this is bbc news, the headlines at 8pm... more than 150,000 people in the uk have now died within 28 days of a positive covid test — since the pandemic began. lawyers for novak djokavic claim he was given a vaccine exemption to enter australia, because he'd had a recent covid infection. thousands more flat—owners will be spared the expense of replacing unsafe cladding — under new government plans to make developers offer four—billion pounds towards the costs. nasa says the james webb space telescope has fully deployed in space, after unfolding its final mirror panels.
good evening and welcome to bbc news. more than 150,000 people in the uk have now died within 28 days of a positive covid test. another 313 deaths have been reported in the latest daily figures. the uk is the seventh country to pass this number of official deaths, afterthe us, brazil, india, russia, mexico and peru. 0ur health correspondent catherine burns reports how do you begin to imagine 150,000 people? it's almost the entire population of oxford, a city, like others, where the pandemic has caused so much pain. the first death within 28 days of a positive covid test was recorded in the uk on the 6th of march, 2020. five weeks later, more
than 10,000 people had died. sabir—hussain mirza was 0xford's first muslim councillor. mostly, though, he was a family man — married with ten children. they relied on video calls when he went to hospital. we would be like, "come on, dad, get better quickly and come back." but one day sabir stopped answering his phone. he'd been put on a ventilator. after almost three weeks, doctors said some of the family could visit him for the last time. i said to him, "i love you, and i want you to know that i will always love you, and i will never forget you." you just can't come to terms with someone actually telling you that your father's left this world. sabir was buried next to his younger brother. he'd died the day before in the same hospital, killed by the same disease. as the pandemic spread through society, the death toll rose rapidly, but scientists in this city were also working at speed, racing to find a vaccine,
and by the end of april 2020, the oxford astrazeneca team was already testing it on volunteers in clinical trials, and as the year came to a close there was a real sense of optimism as both this and the pfizer vaccine were approved. january last year was a turning point — it saw more deaths than at any other time, over32,000. but by the end of the month almost half a million people had had their first dose of a vaccine. she was looking forward to the vaccine coming along. traceyjones turned 50 in lockdown. she didn't make it to 51. she said to me, "i feel very, very ill." isaid, "i know, my darling, they're going to put you to sleep and you'll be better." she said to me, "look after stephen," and those were the last words i ever heard from her. neil and tracey were a team, caring for their son stephen who has special needs. i had to tell him, unfortunately, "mum has gone to heaven now," and he hugged me and cried.
no one could come and see you. we were left to grieve on our own, really. it's very hard, especially when you have a special needs son, and you don't want him to see you crying, but sometimes you just had to go away and have a little cry. the pandemic has seen too many sad milestones. in november, 2020, the death toll stood at 50,000. just 11 weeks later, it reached 100,000. vaccines helped slow that pace right down and it's taken almost another year to get to this point. i'm so glad that he retired when he did, early. robin birchmore was 63 and his invitation for a vaccine came through two days after he died. in hospital, he had one last video call with his daughter. he kept saying, "i'm struggling, i'm struggling to breathe," and i said to him, "hurry up and get better," and he said, "i'm trying." that was the last time i spoke to him.
camilla's nan had also died from covid. 0n the night after her funeral the call came, it was time to say goodbye to her dad, as well. it was horrendous, horrendous. the doctor said, "here's your dad," and i went, "that's not my dad." i didn't even recognise him because of all the tubes. you say your goodbyes and then you have to walk away from them. the uk has reported 150,000 deaths before any country in the eu. there is hope, though, that this pandemic will never again bring suffering on such a scale. catherine burns, bbc news. well, this evening, the prime minister has issued a statement on the grim milestone. in it he says, "coronavirus has taken a terrible toll on our country and today the number of deaths recorded has reached 150,000.
