this is bbc news. i'm ben boulos. the headlines at 4: facemasks will be required in classrooms for secondary school pupils in england, as coronavirus cases continue to surge across europe. fears that a quarter of uk public sector workers could be off due to covid as firms are warned to make contingency plans. government minsiters say there's nothing in the current covid data to suggest more restrictions are required in england. the widespread use of testing is an illustration of the fact that the british public are taking sensible steps to keep themselves safe, to keep their friends and family safe. in the next half hour, fans will be allowed to stand to watch chelsea play liverpool for the first time in 28 years as a safe—standing trial begins in england. and how climate change is affecting the scottish ski industry.
that's in weather world, coming up later in the hour here on bbc news. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. secondary schools in england have been told that children should wear face coverings in classrooms to help stop covid disrupting the new term. the move brings england in line with the rest of the uk. unions have welcomed the advice while also warning that staff shortages could once again lead to some children being taught at home. sanchia berg reports. in scotland, pupils have been wearing masks as they learn with the windows open for the last few months. the picture is similar now in northern ireland and wales.
next week, english secondary school students will follow suit as the government tries to reduce the spread of covid—i9 in schools. around half of children over 12 have been double jabbed — not enough to keep the virus out. the face coverings is very much a short—term measure, simply until the 26th of january when it will be reviewed because we recognise it is not something many children will want to wear. it recognises the priority of ensuring face—to—face education is made available, that's our number—one priority. some are worried that this could affect children's learning which has been so disrupted for the last two years. there's very low risk to children so i'm very wary, i will listen to what the government says, but i am very wary about imposing masks on children in schools because i worry about their well—being and their mental health, which has already suffered because of school closures during lockdown. but it's backed for now
by the teaching unions. if this is a short—term fix as the government says and one of a number of different measures including ventilation and moving ofsted to the sidelines, if that's going to do what we all want and keep young people in their school or in their college, that, i think, will be a price worth paying. no—one wants to return to remote learning where children were isolated, some put at risk. but headteachers are looking at contingency plans in case staff are hit covid when schools return next week. sanchia berg, bbc news. thangam debbonaire is labour's shadow leader of the house of commons. what do you make of this move with facemasks being required in classrooms?— facemasks being required in classrooms? , ., _ ., ., classrooms? obviously we all want children back _ classrooms? obviously we all want children back in _ classrooms? obviously we all want children back in school, _ classrooms? obviously we all want children back in school, we - classrooms? obviously we all want children back in school, we want i children back in school, we want them learning and with their friends what we want them to do that safely. masks are an additional layer of protection and with omicron raging
around the country it is important that we try everything to help children to be able to learn safely but it's unfortunate the government has failed to heed the warnings they have had from sage last may in 2020, that ventilation in schools is vital because they have not addressed that. it's also important the address some of the other factors in the spread of omicron so that children can get back to learning as soon as possible. yet again here we are one year on from schools being told one thing and then told another right at the end of the school holidays, just about to go back to school. whilst i am pleased that children are going to be able to continue learning in person because learning and home is good for their mental well—being and for some it is deeply unsafe and unsatisfactory, it's concerning that we still don't have everything set up because the government are failing to heed warnings about ventilation, sick pay and other factors and are unfortunately letting children down. the government is making 7000 air
purifying units available to schools and colleges, isn't it? yes purifying units available to schools and colleges, isn't it?— and colleges, isn't it? yes but there is 27,000 _ and colleges, isn't it? yes but there is 27,000 schools - and colleges, isn't it? yes but there is 27,000 schools and l and colleges, isn't it? yes but i there is 27,000 schools and it's and colleges, isn't it? yes but. there is 27,000 schools and it's a bit late and air purifiers are not the whole answer. we've been calling on the government to sort out proper ventilation for months. 7000 purifiers isn't going to cut it. yes, it will help but only for those 7000 classrooms into which they go. that's not going to answer the problem for all children across the country and we want all children to be able learn safely.— country and we want all children to be able learn safely. when we look at the warning _ be able learn safely. when we look at the warning on _ be able learn safely. when we look at the warning on absences - be able learn safely. when we look at the warning on absences within l at the warning on absences within the public sector but also other firms being warned to expect up to 25% staff absences, what do you think needs to be done to help support those organisations with such large numbers being down? there are two critical — such large numbers being down? there are two critical things _ such large numbers being down? there are two critical things the _ are two critical things the government has failed on and would have helped public and private sector organisations to keep going and that is testing an sick pay. we've been calling for the government to sort out sick pay for
