this is bbc news — these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world. regular testing and masks in secondary schools in england — the education secretary outlines measures to keep schools open in the face of rising covid infections. i don't want masks in the classroom a day longer than necessary, it's really to deal with a highly infectious aerosol transmitted variant of the virus. scientists in the netherlands are meeting to discuss if schools there can re—open next week — after closing early for christmas amid the spread of omicron the indian government rolls out covid vaccines for all 15 to 18—year—olds, as the country records its sharpest weekly rise in infections
and the kenyan conservationist and fossil hunter — richard leakey — has died at the age of 77 hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. as schools prepare to re—open for the new year across europe, governments are bringing in new coronavirus measures, in an effort to control the spread of the omicron variant of the virus. in england, the government says all secondary pupils will be tested before they return to school — and will also be required to wear masks in class. from today, children aged six and over in france will be required to wear facemasks on public transport, shops and other venues. and in the netherlands, prime minister mark rutte and his government are meeting today with health advisers,
to discuss whether schools should re—open this week. in india, those aged between 15 and 18 are now eligible for a vaccine in order to contain the country's sharpest surge in infections. more on that story in a moment, but first, here'sjon donnison on the situation in england. this time a year ago, schools across the country were forced to close to most pupils. 12 months on, the government says it wants to do everything it can to avoid a return to empty classrooms and home learning. in england, all secondary schools have been asked to provide on—site covid tests for pupils before they return from the christmas break. the move has been cautiously welcomed by some head teachers. i think the requirements for schools to do the on—site testing is the very best we can do in the situation to ensure students can stay on site, and ensure that reassurance for families and staff returning from an extended break over the christmas period.
so, again, i would say despite the upheaval that gives for schools, and school staff in particular, primarily the support staff, it is the one thing schools can continue to do to support face—to—face education. despite some shortages, the government says secondary schools have already been provided with the test kits for on—site testing. once the school term restarts, pupils will be asked to continue to take lateral flow tests at home twice a week. it follows the announcement over the weekend that secondary school pupils in england will again be required to wear face masks in classes, as is already the case in scotland, wales and northern ireland. i don't want masks in the classroom a day longer than necessary, it is really to do with a highly infectious aerial transmitted variant of the virus, and we know from uk health and security agency that it does make a difference in terms of mitigating, if you are asymptomatic, wearing a mask, you are much
less likely to transmit. in northern ireland, all post—primary pupils and staff are being asked to do a home test in the 2a hours before they return to school. in scotland, all secondary pupils are urged to take a test at home before classes resume and then to continue to test twice a week. in wales, pupils are being asked to test three times a week at home. the governments in all four nations have pledged to try to keep schools open. but if covid cases and the number of people needing to isolate continue to rise, staff shortages could make that difficult. joining me now is darren gelder, executive principal at the grace academy in solihull in the west midlands. he also sits on a committee of the naht union. welcome and thank you forjoining us.
