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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 31, 2021 6:00pm-6:31pm GMT

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today at six, the nhs under growing pressure, with staff absences rising sharply during christmas week. the number of nhs staff off work in england, because of covid, went up by more than a0%. the latest official survey also suggests more than 2 million people tested positive for covid, in the run—up to christmas, adding to the nhs problems. the staff that are at work will be caring for more patients, trying to do more to cover for their missing colleagues, working extra hours, starting early, finishing late. the pressure will be immense. also today in south africa, final respects are paid to archbishop desmond tutu, whose state funeral takes place tomorrow. and the new year has already arrived on the other side of the globe,
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with some countries carrying on with their parties despite concerns about the pandemic. good evening. the pressure on the nhs has been brought into sharp focus by the latest official figures on staff absences related to covid. those absences in acute nhs trusts in england increased up by more than 40% during christmas week. an average of more than 25,000 health workers were off sick or isolating every day. the rapid spread of the 0micron variant is underlined by the latest estimates from the office for national statistics, which suggest that one in 30 people in the uk tested positive for covid in the period before christmas. 0ur health correspondent
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katherine da costa reports. most nhs staff will be glad to see the back of 2021. nearly two years into this pandemic, many are exhausted. a spike in covid cases is driving a rise in staff sickness. in england, london is worst affected with about 4% of staff in acute trusts absent for covid—related reasons in the week before christmas, up nearly 60% on the week before. many feel it's impacting on patient care. the staff that are at work will be caring for more patients, trying to do more to cover for their missing colleagues, working extra hours, starting early, finishing late. the pressure will be immense. in the latest infection survey from the ons, infections increased across the uk to their highest level on record in the week to christmas eve. in england, one in 25 had the virus. in scotland, wales and northern ireland it was one in a0. infections doubled in a week in london. one in 15 tested positive. but there were big rises
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too in the north—west, yorkshire and the humber and west midlands. other regions weren't far behind. statisticians say infections are twice the level they were this time last winter in england because they're being fuelled by the more infectious 0micron variant. across all age groups we are seeing increases but particularly driven by those young age groups, we've seen increases among school—age children fairly recently, particularly from nursery through to primary. but we are now seeing infections among older age groups as well, so young adults from the mid—20s to the mid—30s, but spreading right the way up to increases now in the over 70s, although they remain the lowest group to be infected. there's more encouraging news on boosters. new uk data suggests a booster shot is 88% effective at preventing people ending up in hospital due to 0micron. after a huge push, all uk nations say they've hit the target of offering all adults a third dose
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by the end of the year. i would just say to people again, there's 1.5 million slots out there over the next few days. there's plenty of opportunities. there is mobile vaccination units, there's gps vaccinating, there's all sorts of ways to get vaccinated. just please come forward and help yourself. but also, help reduce that burden on the nhs. and now, this. a second antiviral pill has been approved by the uk regulator. in trials, pfizer's paxlovid drug offered nearly 90% protection from severe illness and death among vulnerable adults. there's a glimmer of hope for the new year. vaccines and new treatments should help protect the most at risk from serious illness. but there are huge uncertainties. if there is a sharp rise in hospital admissions, health leaders say ministers will have to act fast. katharine da costa, bbc news. well, let's look at the latest
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government data now. there were a record 189,846 new infections recorded in the latest 24—hour period. the average over the past week is now more than 150,000 new cases every day. nearly 12,000 patients were in hospital with coronavirus on the 29th december. 203 deaths were recorded. that's of people who died within 28 days of a positive test. 110 covid—related deaths were recorded on average every day in the past week. 0n vaccinations, 233,464 people a day had boosters on average in the past seven days, bringing the total to almost 34 million. no new restrictions have been introduced in england for new year's eve, but in scotland, wales and northern ireland, there are stricter rules now in place for hospitality venues and indoor gatherings. there are reports of people in scotland and wales getting ready