months now because if you are on a low income and not entitled to sick pay and you get sick, you're going to be tempted because you want to be able to put food on the table and you will be tempted continue keep going which puts you at risk and others potentially but it's understandable why that might happen. a fixable problem and one that many people have called to be sorted out by the government, one is testing. i was in the house of commons chamber when sajid javid the health secretary said on the 13th of december there were tens of millions of lateral flow test in stock and millions more are arriving each day and expansion plans were going ahead to deal with distribution but here we are on the 2nd ofjanuary and we know now that home tests are not available —— home delivery tests are not available and picking up tests from a chemist is still not an option for a lot of people. it puts businesses and jobs at risk and failing to sort out sick pay combined with that is failing our
economy. we combined with that is failing our econom . ~ ., ., economy. we had from the government on the basis of — economy. we had from the government on the basis of the _ economy. we had from the government on the basis of the current _ economy. we had from the government on the basis of the current data - economy. we had from the government on the basis of the current data it - on the basis of the current data it looks like no more restrictions will be needed imminently in england. do you agree with that analysis? obviously i don't see the same data and i'd like to make sure they're publishing everything they have and are being open and transparent with us. none of us want to see another lockdown and in order for that to work we need to see other things working like testing, getting ventilation right in schools, like sick pay. these are things the government could be addressing now and should have been addressing months ago that would all help us so that we can try and bring down the rates of infection sooner rather than later, reduce the risk of hospitalisation currently running at around 2000 new admissions a day that we could bring those down sooner rather than later and bring life back to something like normal but it's not going to happen just by wringing their hands and saying there's no need for restrictions, they need to act and take responsible steps that they have been advised of.
public sector leaders have been told to prepare for the worst—case scenario of up to a quarter of their staff being off work because of covid. the uk has seen record numbers of daily cases over the festive period. ministers have been asked to develop "robust contingency plans" for workplace absences. here's our business correspondent, katie prescott. cancelled trains, delayed deliveries, closed restaurants and shut—up shops. staff shortages because of the spread of omicron 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've got a very contagious variant in the uk, we know 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 in terms
of making 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 the 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 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. we've just had the latest government data uncovered i9 we've just had the latest government data uncovered 19 in the uk is
reporting 137,583 new covid—19 cases in england and wales within the latest 24—hour period. i should clarify that that is just for england and wales. it doesn't include data from northern ireland and the uk. and that is the latest that we have, 137,583 new covid cases in england and wales on sunday. a processing issue means we do not have the full numbers that would cover scotland and northern ireland. patricia marquis is regional director for england at the royal college of nursing. let's return to that issue of workplace absences. how much of an effect as it having to follow your members? it’s effect as it having to follow your members?— members? it's really very significant. _ members? it's really very significant. they - members? it's really very significant. they have - members? it's really very. significant. they have been members? it's really very - significant. they have been working in difficult circumstances for 20 months in the nhs and other social