i think it will be challenging, not only knowing what it will be, the impact on staff and our ability to deliver, i don't know what everyone else is saying, we want students in but we are going into a little bit of the unknown. we have asked staff to test and we are carrying out tests with students tomorrow, the first day back. ﬁgs tests with students tomorrow, the first day back-— first day back. as you say, staff levels are _ first day back. as you say, staff levels are going _ first day back. as you say, staff levels are going to _ first day back. as you say, staff levels are going to be - first day back. as you say, staff levels are going to be key - first day back. as you say, staff levels are going to be key in . first day back. as you say, staff. levels are going to be key in what you are able to do. what plans have you are able to do. what plans have you got in place to mitigate staff absence? �* , you got in place to mitigate staff absence? �*, ., you got in place to mitigate staff absence? �* , ., ., ., ., absence? there's a whole range of contingencies _ absence? there's a whole range of contingencies that _ absence? there's a whole range of contingencies that we _ absence? there's a whole range of contingencies that we started - absence? there's a whole range of contingencies that we started to i contingencies that we started to plan well before christmas, to hopefully mitigate the worst thing we would want to do which is send students away from live learning so we are looking at combining groups
in large areas where we can do that, we are looking at using facilities that we have but equally, we need to be realistic of having those contingencies of online learning ready to go. contingencies of online learning ready to 90-— contingencies of online learning read toao. . , ., ., ready to go. what was the situation in the run-up _ ready to go. what was the situation in the run-up to — ready to go. what was the situation in the run-up to christmas - ready to go. what was the situation in the run-up to christmas for - ready to go. what was the situation in the run-up to christmas for you i in the run—up to christmas for you in the run—up to christmas for you in terms of staff absences and covid? ~ ., , in terms of staff absences and covid? ~ . , . .,, in terms of staff absences and covid? ~ . , . ., in terms of staff absences and covid? . , . ., ., covid? we ran very close to having to consider— covid? we ran very close to having to consider some _ covid? we ran very close to having to consider some of _ covid? we ran very close to having to consider some of those - to consider some of those alternatives, normally the full—back is on supply agencies but across the west midlands we could not find a supply teacher to come and support, that's normally the go to for this. colleagues in other schools they had to look at sending your groups home so it was quite a mixed picture across the country. but as i say, slight challenge we have at the moment is we are moving into the unknown with the amount of spread that we see impacting on teaching staff. ., . ~' that we see impacting on teaching staff. ., ., ~ ., , staff. you talk about bringing urou -s staff. you talk about bringing arou -s of staff. you talk about bringing
grouns of puniis _ staff. you talk about bringing groups of pupils together - staff. you talk about bringing groups of pupils together to l staff. you talk about bringing l groups of pupils together to try staff. you talk about bringing - groups of pupils together to try to manage with reduced numbers of teachers. what would be the critical level of absence at which you get to the point where you say, this is not going to work?— going to work? realistically for any school, going to work? realistically for any school. you're _ going to work? realistically for any school, you're talking _ going to work? realistically for any school, you're talking about - going to work? realistically for any school, you're talking about a - going to work? realistically for any school, you're talking about a 20%| school, you're talking about a 20% teacher absence, you roughly have a year groups worth of teachers but we have to balance this, the well and welfare of young people, they are getting a good education and they are also in a safe environment and that's always been paramount across the trust. there is that balance but once we start to hit the 20% teacher absence, we are in hot water and we need to consider a much wider range of alternatives and contingencies. that issue that you raised about the well—being of pupils, pupils who have over a prolonged period of time, had a stop start situation,
have not been able to bank on whether they will sit exams, get the results through setting those exams themselves. how would you describe where pupils are currently and how important it is to protect them? hugely important. the challenge and anxieties they are going through, for any student with exams is huge anyway. we then put a multiplier effect of the unknown, are they coming back to start studying, carrying out marks, for things they will sit in the summer or not? we do not have the answer. our intentions are very much the exams will take place and that we are preparing for that. but the added pressure this brings to young people, really cannot be underestimated. they are feeling it, we have seen it over the last two years and we hope this year we will be able to have some sort of guarantee of the way we will be going but we are going back not knowing that and our hope and i'm
sure every teacher, student, parent, teacher and head teacher, will have that but time will tell.— that but time will tell. thank you for “oininu that but time will tell. thank you forjoining us- — governments across europe — the epicentre of a new wave of covid—i9 infections — are considering what measures are needed to protect pupils returning to school this week. in the netherlands, the government's health advisors are to meet later today to discuss whether schools should reopen, following their early closure last month to reduce the risk of children infecting older relatives over christmas. in amsterdam, at least 30 people were arrested at an unauthorised protest on sunday against lockdowns and vaccinations. anna holligan reports. the first major anti—lockdown demo of the new year, and the focus of their discontent was clear. four officers were injured when people tried to break through a barricade. a few protesters were hurt too. they object to the rules suddenly imposed by the dutch government a few days before christmas,
to limit social interactions, protect the vulnerable in society, and relieve pressure on hospitals. thousands defied a ban on mass public gatherings designed to impede the rapid spread of the omicron variant. many people here believe the focus should be elsewhere. the problem here in the netherlands is that we don't have enough capacity in hospitals for the people, so raise that up, and i know it's not a thing that can be erased in two or three months, but we don't do anything about it, so maybe we should solve that problem and not put everybody inside the houses, make them unhappy, because unhappy people get sick. more than 85% of adults in the netherlands are fully vaccinated. infections were up 18% this week compared with the week before christmas, but hospitalisations have dropped considerably to their lowest point in two months.