john burn—murdoch is a data journalist at the financial times — he explained a little earlier how the availability of tests throughout the pandemic may be skewing the case numbers. i think one thing i'd start with as well is we mustn't forget the first wave that we had back in the spring of 2020, actually significantly undercounted the total covid was taking because far fewer people had access to testing, so based on mentions of coded on the death certificate, we now believe there will be more like 170,000 covid deaths in the uk, or death where covid was involved,
and internationally, it's a relatively complex picture, as i'm sure you can imagine. there are, i think a lot of us remember back to that time last year and immediately after last january when the waves that we had been experiencing in the uk where especially bad, and the uk was relatively high up in the international comparison to deaths, but i think what some people may have been less aware of since then is that less vaccinated countries have actually had a very, very lethal 2021s, as it were, so many, many countries across the world, including in europe have overtaken the uk, once you adjust for population, we have seen very severe covid waves throughout 2021 in much of eastern europe, for example, and countries like the us as well are now considerably more badly affected than the uk when it comes to deaths, so i think that, you know, the tens of thousands of lives that have been lost here certainly are very unfortunate, are very serious, and i think deserves serious consideration
in terms of what could've been done differently, but we should also, as you reportjust showed there, be very grateful for the benefits that vaccines have delivered because many, many countries around the world who have not realised that same benefit from vaccines have ended up in a far worse position than the uk. 0ur health correspondent, katharine da costa, has been telling us about the significance of passing the milestone of 150,000 deaths in the uk. depends how you're measuring it, but looking at this measure within 28 days in a positive test, the uk is not a seventh country that has passed 150,000 reported deaths, joining the likes of the united states, brazil, india and russia. each one of those deaths is a tragedy, it leaves a grieving family. now, the uk hit 100,000 deaths injanuary of last year, so it's taken 12 months to get to 150,000, and that slow down is thanks in large part due to the vaccination programme,
which is providing very high levels of protection against falling very seriously ill and dying from the virus. vaccines aren't100% effective, and even with new treatments, new antiviral drugs, it's inevitable there will be more deaths. so people will always carry on dying from covid, it's just hopefully the numbers are going to get smaller? they slow down. the link between dying, well, getting infected and dying has been weakened because of the vaccines. we've seen that the omicron variant emerged late november, early december, and we saw in the uk that cases were surging before christmas, and that lag between infections and people dying means that we are seeing daily deaths increasing. the week on week trend is up nearly a0%. now, the department of health says it shows that the pandemic is not over. the vaccination programme has worked, and it's urging people to come forward to still get your first and second doses, and very importantly, to get the boosterjab. campaigners say lessons need to be learned about the handling of the pandemic, and the government has said it is committed to a full
public inquiry in the spring. as you say, we are the seventh country to pass this milestone, but if you look at the number of deaths compared to the size of population, we are kind of doing not as well as quite a lot of european countries, aren't we? we've lost a bigger proportion of people to it, and that is the sort of thing presumably that the inquirty will want to ask, why is that? yeah, the handling of the pandemic, the decisions that were made. you know, the government has always said it's prioritised, you know, it brought in ppe, you know, it fast tracked vaccines, drugs, things like that, it will always say it's done its best, but there are the critics that say more could be done. at the moment, there are those who call for tighter interesting to see the evidence, the data that is brought up. interestingly, this country has decided not to bring in fourth doses. we have seen elsewhere in the world, israel for example, starting
to bring in fourth boosterjabs, but here in the uk the vaccine experts have said, actually, that's not needed. the evidence shows protection from a booster after three months for those who are over 65 is still very high, about 90% protection from hospitalisation, so for now, they don't feel it's needed, but that will be monitored over time to see what happens when that vaccines do start to wane for that higher protection against hospitalisation. so, for now, it's not needed. maybe it becomes an annual jab, for example. france has reported a massive 303,669 new coronavirus cases in the past 2a hours despite strict covid pass measures. the figures come as demonstrations were held against even tougher rules which would see unvaccinated people largely banned from any public space. france also has strict mask—wearing restrictions. and we'll find out how this story — and many others — are covered in tomorrow's front pages at 10:30 and 11:30 this evening in the papers
— our guestsjoining me tonight are aubrey allegretti from the guardian and sian griffiths — education and families editor at the sunday times. do stay with us for that. now, to australia. lawyers for the tennis star novak djokovic say he had a vaccine exemption to enter australia because of a covid infection last month. djokovic was denied entry to australia after landing in melbourne this week to play in the australian open. he's currently in an immigration detention centre, ahead of an appeal hearing on monday. a second australian open hopeful, renata voracova from the czech republic, has now left the country after having her visa cancelled. shaimaa khalil reports from melbourne. the world's top tennis player is spending the weekend in an immigration detention hotel. and his supporters have turned up for a third day.