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to travel to england to celebrate the new year, while borisjohnson has urged anyone attending parties to take a covid test beforehand. 0ur correspondent 0livia richwald reports from carlisle in cumbria, just eight miles from the the border with scotland. everyone getting ready for a good night out. carlisle is known as the border city, and these scots were happy to be here, free obligations. there is nothing to do in the south of scotland cup so this is the nearest place.— of scotland cup so this is the nearest lace. . ., , nearest place. even at the scottish government _ nearest place. even at the scottish government have _ nearest place. even at the scottish government have said _ nearest place. even at the scottish government have said don't - nearest place. even at the scottish | government have said don't come? that is part of it, yes, i don't think they have a right to say that. i'm going to have a brilliant time, because that is what new year is all about. ., ., ._ because that is what new year is all about._ absolutely. - because that is what new year is all about._ absolutely. are | because that is what new year is all i about._ absolutely. are you about. hogmanay. absolutely. are you here all night — about. hogmanay. absolutely. are you here all night for _ about. hogmanay. absolutely. are you here all night for a _ about. hogmanay. absolutely. are you here all night for a quick _ about. hogmanay. absolutely. are you here all night for a quick drink? - here all night for a quick drink? just here for a party. the scottish
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government had urged people not to travel to england for new year but carlisle is just 20 travel to england for new year but carlisle isjust 20 minutes travel to england for new year but carlisle is just 20 minutes from the border. this hotel manager said many of his rooms had been rented to scots. ~ ~ , ., ., , scots. we think it is going to be bus . we scots. we think it is going to be busy- we have _ scots. we think it is going to be busy. we have half _ scots. we think it is going to be busy. we have half of _ scots. we think it is going to be busy. we have half of the - scots. we think it is going to be l busy. we have half of the central belt coming down. carlisle might complain but secretly they will be happy, it is money in the tail. it is a similar story near the border with wales, in bristol, pubs expected plenty of welsh guests. bristol is another one of those cities because we're so close to the border, you cannot even tell whether they are coming over to visit or whether they are actually living here because many welsh people do live in bristol.— live in bristol. despite the party atmosrnhere _ live in bristol. despite the party atmosphere many _ live in bristol. despite the party atmosphere many people - live in bristol. despite the party| atmosphere many people around live in bristol. despite the party - atmosphere many people around the country including in salford have back plans. it country including in salford have back plane— country including in salford have back nana-— country including in salford have backlans. , , ., back plans. it is 'ust not stopping us. we back plans. it is 'ust not stopping we have — back plans. it isjust not stopping us. we have been _ back plans. it isjust not stopping us. we have been invited - back plans. it isjust not stopping us. we have been invited to - back plans. it isjust not stopping us. we have been invited to a - back plans. it isjust not stopping i us. we have been invited to a house -a so us. we have been invited to a house party so we — us. we have been invited to a house party so we are _ us. we have been invited to a house party so we are deciding _ us. we have been invited to a house party so we are deciding whether- us. we have been invited to a house party so we are deciding whether to | party so we are deciding whether to id party so we are deciding whether to go or— party so we are deciding whether to go or not. _ party so we are deciding whether to go or not, just with a few
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neighbours.— go or not, just with a few neighbours. go or not, just with a few neiuhbours. ~ , ., ., , ., neighbours. we plan to stay home, sta safe, neighbours. we plan to stay home, stay safe, everyone _ neighbours. we plan to stay home, stay safe, everyone you _ neighbours. we plan to stay home, stay safe, everyone you know - neighbours. we plan to stay home, | stay safe, everyone you know seems to have _ stay safe, everyone you know seems to have covid — stay safe, everyone you know seems to have covid so _ stay safe, everyone you know seems to have covid so we _ stay safe, everyone you know seems to have covid so we are _ stay safe, everyone you know seems to have covid so we are trying - stay safe, everyone you know seems to have covid so we are trying to - to have covid so we are trying to avoid _ to have covid so we are trying to avoid getting _ to have covid so we are trying to avoid getting it _ to have covid so we are trying to avoid getting it ourselves. - to have covid so we are trying to avoid getting it ourselves. he. to have covid so we are trying to avoid getting it ourselves. he went to lie there — avoid getting it ourselves. he went to lie there are _ avoid getting it ourselves. he went to lie there are lots _ avoid getting it ourselves. he went to lie there are lots of— avoid getting it ourselves. he went to lie there are lots of people - avoid getting it ourselves. he went to lie there are lots of people from j to lie there are lots of people from england and scotland who are not letting covid runa celebrations, and in a couple of hours, this rate will be closed to traffic, and then the party can really begin. aha, be closed to traffic, and then the party can really begin.