care services are trying to make up for lost time so we are already under pressure and now with the omicron with seemingly taking many staff off sick, the pressures are really immense, both for the nursing community, health and social care and staff working in that sector. would it help if the period for self isolation were reduced or would that create more problems? it isolation were reduced or would that create more problems?— create more problems? it would alwa s create more problems? it would always help _ create more problems? it would always help if — create more problems? it would always help if people _ create more problems? it would always help if people didn't - create more problems? it would| always help if people didn't need create more problems? it would i always help if people didn't need to be away from work for so long but we need to be safe. the problem we've got now is that omicron is spreading very, very rapidly and very easily. the last thing we want to do is actually bring people back into the workplace or out into the community when they are still infectious because that will just cause when they are still infectious because that willjust cause a further rise. any reduction in the amount of time that people need to isolate needs to be carefully carefully balanced and based on
evidence of when people are still infectious and when they are likely to be passing it on to other people. we would not support a reduction in the time period of isolation if it meant that people were coming out of isolation when they were still infectious. isolation when they were still infectious-— isolation when they were still infectious. �* , ., infectious. and when the government is sa in: infectious. and when the government is saying that — infectious. and when the government is saying that organisations, - infectious. and when the government is saying that organisations, public. is saying that organisations, public sector and firms need to anticipate and embrace the absences of up to 25%, what does that look like on the ground for nurses? we 25%, what does that look like on the ground for nurses?— 25%, what does that look like on the ground for nurses? we know in some organisations — ground for nurses? we know in some organisations on _ ground for nurses? we know in some organisations on some _ ground for nurses? we know in some organisations on some shifts - ground for nurses? we know in some organisations on some shifts they - organisations on some shifts they are already turning up to work with half of their colleagues not there. this is a really massive problem for nursing, for health care more generally, having staff missing is a massive issue when you are already under pressure. the staff we've got in the system at the moment are struggling to cope with the levels of workload that they are already dealing with and if you turn up to
work and 20%, 30% or 50% of your colleagues aren't there, all that means is that you have to work twice as hard and that is not possible, patients need to be kept safe, nurses and other health care workers need to be able to do the job and care for the people they need to care for the people they need to care for the people they need to care for safely and at the minute thatis care for safely and at the minute that is severely under strain. we've heard about — that is severely under strain. we've heard about these _ that is severely under strain. we've heard about these nightingale - that is severely under strain. we've heard about these nightingale hubs, not full nightingale hospitals but nightingale hubs to expand capacity at hospitals if it were to be needed. once the situation as far as staffing doors is concerned? what are nurses being asked to do? have you been having conversations around that? late you been having conversations around that? ~ ., , you been having conversations around that? . ., , ., you been having conversations around that? . . , ., ., that? we are still waiting for the ro er that? we are still waiting for the proper detail _ that? we are still waiting for the proper detail of _ that? we are still waiting for the proper detail of this. _ that? we are still waiting for the proper detail of this. this - that? we are still waiting for the proper detail of this. this is - that? we are still waiting for the proper detail of this. this is one | proper detail of this. this is one of our that it is very late in the day that the announcement has been made in the staffing model is yet clear. it is suggested that others such as volunteers from stjohn's, other health care professionals such
as a physiotherapist or occupational therapists and other staff might be redeployed to care for people in these hubs, should they be needed. we all agree these hubs must be an absolute last resort. my concern is notjust absolute last resort. my concern is not just about staffing the hubs because we really do not believe that's going to be possible to do safely. the way things are at the minute. but the systems are already under pressure now, people are struggling to staff the services that they are trying to deliver already. adding extra capacity, beds are one thing, what we haven't got his staff and that's what we need, more staff and we just don't have them. more staff and we 'ust don't have them. ~ ., �* , more staff and we 'ust don't have them. ~ . �*, ., , ., more staff and we 'ust don't have them. . . �*, . , ., . more staff and we 'ust don't have them. ~ . �*, ., , ., ., , them. what's the answer to that? is it --erhas them. what's the answer to that? is it perhaps possible _ them. what's the answer to that? is it perhaps possible to _ them. what's the answer to that? is it perhaps possible to seek- it perhaps possible to seek volunteers among nurses who may have recently retired or left the profession to come back, albeit temporarily? taste profession to come back, albeit temporarily?— profession to come back, albeit temporarily? profession to come back, albeit temoraril ? ~ ., ., ., , temporarily? we hear about that but that's already _ temporarily? we hear about that but that's already happened. _ temporarily? we hear about that but that's already happened. we - temporarily? we hear about that but that's already happened. we had - that's already happened. we had people who returned from retirement at the beginning of 2020, some have