and after a slow start, the dutch booster programme is gaining momentum. everyone who wants a booster shot should be able to get one by next week. the lockdown will remain until at least the 14th of january. a decision on when to lift it is expected this week. children's rights groups are among the 60 organisations that have appealed to ministers to allow pupils to return to class as scheduled on the 10th. a few days then, and 2022 is already displaying familiar struggles many hoped would be over by this year. anna holligan, bbc news. hospitals remain under pressure, as cases rise and staff go sick. a critical incident has been declared at hospitals in lincolnshire because of covid—related staff shortages. in an internal memo shared on social media, the united lincolnshire hospitals trust said it was unable to maintain safe staffing levels, resulting in compromised care. in a statement, the trust's medical director said staff were working
exceptionally hard to maintain services, and anyone who needed to go to hospital for treatment should still do so. chris hopson is the chief executive of nhs providers. and hejoins us now. thank you for joining us. i've been looking at your twitter feed and you've got a pretty comprehensive summary of the latest pictures so would you mind telling us what your analysis is of where hospitals are right now? good morninu. where hospitals are right now? good morning- where _ where hospitals are right now? good morning. where i _ where hospitals are right now? good morning. where i think _ where hospitals are right now? (13mg. morning. where i think the nhs generally is at the moment is the pressure we have been experiencing in london over the last ten days is now spreading to the rest of the country. what we are seeing in the rest of the country is the same as we were seen in london, increasing numbers of people coming into hospital, increasing staff absences, and that's coming on top of a very significant amount of wider pressure. so you canjust, as i
said, when you talk to hospital chief executives and acute mental health, ambulance, community chief executives, you feel the kind of pressure rising. there are some good news. the two or three bits of good news. the two or three bits of good news is first would be the fact we are still not seeing large numbers of seriously ill older people. and the other bet is if you look at the london data and i think the london data is important because london went into this omicron peak first and is therefore likely to come out of it first, the number of hospitalisations over the last couple of days has dropped significantly. what was really interesting is when i was talking to london chief executives last week, what they said as they saw some very concerning daily increases of the numbers of people coming to hospital, 9%, 15%, on the 27th, 28th of december but in the last couple of december but in the last couple of days, the numbers have dropped, the increase is i% and 2% so if
those numbers continue, there is a feeling that is good news but we still don't know what the effect of the mixing at new year is going to be and we also don't know what is going to be the impact of schools returning. the future is uncertain. those are important factors to consider because from what you were describing in terms of the current numbers in london, the obvious question to ask is does it look like it has peaked in london? certainly there is pretty _ it has peaked in london? certainly there is pretty clear— it has peaked in london? certainly there is pretty clear evidence - it has peaked in london? certainly there is pretty clear evidence that| there is pretty clear evidence that there is pretty clear evidence that the rate of hospitalisation does follow the rate of community infection and if you go back to just before christmas, there is an seems to be pretty clear evidence that the community infection rate did seem to peak in london before christmas. so therefore you would expect the hospitalisation rate, to therefore match that seven or ten days later which is roughly where we are but as i say, the bit we are still uncertain about is what is the impact of christmas, new year and then schools going back. clearly,