— party can really begin. a lot of --eole party can really begin. a lot of peeple are _ party can really begin. a lot of peeple are just _ party can really begin. a lot of people are just sad _ party can really begin. a lot of people are just sad and - party can really begin. a lot of people are just sad and they l party can really begin. a lot of. people are just sad and they need that cheer, to cheer them up. what that cheer, to cheer them up. what is our that cheer, to cheer them up. what is your message — that cheer, to cheer them up. what is your message for _ that cheer, to cheer them up. what is your message for the _ that cheer, to cheer them up. what is your message for the new year? love, one world, one live, live, love. ., ., ~' love. for those working in hospitality _ love. for those working in hospitality tonight, - love. for those working in | hospitality tonight, takings love. for those working in - hospitality tonight, takings could be vital. nobody knows what restrictions might be introduced in england, in 2022. so in the final countdown to those new year's eve celebrations, let's take a look at how the varying restrictions are having an impact in all four home nations. in a moment, we'll have the picture in cardiff, in belfast, and in london, but we start
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with james shaw in edinburgh. ina in a normal year, this locationjust below edinburgh castle would be the centre of a huge fireworks display at midnight, visible across the city and far beyond it. in the streets below, there would be perhaps 80,000 people celebrating hogmanay. none of thatis people celebrating hogmanay. none of that is happening this year and a lot of other big events will be cancelled. in hospitality, pubs and restaurants, groups of three households at a maximum can meet, and they must keep distanced from other groups. nightclubs will be closed. there will be no dancing. that is at least until the 17th. not the hogmanay many in scotland would have wanted. new restrictions have been in force in wales since boxing day, to the frustration of many in the hospitality sector. they depend on the festive week to help them
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through the new year. nightclubs are closed, dance floors should be deserted. people going to pubs, bars and restaurants will have to stay at the tables to be served and abide by the tables to be served and abide by the rule of six, so stick to small groups. house parties are allowed but with a maximum of up to 30 people indoors. the advice is to keep that to about three households. caution being urged on anyone who goes over the border to england to celebrate. it's not against the rules, the first minister, mark drakeford, wants you to consider the consequences. the consequences of all but four businesses in wales, probably a rather quiet end to the year. this new year's eve in northern ireland certainly isn't normal, but we are a long way from the lockdown of last year. if you are having friends round to your home or going to somebody else, the guidance is that no more than three households should socialise together indoors. 0ut should socialise together indoors. out and about, it's table service
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only in pubs and restaurants and there is a limit of six people at each table. even if there is music, there will still be no dancing. that's been banned altogether in all hospitality venues. today, northern ireland has recorded its highest ever daily figure for positive coronavirus cases and also the number of covid patient in hospital is rising relatively slowly. there is rising relatively slowly. there is caution and concern but many would say a greater sense of hope than 12 months ago. for the second year in a row london's major public fireworks display has been cancelled. the plan instead is a more intimate celebration in trafalgar square, a concert for key workers and members of the public but ultimately, as case of 0micron started to tick up, the mayor decided that was too risky, so they have closed off the whole of trafalgar square to stop people from even being able to congregate here. that doesn't stop people in london and across the rest
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of england from heading to bars and clubs tonight to celebrate, because there are no restrictions here on socialising and to the other side of the square there are lots of people out already enjoying themselves, having a good time to stop the government's advice this evening to anybody thinking about heading out is to take a lateral flow test first. with some of the shortages we have seen in the past week, that might not be possible for everybody. 0ur might not be possible for everybody. our thanks to all my colleagues in the four home nations of the uk. a 15 year—old boy has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the death of a teenager in croydon in south london last thursday. there was another fatal stabbing that evening, when a 16 year—old boy was killed in hillingdon in west london. it brings to 30 the number of teenage homicides in london this year, surpassing the peak of 29 in 2008. our home affairs correspondent, tom symonds, reports from hillingdon.
