this is bbc news. these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world. secondary school pupils are to be required to wear face masks in class in england, as coronavirus cases continue to surge across europe. fears a quarter of uk public sector workers could be off due to covid, as firms are warned to make contingency plans. france will cut the coronavirus self—isolation period from ten to seven days, in a bid to ease staff pressures. dozens of fire crews are tackling a blaze at the houses of parliament in the south african city of cape town. a us judge throws out prince andrew's attempt to halt proceedings in a civil lawsuit against him. and different ways of seeing in the new year, in different parts of the world.
hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. face masks are to be worn in secondary school classrooms in england, to reduce the spread of the omicron variant. until now, england was the only one of the four uk nations where face masks were not recommended for pupils in class. six teaching unions have demanded urgent action to limit the spread of the virus. the government has also announced that 7,000 air cleaning units are to be made available to early years setting, schools and colleges to improve ventilation in classrooms. there's concern that rising cases will continue to impact staffing across vital services. public sector leaders have been asked to prepare for "worst case scenarios" of up to 25%
staff absence rates. in europe, france has cut its self—isolation period. fully vaccinated people who test positive will only have to isolate for seven days regardless of the coronavirus variant they are infected with, and can leave quarantine after five days if they show a negative pcr test. across europe, police have broken up small anti—lockdown protests as well as illegal gatherings. in stuttgart in germany, about 100 activists attempted to stage an unauthorised protest against covid vaccines and restrictions. james reynolds reports now on the measures to prevent the virus spreading in england's schools. since march 2020, getting an education has become an obstacle course of home learning, missed exams and regular covid tests. 0lder pupils have now got used to wearing masks in communal areas in schools. now the government's recommending that pupils in years seven and above keep their masks on when they are in class as well.
the move will be reviewed in late january. if it's a choice between pupils wearing masks to go to school or pupils not being at school at all because they are either knocked out by the virus themselves or staff in schools are knocked out in sufficient numbers that it is hard to manage classes, well, keeping children learning has got to be the priority because we know they have lost so much education during the pandemic. and then there is the air. taking a deep breath is the kind of thing you need to do before an exam but it is hard to do safely in a poorly ventilated classroom. in order to clear the air, then, the government is rolling out a further 7,000 purifiers. we are really pleased that government is talking to us and trying to work out how to get some support into schools now. we are rather disappointed that we are having the conversation this side of christmas when we could have been making these arrangements earlier on. the government says it wants to minimise disruption and keep pupils in class, but unions warn that if large
numbers of teachers get sick or have to quarantine, some classes may have to be sent home for short periods of time. james reynolds, bbc news. "robust contingency plans" are being developed by government ministers, amid warnings that a quarter of public sector workers could soon be off work because of covid. rising case numbers have led to large numbers of employees self—isolating — with absences particularly affecting the nhs and the transport industry. our business correspondent katie prescott has more details. cancelled trains, delayed deliveries, closed restaurants and shut—up shops. staff shortages because of the spread of 0micron are a real worry in the new year as people go back to work after the christmas break. i think it makes sense to try to plan for such events. we know we have a very contagious variant in the uk and we know that lots of people are catching the virus and naturally
there will be absences throughout all businesses, really. from a retail perspective, the biggest concern will be on the supply chain to make sure that that is still running at the efficiency we are used to. empty workplaces where key staff are needed is the nightmare for government. ministers are looking atjust how bad things could get and drawing up contingency plans to try and protect against any disruption from rising infection. to try and keep school gates open as well as hospitals and other vital services, in the public sector leaders have been asked to look at the worst—case scenarios of having ten, 20 or even 25% of their staff off at any one time. labour says that this announcement shows the government is leaving contingency planning to the very last moment. the most recent restrictions in england, set out in the government's plan b earlier in december, are expected
to be reviewed this week. katie prescott, bbc news. joining me now is colenzo jarrett—thorpe, the national officer for health at unite the union. good morning. how serious do you think these problems could be? the nhs has think these problems could be? tue: nhs has been think these problems could be? tte: nhs has been chronically underfunded over the last 10—12 years or so. this is just a symptom of that, because they haven't had the funding and investment, nhs staff are absolutely knackered and exhausted and are not able to cope with what's going on. they have been pushed to their limit over the last two years with the pandemic and there are already 100,000 vacancies shortage in the nhs. there will be a 21% shortage so we don't know how the nhs and other public sector services will be able to cope. can nhs and other public sector services will be able to cope.— will be able to cope. can you give some examples _ will be able to cope. can you give some examples of— will be able to cope. can you give some examples of what - will be able to cope. can you give some examples of what could - some examples of what could potentially be the impact on services?—
