this is bbc news broadcasting to viewers in the uk and around the globe. i'm jane hill. our top stories — the us halves the covid isolation period for people without symptoms to five days. the uk government says it will keep its decision not to impose further covid curbs in england under very close review. do be cautious. take a lateral flow test before you go out. go to well—ventilated areas. a huge increase in the number of young children having to work on the streets in afghanistan. we have a special report from kabul. translation: my dad lost his job. no—one else at home was working, so i started shoe—shining. australia's cricketers trash england in one of the quickest ashes defeats ever.
and unwrapping the secrets of an ancient egyptian pharoah. we'll hear from the researcher who peeled off the bandages using modern technology. hello, and welcome. us health authorities have halved the recommended isolation period for people who test positive for covid, but don't exhibit symptoms. they've previously warned of a half a million cases a day in the coming weeks as the omicron variant takes hold. that isolation time goes from ten to five days. officials insist this is being guided by the science. so, why is this step being taken now? we put that question to david edwards, an aerosol scientist and a harvard university professor and bioengineer.
i think understand the logic. it's important for people to understand that the omicron variant, like previous variants, infects us initially in the upper airways. there's nothing about vaccination that prevents that happening. what's cleary true, as time goes on and more of the population has been infected or has been vaccinated, is that our immune resistance against infection and against severity of symptoms is going up. one of the things that the authorities are clearly reacting to is the fact that while hospitalisation rates are going up relatively slowly relative to case rates, case rates are climbing at a very high rate. and so, there's both a pressure to react, but also an awareness that very likely our immune systems are coming to our defence.
it is true that we have increasing numbers of both drugs and vaccines to defend ourselves, but i think the immune system is the primary defence we have right now and that's arguing for a relaxation of the regulations by the american authorities. i would also point out that the... ..the risks that we're facing right now are being measured in terms of hospitalisation, but also economic and other collateral damages. and i think that the government of the us and other countries right now are trying to balance a holistic strategy here, and in my view, what the americans are doing is probably the right thing to be doing right now. other countries have also been changing their approaches to deal with a surge in coronavirus cases. here's the latest from europe. france and germany have both reintroduced tougher coronavirus restrictions.
the french government has stopped just short of a stay—at—home order, but working from home will now be compulsory. demonstrations have taken place across eastern germany against the new measures there. this is what those demonstrations looked like. the new rules include a limit on private gatherings to ten vaccinated people and the closure of nightclubs. students of all ages will have to wear masks in school, and sports competitions will be held behind closed doors. unvaccinated people are already banned from much of public life, and only two people are allowed to meet in private. meanwhile, the french government has defended the introduction of new coronavirus measures as "proportionate". employees will be expected to work from home more, and bars and cafes will only serve customers who are seated at tables. and there are plans to exclude people who aren't vaccinated from some entertainment venues, even if they have a negative covid test.
people in england are being urged to take care in the run—up to new year's eve after the westminster government decided not to bring in further covid rules. ministers say they're keeping the decision under close review, but that the early indications are that the omicron variant isn't leading to the level of serious disease seen in previous waves. the uk government is to wait untiljanuary before re—evaluating the situation, but scotland, wales and northern ireland have all introduced further restrictions this week. people in wales and scotland are living with curbs on hospitality, including the closure of nightclubs, and all three nations have imposed restrictions on social mixing indoors. here's our health correspondent sophie hutchinson. a vaccination centre in lambeth, in london. among the boroughs worst affected by omicron in the uk. staff here say there's no
shortage of demand forjabs. i'm a schoolteacher. i've got to go back there. there are zero mitigations in class. i don't want to get sick, you know, i am 57. i'm quite frightened about that. i don't want to pass it on to my loved ones. it's really important because i'm a recently retired senior head of education at university college. so, i preach it to my staff so i jolly well have to do it as well. unlike the rest of the uk, which has increased restrictions, the government in england is relying on vaccinations to get the country through the latest wave of covid. so, at the moment, we don't think. that the evidence supports any more interventions beyond what we've - done, but obviously we have to keep it under very close review, because if it is the case i and we start to see a big increase in hospitalisations, _ then we would need to act further, and that's why we have to keep - it under close review.