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in 2021's final days, paramedics tried to save two young lives. a 15—year—old, stabbed in a park in croydon, south london. and in hillingdon, west london, a 16—year—old with a single stab wound in this green space. two new murder investigations and a record high for the number of teenage murders in one year. children are carrying knives because they feel like they need to protect themselves. and i'm putting the message out there to every child, please, you need to understand the pain of parents and siblings that have lost somebody to murder. violent crime is falling but not when it comes to young people murdered in london. more teenage victims than the previous high in 2008 can't be ignored. for some time, and today, police have blamed... the glorification of knives on social media and credibility and people cussing each other on social media. we are seeing it again and again and again.
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at the same time we've got changing drug markets and the emergence of county lines in the last few years, that we're really focusing on. that's a type of drug dealing that drags vulnerable children into being involved. in hillingdon, people were worried about dealers using the parkland where the murder happened. this man didn't want to be identified. they're obviously trying to protect their little drug lines they've got going on and all that sort of thing. it's a big worry. it is. i mean, i've got children, you know? in croydon, a 16—year—old's been arrested and here, the investigation continues. the murders will put the metropolitan police under pressure but youth workers say we need to concentrate instead on the chaotic lives of some young people and the social reasons why their lives might be threatened. tom symonds, bbc news, west london. in south africa, thousands of people have been waiting in line to pay their final respects
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to the late archbishop desmond, tutu, whose body is lying in state for a second day, ahead of the state funeral tomorrow. the archbishop, who played a leading role in the battle against racial segregation and the apartheid regime, died on sunday at the age of 90. this report is from our south africa correspondent, nomsa maseko, in cape town. the clergy, anglican churchwardens and a marching band lining the streets as a guard of honour for archbishop desmond tutu. the outspoken priest who became one of the world's great moral voices lying in state for a second day in a plain, pinewood coffin, in accordance with his wishes. thousands of people have been flocking to st george's cathedral to pay their last respects. one man hitchhiked for more than 1,000 kilometres just for this moment. it's a memory that i will live for for the rest of my life
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and ijust hope, as he said, in his words, he said, south africa, you must be careful — if you don't live according to those values, you might bite the dust. archbishop tutu campaigned against white minority rule and worked hard to unite a deeply divided nation. the arch, as he was known fondly, was also a family man. my parents' relationship was strong and loving, they talked about loving each other. they talked about, you know, oh, i think you are so handsome or i think you are so beautiful or you look so gorgeous today or you smell delicious. no, he didn't say, you smell delicious — he'd say, oh, you smell expensive! the globally revered anti—apartheid icon's sendoff will be held at the cathedral he called home
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for many years, to the sounds and hymns he chose ahead of his funeral. in just over five hours here in the uk, we'll be leaving 2021 behind and hoping for a better 2022 in so many ways, but the new year has already arrived on the other side of the globe. australia was one of the first places to mark the new year with its traditional fireworks display in sydney harbour. but festivities around the world are said to be more muted in many places, with celebrations scaled back or cancelled. there's more throughout the evening on the bbc news channel. we're back with the late news at 10pm. now on bbc one it's time for the news where you are. goodbye.