potentially be the impact on services? , , ., services? they impact people, for exam - le, services? they impact people, for example, where _ services? they impact people, for example, where you _ services? they impact people, for example, where you have - services? they impact people, for example, where you have a - services? they impact people, for example, where you have a gp i services? they impact people, for example, where you have a gp or| services? they impact people, for - example, where you have a gp or any sort of primary care point, they will not be able to be seen and that might miss vital signs and symptoms of much more serious illnesses. that will be the impact. and obviously if waiting times will be longer, people will be queueing in a&e longer, they will be queueing in a&e longer, they will not be able to get a gp appointment, people will have appointments cancelled. in schools, my kids cannot open a window because they don't have the ventilation equipment in schools was that they will be impacts everywhere throughout public services because of the omicron virus and we are asking for there to be contingency plans in place. asking for there to be contingency plans in place-— plans in place. what would those contingency _ plans in place. what would those contingency plans _ plans in place. what would those contingency plans look _ plans in place. what would those contingency plans look like? - plans in place. what would those contingency plans look like? in i plans in place. what would those i contingency plans look like? in the trade union — contingency plans look like? in the trade union movement, _ contingency plans look like? in the trade union movement, and - contingency plans look like? in the trade union movement, and in - contingency plans look like? in the l trade union movement, and in unite in particular we have been asking for these measures to be put in place for some time. better ppe, giving access to the ppe that people
need. we have been asking for that for nearly two years now and it's still not the case. people are still denied the ppe people are needing. better ventilation in workplaces, make sure there is some there. our research says it costs £140 million to put ventilation into the schools that they need. and also social distancing. the measures to bring back social distancing in society and the workplace came far too late. that should have been in place before this current crisis, and long before this current crisis, and long before the government actually said there should be social distancing and mask wearing again. measures like that need to be put in place to make sure we are able to resist omicron as much as possible, and keep people at work. in omicron as much as possible, and keep people at work.— keep people at work. in terms of contingency _ keep people at work. in terms of contingency planning, _ keep people at work. in terms of contingency planning, trying - keep people at work. in terms of contingency planning, trying to l contingency planning, trying to mitigate when workers are not able
to turn up because they are isolating because of covid, do you have any suggestions on that front? 0bviously one of the things about the members we represent, including health care scientists, pharmacists, you can't get these workers, just pick them up, because they need to be trained. that's where we have shortages with these workers. but to ensure people come back to work and there is a contingency workforce for example, asking recent retirees or people who have left the service to come back into the service, that would be one way to do it. and come back into the service, that would be one way to do it. and it is that bein: would be one way to do it. and it is that being done _ would be one way to do it. and it is that being done and _ would be one way to do it. and it is that being done and are _ would be one way to do it. and it is that being done and are people - that being done and are people coming back?— that being done and are people comin: back? . , , ,., coming back? there has been some attem -t to coming back? there has been some attempt to do _ coming back? there has been some attempt to do that _ coming back? there has been some attempt to do that over _ coming back? there has been some attempt to do that over the - coming back? there has been some attempt to do that over the last - attempt to do that over the last couple of years. 0bviously when the first wave of the pandemic came around there was a big volunteering programme, and a programme that allowed people to come back, so to
some people have come back. but that is needed right now. so whether we can draw on those people who are willing to put themselves forward. the process to allow people to put them at sales forward has to be easier. we do have to go through necessary checks to make sure people they are who they say they are and have the necessary skills but that process needs to be made easier. there have been plans to make sure people have the qualifications to do that. just some of these sorts of measures could be taken to make sure people have actually done that. nhs staff are working overtime and they ought to be paid for working overtime. that's something that as a trade union we ensure, when people work overtime they are paid for it, but that has to be used as well. but we don't want nhs staff to burn out as well. people have to have the right to have holidays, breaks and time off. we know the nhs have but lots of measures in place to help people with their mental health and