so, what's the data the government are monitoring? in particular, it's around the most vulnerable groups. london, the epicentre of the uk omicron outbreak, has seen some rises in infections in older people and hospitalisations, but figures for intensive care are still below any worrying threshold. cases are still rising. i think suggestions a few days ago that we might have actually started to peak i think was probably not borne out yesterday. but, on the other hand, cases aren't increasing as rapidly as they were a week or so ago. i think we can be fairly certain that they're not doubling every couple of days now. the hospitality sector has described the decision not to add further measures as a lifeline for pubs, bars and clubs. it also says allowing people to go out on new year's eve signals better times ahead. it's notjust about new year's eve for us. i mean, it's bigger than that. it's the start of a recovery,
and we believe we've created safe environments for people to come out and socialise. and we think it's the best scenario, given the fact that if we'd have closed, we'd potentially have seen more house parties and more illegal events, which would've been counter—productive. but there are concerns about the wider impact of omicron on the nhs. hospital leaders say while many people are coming into hospital with covid but not because of covid, staff are also getting infected. it's very clear that - as soon as you get omicron circulating significantly. amongst the community, of course it will be _ circulating amongst nhs staff. we are now having to redeploy staff ito fill the gaps that are being left. in critical and essential services by staff who are off _ with covid— related absences. along with vaccinations, the government in england is urging people to remain cautious and, if possible, to celebrate outside on new year's eve. it will assess whether more restrictions are needed injanuary. sophie hutchinson, bbc news. the uk health minister gillian keegan has been speaking about the government's decision not to bring in further restrictions in england.
she was asked what people should do over new year. we've always said act cautiously since this new variant came amongst us, and it is highly infectious. many people will know somebody who has caught this over the christmas period. so, do be cautious. take a lateral flow test before you go out. go to well—ventilated areas. i've been to a couple of outdoor parties, actually. people have moved things to outside. so, just be cautious, but you know, do try to enjoy yourself as well. much more about covid across the globe on the abc news website. russia's supreme court has ruled that the country's best—known human rights group, memorial, must be disbanded for breaking the law on foreign agents. the organisation was founded in 1989 by soviet dissidents including nobel peace prize laureate andrei sakharov. it's the latest move against critics of the kremlin. our moscow correspondent steve rosenberg explained.
you mentioned the foreign agents law there. this is draconian legislation which the russian authorities have been using more and more to put pressure on ngos, rights groups and journalists who fall foul of the government. so, prosecutors have claimed that international memorial had violated the foreign agents law by not correctly marking some of their materials "foreign agents". and that was the reason for this case going ahead. but this is more to do with... this is more about, i think, about the past and what president putin and the kremlin think of the past. you see, international memorial, for 30 years, has shone a light on one of the darkest chapters of russia's history in the 20th century — stalin's crimes against the people, the great terror ofjosef stalin.
and for 30 years, they've been cataloguing the victims of the terror and the perpetrators of the terror. modern russia isn't interested in the dark chapters of the country's history. it wants to focus on the triumphs, on the glories. for example the victory in the second world war. i think there's a feeling amongst those run russia today that there is no need for an ngo which concentrates on the dark moments of the country's history. let's look at some of the day's other news. turkish authorities have detained 16 people on suspicion of operating a religious bookstore linked to islamic state. there were clashes with police as they tried to shut the store down. it was accused of operating without a licence. an investigation is under way after a private jet crashed in a residential area near san diego in california. officials say no—one on board survived, although they haven't confirmed how many people died or their identities.
at least one home was damaged, and several others lost their power supplies. a huge operation is under way on the island of la palma, in spain's canary islands, to remove the lava which flowed from a volcanic eruption. activity at the cumbre vieja volcano has now stopped, as you can see, just in time for some of these buildings in la laguna cross. young doctors at public hospitals in india have threatened to shut down medical services, accusing the police of excessive force during protests on monday. they say they were thrashed, dragged and detained by authorities in delhi when they were demonstrating against a one—year delay in the induction of thousands of new graduate doctors. nitin srivastava reports. chanting.