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more now on the wildfires in the us state of colorado — blizzard conditions are expected in the coming hours, compounding the misery left in the wake of the destructive grassfires. the state governor, jared polis, has promised to help people who'd lost everything to rebuild their lives. a few moments ago we did an aerial reconnaissance mission thanks to the colorado national guard, of the areas impacted. we were able to do it in the brief window before the snow and how grateful we are that the snow has started. though there are some areas with active flames, mostly we were looking at the neighbourhood level devastation. as the sheriff indicated,
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those neighbourhoods, because of the nature of the fire spread by gusts up to 105 mph, it can spread to a house here or there, over other houses, past streets. the other unusual factor, it's in the blink of an eye. this is a disaster in fast motion over half a day. many families having minutes, minutes, to get wherever they they could, their pets, their kids, get in the car and leave. the last 24 hours have been devastating, it is unimaginable. it's hard to speak about. like many boulder county residents i have texts and voicemails from friends and letting me know whether they are safe, what they have lost. i spoke to the presidentjust before this press conference.
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the president called and offered support for the people of colorado. they also gave verbal authorisation, the president approved the expedited major disaster declaration which means those who suffer losses, citizens and homeowners, won't have to wait for the preliminary damage assessment for housing and small business assistance. that will be forthcoming soon, because of the disaster and the actions the president took. he sends his regards to the people of colorado and those who are directly impacted. this hit close to home for so many of us. in many cases those of us who live nearby but also in terms of this being a fire that wasn't a wildfire in the forest. it was a suburban and urban fire. the costco we all shop at, the target where we buy our kids'
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clothes, all surrounded and damaged. nearly 1000 homes in two very tight—knit beautiful communities our state has, gone. we talk about houses destroyed, but each house is notjust a house. it's a home. it's a sanctuary of comfort for those who live there. it's a reservoir of memories, where families were raised. you know, it feels like we've experienced enough loss and tragedy over these last two years and then yesterday happened over the course of several hours. this is our community and to watch it burn so quickly and unexpectedly is something i think we're alljust struggling believe and understand. so different to fires that developed over weeks and months. this played out with 105 mph wind over the course of half a day. we are going to work hard
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with families and small businesses to rebuild our treasured communities, homes and sanctuaries for folks. the short—term impact, housing needs, so far it seems like the two major hospitals in the areas were spared, looks like schools were spared. and we might have our very own new year miracle on our hands if it holds up that there was no loss of life. we know many people had just minutes to evacuate and if that was successfully pulled off by the affected families, that's quite a testimony to preparedness and emergency response. i spoke to the fema administrator and let her know that with this expedited disaster declaration we need all the help we can get. we talked about short—term housing needs, about additional need for hospital capacity. the hospital, while not destroyed,
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will be out of commission for a period of days and weeks. mr rogers once told his audience when i was a boy i would see scary things in the news and my mother would say to me, look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping. time and time again we see those helpers here in colorado. the sheriff, his deputies, the director, the national guard, hundreds of brave firefighters, municipal fire departments across the region, law—enforcement, first responders. many of these brave women and themselves lost homes or are uncertain whether they had homes to return to yet they stayed on the job and behalf of a grateful state of colorado we want to say a profound thank you to everyone.