gone, some have gone back, some have stayed, people are already back and are already working in the system including in vaccination hubs and in social care and community etc so yes, it's possible to ask people to return and there may be more that are able to return and have already done so but that needs to be made very easy, it needs to be made and it needs to be done safely. there may be a few more to come back but at the moment the signs are not good and inviting people to come back into the system that's already under pressure is not that attractive so i think the government does need, as your previous speakers have been saying, it needs to look at the and really weigh up what it needs to do to prevent the system, the nhs in this instance and social care, from really being under such severe pressure it cannot cope any more. it's not very easy for the nhs and
other social care services to just close its doors and say we can't take any more. many services are trying to continue to deliver nonurgent care and other services that it stopped in the first and second waves but that is increasing the pressure through the winter period and no increasing covid admissions.— period and no increasing covid admissions. . . . ., ~ , admissions. patricia, thank you very much. earlier i spoke to our political correspondent, nick eardley. i asked him whether further restrictions in england were expected. we know that ministers in london have been saying pretty regularly over the last few days that any new restrictions would have to be a last resort. it's something they want to avoid unless completely necessary.
hearing from ministers on the airwaves this morning, they are saying the data they have at the moment does not point towards the need for more restrictions. that's despite the record number of positive cases we've seen in the last few days, one million people in the uk testing positive for covid in the last seven days, and the fact that in scotland, wales and northern ireland, the devolved governments have gone further and introduced more restrictions after christmas so the message this morning from ministers is that at the moment, for england, they don't think there is enough evidence to make them change their mind on more restrictions. have a listen to the cabinet office minister stephen barclay. we don't think the data supports that at this stage. of course, we keep the data under review, but we've seen significant behaviour change as a result of plan b. the widespread use of testing is an illustration of the fact that the british public are taking sensible steps to keep themselves safe, to keep their friends and family safe, that's why there has been such a demand for testing in recent weeks.
that, combined with the booster programme, is the key way as a country we will avoid the need for further measures. so that's some caution from the cabinet office minister stephen barclay. we heard from a health minister this morning saying that he's cautiously confident that the nhs has enough to manage with the increased strain that it's likely to see from omicron cases. there will be a review on wednesday of the restrictions that are in place at the moment. as you heard from stephen barclay, at the moment it does look unlikely that ministers are going to bring in more rules in england. and this warning that the government has said about the contingency planning for 10, 20, 25% absences in the public sector and warning firms to have contingency plans in place, what more have they said about that? you saw in katie's package a few minutes ago, many of us will be
familiar with some of the strain that self—isolation has put on various people over the last few weeks. that's likely to increase in the next few days. i think there are a number of businesses who are frustrated that more hasn't been done already. we've had a lot of calls for more action. what the prime minister said this morning is that he wants ministers to go away and to come up with contingency plans for various levels of absence... what we don't have is that comprehensive plan in place yet, that hasn't been completely sorted out by the government and i suspect there will be some who want to see it quite rapidly. sport and for a full round—up, from the bbc sport centre, here's sarah. we start in the premier league where pressure continues to mount on everton manager rafael benitez. his everton side have been beaten again — losing 3—2 at home to brighton. it's everton's eighth league defeat in 11 matches —
and leaves them 15th in the league. we should have started better, we give ourselves too much to do and we went in to nail down and it's a lot to do against brighton because they had a very good team —— 2—0 down. it was good but not good enough. brentford's excellent first season in the premier league continues — as they came from behind to beat aston villa. steven gerrard's side took an early lead — danny ings putting villa ahead but brentford were level before half time. yoane wissa with the equaliser and the home snatched the win seven minutes from time, mads roerslev with the winner. the victory moves brentford above their opponents and into 12th. danjames' goal in added time ensured leeds united beat burnley 3—1 at elland road to increase the gap between themselves and the relegation zone to eight points. burnley remain third from bottom, but they do have two games in hand.