you could see another very significant increase in infections turning into hospitalisations, that is why we say very clearly, the government still needs to be ready to introduce restrictions if they are needed and the evidence shows they are needed. ﬁn are needed and the evidence shows they are needed.— are needed and the evidence shows they are needed. on that, some are sa in: in they are needed. on that, some are saying in order _ they are needed. on that, some are saying in order to _ they are needed. on that, some are saying in order to change _ they are needed. on that, some are saying in order to change for- they are needed. on that, some are saying in order to change for we - they are needed. on that, some are saying in order to change for we are | saying in order to change for we are now, restrictions would have had to have been in place some time ago. what's your analysis of the potential benefit of bringing in restrictions after that prolonged period of social mixing or that intense period of social mixing over christmas and new year? i intense period of social mixing over christmas and new year?— christmas and new year? i think that's really _ christmas and new year? i think that's really important _ christmas and new year? i think that's really important bit - christmas and new year? i think that's really important bit in - christmas and new year? i think. that's really important bit in terms of the lag you talk about. there's a sort of generally accepted rule that's probably something like a fortnight lag between introducing measures and then actually then having an effect on hospitalisations and i think there is a really difficult debate going on, there's some people who feel very strongly that we should have introduced restrictions some time ago and it's
still not too late. equally there are some people who say this is a very tall, thin peak, in other words, it's going to come very fast, peak very high and then go away very fast. then some people are arguing we are in a sense too late to introduce restrictions. the bit i can say because this is the i am an expert on, we know in london, if the figures stay as they are over the last couple of days and we don't see a christmas and new year and going back to schools peak, then london hospitals although it's been incredibly difficult for them and will still be difficult, they should be able to just about kind of cope. so there is a debate about whether we should bring in those restrictions are not. the issue as you well know is that it's not the nhs that decides that and it should not be the nhs that decides that, it is the government because they have to work out the trade—offs between a number of different factors in which
the health and public health factors are only one. but the health and public health factors are only one-— the health and public health factors are onl one. �* ., .,, are only one. but the government has done is announce _ are only one. but the government has done is announce the _ are only one. but the government has done is announce the new— are only one. but the government has done is announce the new nightingale units which will bring in extra capacity or covid patients and also an additional 4000 beds for covid patients beyond that. is that contingency planning sufficient for potentially all eventualities here? this is the struggle but we have had in the nhs, we have simply not known about what to expect going forward stop we took what i thought was the no regrets decision to create this insurance policy of this extra capacity, these nightingale hospitals, it gives us a very difficult challenge, where we need to use them but we would be in an emergency if we were using them but the problem being basically finding enough staff, particularly at the point we have staff absences but it's got to make sense that we have that capacity there, available,
should we need it and clearly if we work to get a christmas new year schools going back effect, then there's definitely a chance that capacity would need to be used. but as we saw in the first phase, it's got to make sense to have an insurance policy because we cannot leave patients untreated. hagar insurance policy because we cannot leave patients untreated. how much has this period _ leave patients untreated. how much has this period impacted _ leave patients untreated. how much has this period impacted on - leave patients untreated. how much | has this period impacted on backlogs and cancelled operations and all of that? , ., ~ that? the first thing i would like to sa is that? the first thing i would like to say isjust. — that? the first thing i would like to say isjust. i _ that? the first thing i would like to say isjust, i was _ that? the first thing i would like to say isjust, i was hoping - that? the first thing i would like to say isjust, i was hoping you i to say is just, i was hoping you might ask the impact on staff because the one thing i think we really need to understand as we are asking our staff yet again to be and work incredibly hard and work incredibly flexibly and be redeployed to stop if you don't mind i would like to take the opportunity to say thank you very much to everybody who we know is working flat out. in terms of answering your question, we do know the places that have come under pressure and are coming under pressure are having to
