor mixing to a maximum of three households. in wales, restrictions introduced include a return of the rule of six in pubs, cinemas and restaurants. two—metre social distancing rules will also be reintroduced in public places. nightclubs will close from boxing day. in scotland, from boxing day, there will be limits on the size of live public events. from the following day, nightclubs will close for three weeks, while pubs,
11:25 am
bars and other hospitality venues will return to table service only with one—metre social distancing and no more than three households in each group. gavin stevenson is the director of the mor—rioghain group, which owns venues in inverness and aberdeen and is also the vice chair of the night time industries association scotland. thank you very much forjoining us today, gavin. in scotland, nightclubs will be allowed to remain open if they adapt a table service with social distancing. for your venues, what are you going to do, what are you going to go down, what route? ,., ., ., ., ., route? good morning. for our premises _ route? good morning. for our premises we _ route? good morning. for our premises we have _ route? good morning. for our premises we have a _ route? good morning. for our premises we have a range - route? good morning. for our premises we have a range of i route? good morning. for our- premises we have a range of premises ranging from restaurants and a small nightclubs so for us, we will be closing the nightclub, it is simply not viable to operate with one metre social distancing and table service. that reduces our capacity by about 75% and we just can't train viably
11:26 am
like that. to that extent, the announcement today that will be initial closure brands for places to close is welcome from the scottish government, albeit we all wish we want in this position again at this time of year. edit want in this position again at this time of year-— want in this position again at this time of year. of course, and with ou, time of year. of course, and with you, industries _ time of year. of course, and with you, industries cap _ time of year. of course, and with you, industries cap and _ time of year. of course, and with you, industries cap and will - time of year. of course, and with you, industries cap and will most j you, industries cap and will most now because be going down the foreclosure route, rather than trying to do table and social distancing? i trying to do table and social distancing?— trying to do table and social distancin: ? ., . , , ., distancing? i mean, nightclubs are 'ust distancing? i mean, nightclubs are just fundamentally _ distancing? i mean, nightclubs are just fundamentally are _ distancing? i mean, nightclubs are just fundamentally are designed i distancing? i mean, nightclubs arej just fundamentally are designed to be large capacity promises and unfortunately they need to have those numbers meant to be able to trade viably. so we suspect the majority will now choose to close and take advantage of the closure grants. it is really important, we haven't seen the detail of what those grants will entail, but nightclubs are in a very precarious financial position after 500 plus days of closure and only being open for a few months, so we hope the grants to be announced will meet the
11:27 am
scale of the need. i grants to be announced will meet the scale of the need.— scale of the need. i was 'ust about to say that — scale of the need. i was 'ust about to say that you t scale of the need. i was 'ust about to say that you don't _ scale of the need. i wasjust about to say that you don't yet _ scale of the need. i wasjust about to say that you don't yet know - scale of the need. i wasjust about to say that you don't yet know the | to say that you don't yet know the detail of how much these grants will be or do you know when you might get hold of this money, this financial support? we hold of this money, this financial su- tort? ~ ., , support? we have meetings with the scottish government _ support? we have meetings with the scottish government later— support? we have meetings with the scottish government later today - support? we have meetings with the scottish government later today to l scottish government later today to try and understand what it is that they are proposing and so hopefully we will be able to get that money flowing through injanuary we will be able to get that money flowing through in january so we will be able to get that money flowing through injanuary so the clubs can afford to pay their bills and to ensure that their staffs jobs are secure because i think that is the most important thing at the moment, it's looking after notjust the businesses but also the team. it would be great if we saw the return of furlough from westminster, but at the moment, there has been no progress on the topic at all. i guess that in the meantime what you're hoping for and looking at this early data on the severity of omicron, you're hoping that this initial closure period of three weeks for nightclubs and the extra measures introduced for other parts
11:28 am
of hospitality, that perhaps at the end of that you may be able to pull back from that position to something approaching a more normal operations?— approaching a more normal operations? approaching a more normal o-erations? . , , ., , operations? well, yes, that is certainly the _ operations? well, yes, that is certainly the hope. _ operations? well, yes, that isj certainly the hope. obviously, despite support coming through, it never comes close to being able to actually cover the costs of closure or indeed of restricted operations. the most important thing is that we are able to get premises back open and trading fully in as short a time as the current situation allows. i think the scottish government are well aware of the urgency of the situation and will continue to work closely with them to give clubs open are safely and as quickly as possible. are safely and as quickly as possible-— are safely and as quickly as tossible. ,, ,., ., ,, are safely and as quickly as tossible. ,, ,., ., ~' , ., possible. gavin stevenson, thank you for our possible. gavin stevenson, thank you for yourtime- — sales of e—scooters have rapidly increased over the last four years but, if you're thinking of buying or giving away one this christmas, you may want to think again. police forces across the uk
11:29 am
are warning people to make sure they're aware about where they can be used legally otherwise they could be seized and destroyed asjo black reports. at a depot in the midlands, thousands of pounds worth of e—scooters are being chopped into pieces. if one of these is on your christmas list, it could be seized and destroyed if you're caught riding it in the wrong place. privately owned e—scooters can only be used on private land, with the land owner's consent. currently, the only e—scooters you can ride on public highways are rental ones from approved operators, which are part of a government trial operating in 32 areas of england. mate, just pull over there. and the police are out and about looking for illegal e—scooter use. £600, totalling £1200 for the two of them, and i think they're brilliant. steven crowley from birmingham bought his own e—scooter.
11:30 am
he's walking with it, so isn't doing anything wrong on this occasion. when you bought it, were you told about where you could use it? no, not really. but, you know, in the same breath, you're not going to — you know, we didn't inquire. you know, so we wasn't really interested. but what what gets me a little bit, just finding this out, they shouldn't be allowed to sell something that you can't use. steven says the rental scooter trials can confuse people into thinking personal devices can be used in the same way. and he's not alone in calling for retailers to be much clearer about the rules when they're selling them. the fact westminster police have seized well over 100 private e—scooters since april — around 140, in fact — and sometimes they're seizing them a few minutes after people have bought them from the shops. there's no way people would be riding them around on public land, if they'd been told on that kind of scale. so the shops are not doing enough. but retailers we've spoken to say they do provide clear and visible information, so customers understand the legal restrictions.
11:31 am
and sales seem to be booming.

59 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on