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the governor of colorado thanking everyone involved in the efforts there to help people caught up in those wild fires in the state. in the aftermath of the grenfell tower fire in 2017, dangerous cladding was found on thousands of high rise buildings around the world. some countries like australia took rapid action. in the state of victoria, a taskforce was set up three weeks after grenfell to find out how many buildings were unsafe. sarah corker has been finding out what uk politicians can learn from their australian counterparts. australia had an early warning about cladding. this is 2014 in melbourne, an apartment block catches fire. the flames spread quickly. it's wrapped in the same type of cladding as grenfell tower. thankfully, everyone got out in time. the government acted quickly and started inspecting buildings. after the grenfell tragedy, that ramped up. they decided they needed to look at every building that was built since 1997 that was three
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storeys or more. and i think this was one of the real successes of the cladding story here, was that they were able to identify all those different buildings, do thousands of inspections, and they now know which buildings have combustible cladding. in contrast, in the uk, there are still no official figures on the number of blocks with unsafe cladding. labour and cladding campaigners have repeatedly called for ministers to follow the australian approach. thangam debbonaire. the government could have done as victoria in australia did — set up a task force to assess the extent of dangerous cladding, prioritised by risk. this is cladding being removed in melbourne. a building levy has forced construction firms to help pay for the work. it is an international problem... politicians in victoria told me they've treated this as a public safety emergency. $300 million being raised through a building permit levy, because people understood, understand absolutely, the nexus between the levy and getting buildings fixed, because ultimately, this
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is about community safety. and we are the only state in australia that is doing this cladding rectification work. the other really important point, of course, is that we also moved to ban flammable cladding, and this is in fact similar to the product that was on the grenfell building. you cannot put this product on any building here in victoria, finished. the british government has introduced similar bans, and on both continents, those living in cladded buildings share similar frustrations. all that cladding, all those trimmings... government funding doesn't cover everything. it's going to cost us all some thousands of dollars each, as owners, to get it removed. yeah, it's been stressful, and even more than that, frustrating. - this cladding shouldn't have been there in the first place. _ consumer protection in this space is very little or none. and really, it needs to improve, because at the moment, we're barely meeting minimum standards. we're trying to hit minimum
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standards, and as cladding shows, we don't always. the australian approach isn't perfect but it is held up as an example of how to deal with this complex and costly problems. sarah corker, bbc news. time for a look at the weather with ben rich. hello, there. we've closed out 2021 with some extraordinarily warm weather. in fact, the warmest new year's eve on record, with temperatures up around 16 celsius and it maybe that we break records again during a new year's day. another exceptionally mild day. quite windy with some rain. mostly courtesy of this frontal system pushing east. low pressure to the north—west. the white lines, the isobars squeezing together, so some brisk winds to start the day, up to 40, 50 mph or more for some exposed western coast. the exposed weather front i showed you will move east, bringing cloud and rain. the rain, not especially widespread
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but could be heavy at times. more showers into northern ireland and western scotland later. in between, some good spells of sunshine and some very high temperatures once again. 10—15 or 16 degrees, well above the norm for the first day of january. saturday night, mainly dry initially but we'll see some areas of showers, potentially quite heavy, drifting in from the west by the end of the night. still relatively mild, maybe a little bit cooler across the northern half of the uk. that signals a slight change on sunday. instead of the south or south—westerly wind that has been bringing the very warm air lately, we get more of a westerly wind, so it will be mild but not as mild. the westerly wind feeding showers or longer spells of rain across the uk. some sunny spells in between. still quite breezy but temperatures down a little, highs between nine and 14 degrees. as we get into monday, quite a complex weather pattern. a frontal system running
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to the south could bring quite a lot of rain for the channel islands, grazing the south coast of england. some shower or longer spells to the north and across northern areas the wind direction shifting again, starting to turn northerly. that's a sign of things to come. out of monday into tuesday, the low—pressure sliding east and behind it, follow the white lines, the isobars to the north, where the air will be coming from. a brisk and cold northerly wind to start tuesday, a different feel to the weather but a lot of sunshine around on tuesday. still some showers which could be wintry even at low levels around some of the northern and eastern coasts, tending to dry up from the west but temperatures for many of us stuck in single digits. the drier, calmer weather, courtesy of a little ridge of high pressure toppling its way in through tuesday night into wednesday. the wind falls light for a time so that may allow for frost on wednesday morning and this next frontal system works
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into the picture. on its leading—edge, running into the cold air we may see something wintry, mostly turning back to rain as things begin to turn a bit milder once again from the west. nothing like as mild as it is right now. that sums things up for the latter part of next week, unsettled weather, showers or longer spells of rain in from the atlantic, often quite windy but the wind broadly coming from the west. sometimes just the north—west, bringing colder air. sometimes just from the south—west bringing some slightly milder air but certainly nothing as mild as we've been seeing over this new year period. this is the forecast for the four capital cities as we head through next week. showers or longer spells of rain, some sunshine in between and temperatures closer to where they should be at this time of year. that's all from me.

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