the peaceful march eventually turning ugly. hundreds of protesting doctors are now blaming the police of india's capital, delhi, for using force without any provocation. on social media, we know that there was a brutality being done on doctors, and that is a bad day in the history of medical brutality. a lot of female doctors have been manhandled and manhandled by theirforces. chatning: we wantjustice! resident doctors, mostly in government hospitals, want authorities to resume admission for higher courses. rsults of a nationwide selection process remain unannounced after being challenged in india's top court on grounds of ensuring morejobs for the economically weaker sections. but protesters claim medical services, including emergency, is presently short—staffed by almost 16,000 doctors across the country,
having seen a terrible shortage of medical facilities in dealing with the covid virus. they all are resident doctors. they want to specialise, and they say for at least a year, the admission process has been stuck. they say all this is actually going to make situation worse in hospitals, especially government hospitals, where most of these are employed. because of 4.5 years, - no new first year residents have been admitted in government hospitals anywhere all over. india, so we are already| extremely understaffed. and we are demanding that new doctors join us. - that is what we're demanding. our demand is not for us, it's also for the patient's i in our country, because if new doctors don't join, . we won't be able to handle the current wave. - delhi police have denied using brutal force against the doctors, and claim their own staff were injured during the clash. meanwhile, bad press over handling the issue and a spike in covid cases seem to have propelled the government to
make a quick appeal. translation: | regret| if our protesting doctors were mistreated by the police. while supporting them, we also appeal to doctors to return to work due to the ongoing covid crisis. the government plans to submit our report in the supreme court before the hearing next week so that the admission process can resume. it's over to the young doctors for now, but one thing is certain, they are deeply hurt by the way their protest has been handled by the government. nitin srivastava, bbc news, delhi. heavy storms have battered western regions of the us, leaving thousands without power. nearly 30 inches, 76 centimetres, of snow fell in california at the weekend, causing major disruption and road closures. other areas which continue to be battered by storms include
the state of washington. sylvia lennan spence reports. breathtaking views of snow—covered forests — a true winter wonderland in the us state of oregon. in neighbouring washington state, much excitement as seattle, too, was blanketed in snow. i woke up this morning, and i was like, "oh, my gosh, there's six inches of snow on the ground. i think i got to go skiing!" when we went to bed last night at midnight, i had trouble believing it would actually snow today. and when i woke up and saw what looked like maybe four inches, i was super excited. but it wasn't all fun and frolics, with seattle's mayor declaring a civil emergency ahead of the storms to give shelter to those in need. travellers, too, were hit by delays and cancellations as airport operators tried their best to remove ice from planes, the battering snow hindering their progress. flights were cancelled, and many people stranded. we had to wait for two hours outside in 20—degree weather—
for a taxi that would be willing - to take us to one of the only hotels with room availability. meteorologists say global warming is playing havoc with the climate, making storms more intense and unpredictable. la nina is happening, and that is bringing the jet stream just directly over the west coast. we have just been pummelled by very heavy lowland rain, significant mountain snow. so, yes, there's a degree of normalcy here. we see this kind of winter weather, but this is extreme snow, especially for what we're seeing in california, oregon and washington. while many stay home to avoid the plunging temperatures, others are making the most of the winter freeze, sliding towards the end of the year as best they can. sylvia lennan spence, bbc news. as the humanitarian crisis in afghanistan deepens this winter, many families are having to take drastic action to survive. hundreds of thousands of children already had to work in the country. now even more parents are being forced to send their kids out to earn money.
secunder kermani and camera journalist malik mudassir sent this report from kabul. wherever you go in this city, you see children working. wafting incense into cars. picking through rubbish. even when billions were pouring into this country, many children had to help provide for theirfamilies. now amidst an economic collapse, the number is growing. coughing. it's 8am, and this 13—year—old is getting ready for work. he and his young cousins only started polishing shoes in the last few months.
his father spends his days waiting for work as a labourer on the corner of the road. in the past, he earned just enough to get by. translation: i come here every day, but don't earn enough to afford - a piece of bread for lunch. it's the same for everyone here. pervez and his cousins walk the streets, sticking together in case other boys start fights with them. business is slow. with no customers, the boys take a break at a playground in the centre of kabul. they still have big dreams for the future. what do you want to do when you're older?
when school starts again, will you go back to school or carry on working? the boys walk past the city's kebab vendors. and the displays on kabul�*s flower street. as well as civil servants demanding unpaid salaries. and huge queues outside banks. have you had lunch today? why? so, what will you do now? eventually they buy a single piece of bread to share between them. soon after, they find a customer.
translation: from morning - to evening, most of those coming to my shop want to shine shoes were begging _ maybe 150 people like that come here every day. - the money pervez earns will help feed his family today, but food prices are rising and the rent is overdue. are you happy you're helping yourfamily? secunder kermani, bbc news, kabul. this the uk government website with the latest covid figures. they are running a little bit let but they have just sent them through.
the headline figure for new confirmed infections — 129,471. that's the highest daily figure on record. the rate of infection per 100,000 people has also gone up to a new high —1145. those are the very latest figures just released by the uk government. we will keep an eye on those and there is more to unravel and give you context as well as we look at hospital admissions but those are the latest figures and other daily record high for covid—19 infections. in cricket, australia has retained the ashes, winning the third test against england in melbourne. in a dominating performance, australia's fast bowlers ripped through england's batting order to win by an innings and 1a runs. the victory means australia has an insurmountable 3—0 lead in the best—of—five test series. this was the reaction from the captains.
yeah, everything's gone to plan. it feels, you know, our bowlers have been fantastic in that i haven't even felt like there's been one session where it's got away from us. yeah, it's just... it's what dreams are made of, the way we've played. everyone in that dressing room is gutted. you know, that's not a good enough performance, and we all know that. we need to put some pride back into the badge and make sure we come away from this tour with something. you know, it's as simple as that. can't really add any more. the former england international monty panesar explained what he thought went wrong for the tourists in australia. i think what's gone - wrong is basically been through the whole year. joe root is averaging 61 - with the bat and the other top seven are averaging 22, i so they haven't really been | in a position to supportjoe root| through the 15 test matches that they've had this year.