to recover so we know that's happening but we need more of that and it has to be something that is consistently put through the nhs, it can't be a one—off measure. consistently put through the nhs, it can't be a one-off measure.- can't be a one-off measure. thank ou. dozens of firefighters are battling a large blaze in south africa's houses of parliament in cape town. video footage showed a plume of black smoke filling the sky, with huge flames on the roof of the building. the fire is still burning in the national assembly chamber, but has been contained in other parts of the historic building. the blaze is thought to have started in third floor offices in the parliament precinct, close to the cathedral where the anti—apartheid icon archbishop desmond tutu had been interred just hours before. there are no reports of any casualties. parliament is not in session because of the holidays. in the last hour, a member of the cape town safety and security committee, jp smith, gave an update on the severity of the damag. the entire parliamentary complex is
severely damaged, waterlogged and smoke damage. there will be damaged extensively. the roof above the old assembly chamber, the old assembly hall, is completely gone. as for the photographs we also posted. the gym is destroyed. 0ffices photographs we also posted. the gym is destroyed. offices are also destroyed. the second point of fire is the national assembly chamber behind me, which you can see, which is gutted. the structural ceiling has collapsed. fire staff had to be momentarily withdrawn. the old chamber, i have walked around it inside with the provincial commissioner. it is not possible to see if it is damaged. we hope it is not because it has so many historical artefacts in, but you can't get access without breaking down the doors and we don't want to down the doors and we don't want to do that. the doors and windows being closed smothers the fire and reduces the amount of damage, so it is a
positive that that is the case. jermaine carelse from cape town fire and rescue told us about the emergency response. we received the calljust after five this morning, of a building alight in parliament avenue. and when the officer arrived, he confirmed that it was the parliamentary building that was alight. we currently have about eight firefighting appliances on scene with approximately over 40 firefighters currently. and obviously this is quite a fluid situation, with the fire inside the building creating intense heat. we are getting reports from the aerial appliances that are fighting the fire from the roof side that the bitumen on top of the roof is currently melting. and there are reports of cracks in the walls inside the building itself. there have been no reports of the fire spreading to other buildings and we have the aerial appliances to deal with exposure protection. ajudge in the united states has
thrown out prince andrew's attempt to halt proceedings in a civil lawsuit against him. the duke of york's lawyers had argued that virginia giuffre — who has accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager — lives in australia, so is not a us resident. but they did lose that argument. prince andrew has consistently denied the allegations. aruna iyengar has this report. seen here at the age of 17, virginia roberts, now giuffre, with prince andrew on the left and ghislaine maxwell in the background. ms giuffre has accused prince andrew of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager at the homes ofjeffrey epstein, the convicted child sex offender, and ghislaine maxwell. prince andrew has consistently denied the allegations. the civil lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. two efforts to stall the case were blocked on saturday. us federaljudge lewis a kaplan told the prince's lawyers they must hand over key legal documents before a crucial court hearing in new york on tuesday.
he also rejected arguments by the prince's lawyer, andrew brettler, that the lawsuit should be dismissed because ms giuffre, a us citizen, no longer lives in the us. this comes after ghislaine maxwell was convicted this week of recruiting and trafficking young girls to be sexually abused by her boyfriend, the late american financier jeffrey epstein, between 1994 and 200a. on tuesday, judge kaplan will hear oral arguments to decide whether virginia giuffre's lawsuit against prince andrew will proceed. aruna iyengar, bbc news. the latest headlines on bbc news... secondary school pupils are to be required to wear facemasks in class in england, as coronavirus cases continue to surge across europe. fears a quarter of uk public sector workers could be off due to coronavirus — as firms are warned to make contingency plans. france will cut the covid self—isolation period from ten to seven days, in a bid to ease staff pressures.
in the uk, 20 conservative mps and peers have called on the prime minister to tackle the spiralling cost of living. five former ministers are among the signatories of a letter to the sunday telegraph, which follows huge increases in wholesale gas prices. 0ur political correspondent chris mason reports. wholesale gas and electricity prices are rising steeply. the boss of one energy firm is predicting an enormous crisis this year as a consequence. now 20 tory parliamentarians are expressing their concerns, too. their letter has been organised by what is called the net zero scrutiny group of conservatives, which keeps an eye on the consequences of the government's environmental commitments.