all eyes now turn to stamford bridge as second place chelsea face liverpool, who are third, with both sides looking to make up ground on leaders manchester city. chelsea will be without their striker romelu lukaku — he's been left out of the squad after telling italian media he wasn't happy with the part he was playing under head coach thomas tuchel. chelsea have won just one of their last four league matches and tuchel says improvement is needed quickly. it's hard because we are so ambitious and it's hard for the team to take these results and stay positive because we are so ambitious and we know what we can deliver and we know that we can play better and everybody is fully aware, but everybody is trying hard and it's not a matter of one click. it's tough. so while chelsea will be without lukaku, liverpool will be without their manager. jurgen klopp will miss the game after he tested
positive for covid—19. that game gets under in less than ten minutes. there'll also be a moment of history at stamford bridge — as some fans will be legally standing — as part of a trial. all—seater stadiums became the law following the 1989 hillsborough disaster but several premier league clubs are now trialling safe standing. the ashes resumes on tuesday evening uk time but ahead of the match, it's been confirmed that england's head coach chris silverwood has tested positive for covid—19. silverwood has been isolating in melbourne since late december following a positive test from one of his family members. he will remain in isolation until saturday. england's squad have also undergone another round of routine pcr tests after a local bowler tested positive for covid in sydney where the fourth test is being played. england are 3—0 down and have already lost the series. great britain have began their atp cup campaign off to a winning start. they beat germany 2—1 in sydney.
dan evans gave great britain the perfect start, beating jan—lennard struff in straight sets, but cameron norrie was then beaten by alexander zverev as germany levelled the tie. that meant it came down to the doubles and evans and jamie murray secured the win in gb's favour winning in straight sets. great britain are next in action against canada on tuesday. and with the winter olympics just over a month away, great britain's bobsleighers are enjoying an excellent weekend of world cup action in latvia. brad hall has won his second silver in as many days — as he and nick gleeson finished behind germany in the two—man event. mica mcneill and adele nicoll also won silver afterjust finishing behind the united states. that was their first ever world cup medal. that's all the sport for now. football supporters at this afternoon's match between chelsea and liverpool will be the first to take part in a safe standing trial.
standing terraces were banned at most grounds in 1994, following the hillsborough stadium disaster. ministers say safety is paramount — some police chiefs have expressed concern about fans moving into standing areas from other parts of the stadium. 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 measures brought in after the hillsborough tragedy and the taylor report on those measures have served to keep football safe for 30 years so i think anything we do to alter those measures is really, really significant. i think we are saying it's the start of the pilot which is a misnomer, it's been on since the start of the season. obviously the clubs had to put the engineering works in. we've already seen some positive experience but also challenging experience so i think from our perspective on policing, we think there's an opportunity to implement this but do it in a way that's really safe, meets the needs of the fans but equally keeps everyone safe and unfortunately some of the recommendations that we made have not been implement it as yet as
part of this pilot. some of the concerns we've got our if crowds are stood up it's easier to throw missiles, engage and hate chanting, racism, sneaking in alcohol, taking cocaine which is a growing issue and in the modern stadiums you can migrate all the way around the stadium so the concern is that they get overloaded. you then get crushing issues. and it becomes quite an exclusionary crowd. i'm joined now by malcolme clarke, chair of the football supporters' association. kick—off is in about five minutes so i appreciate you joining us! what is your view, i appreciate you joining us! what is yourview, is i appreciate you joining us! what is your view, is this a good move or not? �* , your view, is this a good move or not? , your view, is this a good move or not? ,~ your view, is this a good move or not? �*, . , , . ., not? it's absolutely a good move. we've been _ not? it's absolutely a good move. we've been campaigning - not? it's absolutely a good move. we've been campaigning for - not? it's absolutely a good move. we've been campaigning for this i not? it's absolutely a good move. l we've been campaigning for this for well over two decades now. we want to see football fans have the choice to see football fans have the choice to either stand in safety or sit without people standing in front of them, blocking their view. as we know at the moment, large numbers of fans for many years now have stewed