and it becomes a repeated pattern, then. _ so, when they're in a tough. situation in australia, theyjust haven't got the preparation for it. this goes way back when they had their rotation, the rest— and rotation policy, _ and they gave the selector role to chris silverwood, which i think has been too big for him. - should have been a separate person as a selector. - they haven't had - enough runs, you know. not enough runs. and fortunately, the bowling unit did really well, - but it's the batting again. joe root can't save england in every test match. - a mummified body of an ancient eyptian pharaoh has been examined for the first time after being digitally unwrapped using high—tech scanners. dr sahar saleem led the project, and she told us how her team was able to solve the mystery
of what happened to king amenhotep. this mummy is the only mummy from the royal kings of ancient egypt that have not been unwrapped in modern times, so the mummy is totally wrapped with the wrappings put on it 3000 years ago. so, we didn't want to disturb the beauty of the mummy, this precious object or figure, so we did a digital unwrapping of the mummy, using the ct scan and the advanced technology, so we would remove the layers of the wrapping to have a glimpse on the face of the king and his condition and the amulet and jewellery he's wearing,
but without actually touching the mummy or destroying it. that is it for now. you are watching bbc news. time for some sports hero bbc news. west ham have gone fifth in the premier league after a big win over watford, who took the lead at vicarage road in the fourth minute, but lost 4—1. it's west ham's first premier league victory since december the 4th. watford are just a place above the bottom three so needed a good start, and they got it from a high—quality eighth goal of the season from emmanuel dennis. but there were plenty of holes at the other end in the watford defence. jarrod bowen spotted one and set up tomas soucek for the equaliser. and the turnaround was complete two minutes later. said benrahma's deflected effort made it 2—1 to west ham. mark bowen added a third from the penalty spot before bowen
played the perfect pass for nikola vlasic to make it 4—1, his first for west ham. west ham have gone above spurs, who were held to a 1—1 draw by ten—man southampton at st mary's. james ward—prowse tends to get his goals from set pieces, but this one came in open play to give southampton the lead. harry kane equalised with a penalty awarded for a foul by mohamed salisu, who was sent off. spurs dominated the second half and had two goals disallowed, so it finished all square. norwich remain bottom of the premier league after they were beaten 3—0 at crystal palace. odsonne edouard had given palace the lead from a penalty, before two further goals before half—time from jean—philippe mateta and jeffrey schlupp gave them a comfortable win. they are up to ninth in the table. chelsea defender ben chilwell could miss the rest of the season
as he undergoes knee surgery this week. the england left—back suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage during chelsea's champions league win againstjuventus last month. the club had initially opted for the defender to begin rehabilitation work in the hope he could return without surgery. spain forward ferran torres has completed his move from manchester city to barcelona. the deal is worth an initial £a6.7 million, and the 21—year—old has signed a 5.5—year deal. torres spentjust 16 months at city afterjoining from valencia last year. meanwhile, manchester united have turned down an offer from sevilla to take forward anthony martial on loan. it's thought the spanish club were only willing to pay half of the frenchman's £150,000 a week wages. martial has told united he wants to leave old trafford. england captainjoe root has called their ashes defeat "gut—wrenching", while some of those looking on have described it as "embarrassing". their hopes of reclaiming the urn from australia ended emphatically
as they lost the third test in melbourne by an innings. england were bowled out forjust 68 on day three at the mcg. that's their lowest score in australia in 117 years. and it brought about a ninth test defeat this year. they're 3—0 down in the series with two to play. and questions will now be asked of how england turn their fotunes around in the longer format of the game. we knew that going into today, we were more than capable of getting ourselves to a score with the players that were to come in at the crease. and it's bitterly disappointing that we didn't manage to do that. but, like i say, you've got to make sure that you stay strong, you keep looking to improve all areas of the game, individually and collectively, and you have to have a really strong belief to be able to come back. we need to put some pride back into the badge. and premiership rugby are investigating allegations against leicester regarding historical image rights payments.
tigers have confirmed they've met with representatives of the league to discuss the potential breach of salary cap rules, which the times reports relates to links between the club and a now defunct company, worldwide image management. leicester are top of the premiership with ten wins from ten. that's it for now. i'll have more for you in sportsday at half past 6pm, but now on the bbc news channel, it's time to look back at the year in business with review 2021. 2021 has for many people been a long and difficult year. a year of change and uncertainty. and worry about the lives and livelihoods and jobs and prospects. early hopes of a return to something more normal have been replaced