the government is meeting energy firms and the regulator 0fgem regularly to work out how to help consumers. this will be, without question, one of the government's most pressing problems in the early weeks and months of the new year. chris mason, bbc news. the south korean military says it has carried out a search operation after a south korean man crossed the border into north korea. the circumstances of the apparent defection are unclear, but a military source said the unnamed man crossed from the demilitarised zone into the north on saturday evening. the office of south korea'sjoint chiefs of staff said it could not confirm whether the person was still alive. laura bicker in seoul is following the story. there have been a number of breaches of the border in the last few years, but this, just to explain to your viewers, is one of the most heavily fortified areas in the entire world. it is a four kilometre wide area full of landmines, surveillance equipment.
it is surrounded by electric fences. normally there are guards in watchtowers who are there, armed, ready to react every 2a hours. this happened on new year's day. it has happened in the same area in the last year, so there are questions about the security and surveillance of the border area in this east coast part of south korea. what appears to have happened is an alert was raised about 6:a0am on new year's day and then a search was made for about three orfour hours. they did not find the individual and that individual has then made it into north korea. one of the things we do know, and certainly one of my sources is telling me, is it is a civilian but we don't know if it is a south korean citizen or whether or not it was a north korean defector who was here in the south, who may have wanted to try and go back north. coronavirus is continuing to cause major disruption for travellers worldwide.
airlines cancelled more than 4,400 flights on saturday, due to surging covid cases among airline crews and ground personnel, as well as storms in parts of the us. stephanie prentice reports. from last—minute cancellations to hours of delays in airports. the past week has been called the perfect storm of travel chaos in the united states as the demand of a new year's rush, staffing in 0micron world, and bad weather collide. many on social media say their trip was cancelled either as they arrived at the airport or once they were through security. some say they are now stuck until tuesday at the earliest. and this man described an extensive re—route involving sleeping on the floor at dallas airport. more than 4,400 flights were cancelled worldwide over saturday and into sunday. 2,500 of those were going
to or from us airports. and as if covid wasn't enough, the weather took over at chicago airport. 1,000 flights cancelled on saturday. in a statement, united airlines — one of those impacted — said... but with many people now returning home from christmas holidays, sunday is expected to see further chaos, particularly with forecasts of snow and heavy wind. a bleak picture but one that travellers are starting to become familiar with. and experts warn that the storm of travel chaos will get worse before it passes. stephanie prentice, bbc news. let's get some of the day's other news. a scientific research station in antarctica is attempting to contain a covid outbreak.
at least 16 of the 25 people based at the princess elisabeth polar station have caught the virus, although all the cases have been mild so far. new arrivals have been suspended until the outbreak eases. more than 20 people have been rescued after spending a night trapped in two cable cars in the us state of new mexico. the sandia peak tramway, in albuquerque, became stuck because of icy conditions. those on board — all employees of the company and a restaurant at the top — were supplied with food, water and emergency blankets. denmark has announced plans to end the use of fossil fuels on domestic flights by 2030. in a new year address prime minister mette frederiksen said flying must be made green but acknowledged the target would be hard to meet. denmark had already announced plans to reduce carbon emissions by 70% of 1990 levels by 2030. after almost three decades, football fans will now be allowed
police are appealing for information after a man was shot in the stomach in liverpool last night. the incident happened in the car park of the netherton pub in litherland just after 7pm and the 33—year—old victim is said to be in a serious condition. merseyside police say they believe the shooting was targeted. after almost three decades, football fans will now be allowed to stand while watching some english top division games, as clubs trial a new "safe—standing" policy. all—seater stadiums became the law following the 1989 hillsborough disaster, which killed 97 liverpool supporters. but, in the last few years campaigners have been calling for a change to that policy. speaking to the bbc earlier, chief constable mark roberts, national police chiefs' council's lead for football policing, highlighted some of the safety concerns. i think it's a significant moment for football. i think it's a significant moment forfootball. these were i think it's a significant moment