in seated areas which are not designed for that purpose. this is sometimes caused problems for people sitting down, this is a common sense solution. we praise the sports ground safety authority for the work they have done in this and i'm afraid that i don't agree with mark roberts with his fears. with all due respect to the police, they are not the experts on ground safety, the sports ground safety authority are. there will be some people, some football fans, who will remember the trauma of what happened at hillsborough and will still have a bit of discomfort about the idea of designated standing areas being brought back, won't there? it’s designated standing areas being brought back, won't there? it's very interestin: brought back, won't there? it's very interesting that _ brought back, won't there? it's very interesting that mark _ brought back, won't there? it's very interesting that mark aspinall, - brought back, won't there? it's very interesting that mark aspinall, the i interesting that mark aspinall, the liverpool supporter who did a heroic job campaigning for the truth about hillsborough has now said she thinks this is the right way forward. for
the hillsborough families —— if hillsborough families are on and nearly everyone else's as well, it's common sense to give people a choice. those who want to stand can do so in safety because the seats now have a rail in front of them which would eliminate the possibility of any forward crashes, and are certainly safer than people standing behind bucket seats as he has for many years —— as they have for many years. we've moved on and learn the lessons and i congratulate the sports ground safety authority for authorising today's measures and it's a good day for football and for fans and for safety in our view. thank you very much, malcolm clarke. thank you very much, malcolm clarke. thank you. ben thank you very much, malcolm clarke. thank ou. �* �* ., , thank you. ben brown will be here 'ust thank you. ben brown will be here just before — thank you. ben brown will be here just before 5pm. _ thank you. ben brown will be here just before 5pm. now _ thank you. ben brown will be here just before 5pm. now it's - thank you. ben brown will be here just before 5pm. now it's time - thank you. ben brown will be here just before 5pm. now it's time for| just before 5pm. now it's time for whether world.
just before 5pm. now it's time for whetherworld. —— just before 5pm. now it's time for whether world. —— weather world. this time on weather world i'm in scotland, the country that hosted the 2021 cop climate summit. the cairngorm see area faces its own challenges as our world warms. i will be talking to the people whose livelihoods depend on winter snow here, everyone if sometimes they have to make it themselves. the factory produces four tonnes an hour. i am in london where like many major cities round the world mass transport systems are facing up to the threat of flash flooding and i will be asking what can be done to keep travellers safe. also, sudden and savage, disaster in the usa, hit by one of its largest tornado outbreaks in its history. how one canadian province found itself at the epicentre of 2021's climate change fuelled extremes. it is the effects of extreme events that can be devastating
and lead to loss of life, loss of livelihoods, this is why we are concerned about climate change. and melting in the tropics, the ice that is disappearing from some of africa's highest mountains. i have come to cairngorm mountain in the heart of the scottish highlands, the ski resort has been growing since the 1960s and while the weather can vary from one season to the next, a recent report on the effective climate change here predicts fewer snow—covered days and a a chance of more days above the threshold needed for snow to fall. you are the land manager here, gmeim, you have been doing it for 25 years, what are the changes you have noticed in terms of weather systems and snow conditions? that's right.
i think the baseline temperature has changed, less than one degree, but the maximum and minimum temperature we are seeing have changed. we are getting more extremes, so we might be getting warmer summers or warmer temperatures and bigger snowfalls as well. so in any given year there can be big anomalies as it goes through. so, it's adapting to these storm cycles that seem to be getting stronger these days. the irony is last winter you had huge amounts of snow but of course due to lockdown nobody could use it. that's right. phenomenal amounts at this level. what was different about last year, it was really stable. we had cold weather patterns with long periods with no wind at all, which is ideal conditions for skiing. every year is different but itjust shows that any year you can get a standout season and then the next year might be more variable. it's notjust about how much snow falls, but do you sometimes see too much snow falling in quite a short space of time? it's about capturing that snow