delay some of the less urgent plant care and at the same time, we know that staff are absolutely, as i have just said, absolutely exhausted so there will by definition be an impact on getting through the care backlogs because what we were hoping to be able to do was run full pelt right the way through december and january and february, getting as many of those cases done as possible but we simply have not been able to do that as a result of the arrival of omicron. so it will have an impact and we will need to work out what that impact is but there will be an impact. what that impact is but there will be an impact-— what that impact is but there will be an impact. chris hobson, thank ou, and be an impact. chris hobson, thank you, and absolutely _ be an impact. chris hobson, thank you, and absolutely right - be an impact. chris hobson, thank you, and absolutely right to - you, and absolutely right to acknowledge the amazing work that the people in our medical services are doing through what is clearly a very difficult period.— are doing through what is clearly a very difficult period. joanna, thank ou. india has recorded its sharpest ever weekly rise in the number of coronavirus cases. infections tripled over the last week — driven by the omicron variant. the government is extending
vaccinations to is—to—is—year—olds. our correspondent, yogita limaye, is in mumbai. bring us up to date with what is happening. in bring us up to date with what is happening-— bring us up to date with what is haueninu. ., , happening. in the past 24 hours, india has recorded _ happening. in the past 24 hours, india has recorded more - happening. in the past 24 hours, india has recorded more than - happening. in the past 24 hours, - india has recorded more than 33,000 new infections, that number yesterday was 20% lower and this rise that we are seeing in the daily new covid cases is the highest we have seen since the start of the pandemic. mumbai, the city i am in is currently the worst affected city. there are some restrictions that have been put in place here, yesterday, in the evening, we recorded almost 8000 new infections in 24 hours, to that number is expected to be higher. doctors in the city who i have spoken to say they are seeing more people needing hospital, needing oxygen beds but that number is not proportionate to the surge we are seeing. authorities are appealing to people to wear masks and follow social distancing
protocols. they are saying about 90% of capacity in hospitals is currently available, intensive care beds are available as well but the doctors, the epidemiologist who i have spoken to say remember the second wave in india, it was devastating. people died literally outside hospitals without being seen ijy outside hospitals without being seen by doctors. oxygen ran out in many places stop and so they are saying the volume of people getting infected is this high, even if a smaller percentage of people need an intensive care bed or even a bed with oxygen, that could still very quickly overwhelm public health infrastructure and so they are saying the messaging needs to be right, people need to wear masks. they are also appealing to political leaders across party lines who are currently holding mass rallies because of upcoming regional elections, many of them including the prime minister narendra modi being seen on stage and at meetings
without a mask, doctors are saying please send the message right because the issue is you must take it seriously. because the issue is you must take it seriously-— let's get some of the day's other news president biden has held a telephone conversation with his ukrainian counterpart, volodymyr zelensky, in which he made clear that the us and its allies would respond "decisively", if russia moved against ukraine. russia has been massing tens of thousands of troops on its border with ukraine. the embattled chinese property giant evergrande has once again suspended trading of its shares on the hong kong stock exchange, pending an announcement to investors. the news came after chinese media reported that evergrande had been ordered to demolish 39 luxury apartments on hainan island because they'd been built illegally. evergrande has debts of more than $300—billion. south korea says the man seen crossing its heavily fortified border into north korea on new year's day is thought to be a north korean who had previously defected to the south. the defence ministry said it
suspected he was a former north korean gymnast who had jumped the barbed wire fence from north korea in november 2020. twitter has permanently suspended the account of the republican congresswoman, marjorie taylor green. the social media platform said the american politician had repeatedly violated its policy on misinformation about covid—i9. her tweets had included unfounded allegations that covid vaccines didn't work, and killed people. a 16—year—old boy has been arrested on suspicion of murder, following the death of a teenager in west london. the victim — who was also 16 — was stabbed in a park in the hillingdon area but hasn't been formally identified. police are appealing for witnesses. the renowned kenyan conservationist and fossil hunter — richard leakey — has died at the age of 77.