for football. these were part of a measures brought in after the hillsborough tragedy and the taylor report will stop those measures have served to keep football safe for 30 years will stop anything we do to alter those measures is really significant. i think we are saying it is the start of the pilot today. this is a misnomer. it has been in since the start of the season for top clubs have had to put in engineering work. we have seen some positive experience and challenging experiences. from our perspective in policing we think there is an opportunity to implement this but do it in a way that's really safe, meets the needs of fans but equally keeps everyone safe. unfortunately some of the recommendations we have made have not been implement to get as part of the pilot. some of the concerns we have got, particularly if they crowded stood up, it's easy to throw missiles, engaging hate chanting and racism. sneaking alcohol and take cocaine, which is a growing issue. and in mehdi modern stadiums, you can migrate around the stadiums, you can migrate around the stadium so the concern is to get
overloaded and have crushing issues and becomes quite exclusionary crowd. all around the world, people have been welcoming in the new year in different ways. large numbers decided to see in 2022 by getting rather wet... as tim allman reports. what is it with new year's day and people doing things like this? cheering. here at cavour bridge in rome, for more than half a century, every year, to celebrate the new year, they threw themselves into the tiber. normally, the water is icy cold, although milder weather meant it was perhaps a little less bracing this time around. in the netherlands, a group of hardy souls went for a dip in the north sea. an official event had been cancelled due to covid restrictions, but some just couldn't stop themselves. it feels like a refreshment, you know? now, i feel like all my troubles are gone and i actually feel really energised. not that far away in portugal,
their destination was the choppy seas of the north atlantic. the sun was shining, the water was cold. the mood, surprisingly positive. "it's a portuguese tradition on this beach," said this man. "what's nice is the conviviality, socialising with people, hoping to be able to recover our strength for a much better year, and hoping to get out of this pandemic." bagpipes skirl. 0n the other side of the pond, they have some traditions of their own. in boston, one of america's oldest cold water swimming groups solemnly marched to a nearby beach before they all made a mad dash for it. cheering. some called it "crazy," some called it "fun" — it's certainly one way to see in the new year. tim allman, bbc news. lets go back to south africa. this is the scene live
now in cape town. the houses of parliament were on fire, but this is a welcome picture with no smoke in the sky. looks like they have finally dealt with that blaze. you are watching bbc news. hello there. the mild weather story is set to continue for today at least. it was a beautiful start for some of us, with early morning sunshine, as you can see by this weather watcher picture sent in from rotherham. but there were also sharp showers around, one batch eased off into the north sea, a rash of showers to the north of the great glen, but as we go through the morning and into the early afternoon, some showers merged together for a heavy burst of rain to push through the south of england and west wales, gradually drifting east. sunny spells and scattered showers for much of scotland and northern ireland as well, blustery for all, particularly on exposed west—facing coasts, gusts in excess of 40 mph not out of the question. but in terms of the feel of the weather, once again
temperatures above where they should be for the time of year, not quite as mild as the last couple of days, but nevertheless 9—13 celsius the high. through the night tonight, we continue with a south—westerly flow, so mild across england and wales, but a northerly wind will start to kick in, and that is going to drag in some colder air for the far north of scotland. this is a cold front, so that cold air is going to continue to push its way steadily south as the front sinks slowly south during bank holiday monday. we will also see more cloud and rain just brushing the southern fringes, and sandwiched in between the two, relatively mild and still with sunshine continuing. we will have sunshine further north, but look at the difference with the feel of the weather. ten to 11 to the south of that cold front, and behind it, a noticeable difference, particularly across eastern scotland where temperatures really struggling to climb above freezing in spots. that cold air will push its way steadily south, so as we go into tuesday, a noticeable difference for all of us. still plenty of strong winds
up into the far north, driving in some wintry showers, but elsewhere on tuesday we start off cloudy, but that cloud should ease away, and more sunshine come through. a crisp day, noticeably cooler for all, top temperatures around 5—8 degrees, about where they should be for this time of year. now, that does lead into a frosty start during the early hours of wednesday morning, and that means that on wednesday after that frost we are going to see a good deal of dry, sunny weather before the showers are set to return, and it stays on the cold side.
as firms are warned to make contingency plans. france will cut the coronavirus self—isolation period from ten to seven days in a bid to ease staff pressures. dozens of fire crews have been tackling a blaze at the houses of parliament in the south african city of cape town. a us judge throws out prince andrew's attempt to halt proceedings in a civil lawsuit against him. i'll be back at the top of the hour with the — i'll be back at the top of the hour with the latest headlines. now on bbc news, it's time for dateline london, with shaun ley. hello, and welcome to the second of our seasonal editions of dateline london.