this is novak djokovic arriving in melbourne on wednesday. the documents his legal team presented to the court state he'd received the exemption from tennis australia, with a follow—up letter from the home affairs department, saying he was allowed into the country. his legal team added that onjanuary 1st djokovic received a document from home affairs, telling him his responses indicated he met the requirements for a quarantine—free arrival into australia. what's becoming clear is a breakdown in communication among those making the decisions, and what the judge has to look at and examine is exactly which rules apply. is it state government rules or federal government rules? and until a decision is made about whether novak djokovic can
remain in australia, the world no 1 is still stuck in this immigration detention hotel, and in the middle of a huge controversy. this particular set of incidents, the victorian government was not briefed on the matter. in terms of how people got into the country, that's a matter for the federal government. last night his mother offered some reassurance. novak is, i think... he said he's 0k, but...|'m not so sure. but he's mentally very stable, and he's waiting. that's what he can do, waiting until monday morning to see what they're going to decide. the tennis tournament is only a few days away, and what's normally one of the biggest highlights here is turning into a political and a diplomatic embarrassment for australia. shaimaa khalil, bbc news. the headlines on bbc news... more than 150,000 people in the uk
have now died within 28 days of a positive covid test since the start of the pandemic. lawyers for novak djokavic claim he was given a vaccine exemption to enter australia, because he'd had covid—19 in december. thousands more flat—owners will be spared the expense of replacing unsafe cladding — under new government plans to make developers offer 4 billion pounds towards the costs. the bbc has learned that the housing secretary michael gove will next week pledge to "expose and pursue" companies responsible for the cladding crisis after the grenfell fire. in a new attempt to address building safety problems, he will make a statement to mps with the aim of easing the "unfair burden" on leaseholders. up to half a million flat owners across the uk may no longer face the cost of replacing dangerous cladding on their properties.
our business correspondent simon browning has the details. it's a building safety crisis. an estimated half a million people live in homes wrapped in flammable materials. added to that a missing fire breaks, defective insulation and flammable balconies. but who is to blame, and who should fix them? up to now the government's approach was for dangerous cladding removal to be paid for by the building safety fund. it was only for buildings more than 18.5 metres in height. everything else was to be covered by either developers paying, or via a loan scheme for leaseholders. it's meant blocks like this, austin apartments in the south—east london, were previous cut off from government support because it is below 18.5 metres. but on monday, michael gove, the levelling up secretary, is expected to say that will change and lower height buildings will get support. government will try to secure up to £4 billion from developers towards the cost. and if they don't pay for it
voluntarily, it is understood the government will use the law to enforce it. flat owners this morning have cautiously welcomed the news. it does lift a layer of anxiety, but there is no absolute clarification in how developers are going to pay. but there is already concerned that house—builders won't pay when asked. well, they won't choose to pay. they will have to be dragged to the table to offer something up. i suspect it relies on showing will, whether it is by sampling the buildings, and showing that these buildings were not built to spec. the home builders federation said of the largest house—builders had already spent or committed £1 billion to remediate affected buildings, and that whilst house—builders were committed to playing their part, there were other organisations involved in the construction, which should also be involved in remediation costs. labour said the new measures appear far less significant than they sound. but making thousands of homes safe after the grenfell fire continues to be a huge financial challenge
for the industry and government. simon browning, bbc news. a little earlier i spoke to liam spender, who owns a flat affected by the cladding scandal i live on a mixed tight developments, half of our buildings are over 18 metres, half are under 18 metres, the building i live in is 14 18 metres, the building i live in is 1a metres, it's five stories. so theoretically, this announcement helps, but i don't think we have the detail to know how much help, if any, it will actually be.— any, it will actually be. indeed, i mean, any, it will actually be. indeed, i mean. in — any, it will actually be. indeed, i mean, in practical— any, it will actually be. indeed, i mean, in practicalterms, - any, it will actually be. indeed, i mean, in practicalterms, the i mean, in practical terms, the government is saying it's going to somehow get the developers to offer her money to produce. you are a lawyer, you know how things are usually done, is it that people in government would offer this kind of
money in these circumstances? hat money in these circumstances? not unless ou money in these circumstances? iirrt unless you have the leverage, i mean to make you take the example of litigation, issuing a claim against someone gives you leverage because typically they want the claim to go away unless it is a point of principle, so no commercial organisation gives away money unless it has reason to. does the government have leverage? i think it does because it's taken away what appears to be taking away one of the industry's trump cards, which is if you take money off us, we cannot produce more housing and typically governments want there to be more housing, so the announcement seems to be saying, if they want to pay voluntarily, the government will shift its focus to building safety, so that gives them leverage, the threat of taxes and the threat of imposing a solution on them if they don't agree voluntarily, it also gives them leverage. whether that