his discoveries were crucial in shedding light on the evolution of humans. richard leakey also took a stand in the fight against ivory poachers in kenya. the bbc�*s tim allman looks back at his life and career. richard leakey helped tell the story of where we came from... ..but he was also concerned about where we're going. he made his name in the study of human evolution. his discoveries — including a famous turkana boy skeleton — helped transform our understanding of the origins of humanity. i think africa is beginning to recognise that our heritage is real. i think we are beginning to realise that blue—eyed guys like you, and the scandinavians, and people from all over the world, actually are part of the african diaspora. that's powerful. as was his commitment to conservation. in 1989, he was appointed head of kenya's national wildlife agency — his war against poaching symbolised by the public burning of tonnes of stolen ivory.
the worst thing you could do with richard was to assume that he was british. he was a very proud kenyan and he was a good kenyan, and africa has lost a significant personality and an important personality. richard leakey was born in nairobi in 1944, the son of two famous anthropologists. he suffered throughout his life from ill—health, battling against cancer and needing a kidney transplant. he lost both his legs in a plane crash and he always suspected foul play — his fight against corruption creating many enemies. but those setbacks never got in the way of his love of scientific discovery and his love of africa. he was described as a visionary whose great contributions to human origins and wildlife conservation will never be forgotten.
the conservationist — richard leakey — who's died at the age of 77. you are watching bbc news. now, time for a weather update with carol. hello again. the weather this week is turning colder than it has been but temperatures will be roughly where they should be at this stage injanuary. cold air is already across parts of scotland, and watch how it moves southwards through tonight and into tomorrow covering all but the channel islands by the time we get to the end of tomorrow. this is the weather front the cold air is following on behind. it is producing rain but increasingly we will see snow showers at lower levels in scotland. ahead of that, some showers, some thundery across wales, brisk winds in england and wales but a lot of dry weather and across the english channel, looking at some rain on and off in areas adjacent to the english channel. but mild in the south,
cold in the north and that cold air filters further south behind the weather front as we go through the night so increasingly in the hills of the pennines, the lake district, peak district and north west wales and we will see snow but more substantial snow falling especially on higher ground across scotland. couple that with gale force winds and we are looking at a combination of blizzards and also drifting on higher ground. that will be the scenario tomorrow as well, the met office has yellow warnings out for this. 5—15 centimetres of fresh snow falling, 15 centimetres on higher ground and gusts potentially on the summits of 70 mph also around the coasts. away from scotland there is lots of dry weather around, we lose the morning rain. in the increaseing wind towards the west we will see showers come in, some of those could be wintry on the hills. it isa it is a chilly start to the day on wednesday, a ridge of high pressure necrosis, the wind easing. some
showers in the north and east, temperatures now, 4 degrees in the north, 9 degrees as we to the south. things change once again, we have this clutch of france coming from the atlantic. you see from looking at the isobars, it is going to be windy. as the weather fronts engage with this cold air, the rain readily turns to snow on the leading edge, most of this will be on higher ground. it will be a windy day on thursday, accentuating the cold feel. these are the temperatures, 6 degrees, up to 9 degrees, possibly 11 degrees in plymouth.
will happen this is bbc news, the headlines — regular testing and masks in secondary schools in england — the education secretary outlines measures to keep schools open in the face of rising covid infections. i don't want masks in the classroom a day longer than necessary, it's really to deal with a highly infectious aerosol transmitted variant of the virus. scientists in the netherlands are meeting to discuss if schools there can re—open next week — after closing early for christmas amid the spread of omicron. the indian government rolls out covid vaccines for all 15— to 18—year—olds, as the country records its sharpest weekly rise in infections. and the kenyan conservationist and fossil hunter — richard leakey — has died at the age of 77. now on bbc news, in a programme first shown in february as part of bbc sport's lgbt+ history month, clare balding looks