induces a settlement remains to be seen. in induces a settlement remains to be seen. ., ., , ., seen. in other words, we are quite a early stage — seen. in other words, we are quite a early stage in _ seen. in other words, we are quite a early stage in all— seen. in other words, we are quite a early stage in all of— seen. in other words, we are quite a early stage in all of this. _ seen. in other words, we are quite a early stage in all of this. that - early stage in all of this. that must be hugely frustrating for you and all the other leaseholders there, because we are several the years on from the terrible events at granville tower, and we have heard that people are having to do extra costs thankfully not in the lower level ones, but they are bigger ones have to inflate a 2k hour fire safety check to end around and make red fire doesn't start. it must be very frustrating.— very frustrating. enormously frustrating. _ very frustrating. enormously frustrating. -- _ very frustrating. enormously frustrating. -- grenfell- very frustrating. enormously i frustrating. -- grenfell towers. there has _ frustrating. -- grenfell towers. there has been _ frustrating. -- grenfell towers. there has been work— frustrating. -- grenfell towers. there has been work done - frustrating. -- grenfell towers. there has been work done and| frustrating. -- grenfell towers. i there has been work done and the mental health affect this is having on people, this is casting a pall over people's lives, and it's already gone on for we are approaching five years commit will be five years this year since grenfell. so i think it's gone on forfar too long already. at least 21 people have died in freezing temperatures in northeastern pakistan after their cars were
trapped in heavy snow. the chief minister of punjab province has declared the mountain resort town of murree — where a thousand vehicles are still stranded — as a "disaster area" and has urged people to stay away. a day trip to enjoy the spectacle of the first snowfall of the season turned to tragedy. tens of thousands, including families, flocked to the popular resort town after snow began falling on tuesday. many travelled from islamabad ill—equipped to deal with the blizzard conditions. the pakistani army has been brought in to help clear snow and rescue those trapped. and the hope is to begin air lifts when conditions allow. translation: helicopter service will soon be started, _ but the weather is not good right now. as soon as the weather gets better, god willing, we will start helicopter service to rescue any people stranded. many of the casualties died from hypothermia as temperatures fell to —8 celsius.
others were reported to have been asphyxiated by exhaust fumes as they kept engines running to keep warm. vehicles were trapped as the narrow mountain roads became clogged with the sheer number of vehicles. others were blocked by fallen trees brought down by the weight of snow. local people are delivering blankets and food to those stranded. on friday, the government closed all roads leading to murree to stop any further influx. pakistan's prime minister has expressed his shocked and upset at the deaths. he suggested that the local administration was caught unprepared. he has ordered an inquiry to ensure such a tragedy does not happen again. nasa scientists say the james webb space telescope has fully deployed in space, after unfolding its final mirror panels. the golden primary mirror will allow the telescope
to be properly focused — helping scientists to study the very first stars to shine in the universe. dr imogen whittam is an astrophysicist at the university of oxford. thank you very much for being with us. i suppose the first thing to stay is over you breathing a sigh of relief when the last of those mirrored panels finally opened? yes. mirrored panels finally opened? yes, definitel . mirrored panels finally opened? yes, definitely- the _ mirrored panels finally opened? ye: definitely. the thousands of scientists and engineers have been involved in this project over the last several decades all breathe a massive sigh of relief when that final panel clicked into place. we have some time before we both get more data, as it were, from the telescope, butjudging how things have gone so far, does it give you quite a lot of confidence for this mission, because it's an incredibly important but also very long mission. , ,., important but also very long mission. , ., ., ~
mission. yes, so today we marked the end of the biggest _ mission. yes, so today we marked the end of the biggest hurdle _ mission. yes, so today we marked the end of the biggest hurdle to _ mission. yes, so today we marked the end of the biggest hurdle to getting i end of the biggest hurdle to getting the telescope to operate properly, because the telescope is full that “p because the telescope is full that up so that it would fit inside the rocket when it launched. very complicated and technically complicated and technically complicated process of unfolding the various bits of the telescope which then this afternoon the final part of the primary mirror was unfolded. this is the really, really technically challenging part where there were several places where things could go irreparably wrong. likely that hasn't happened at all. it's all gone swimmingly, totally to plan, so hopefully it will now be smooth sailing from here on out until we get that first data and five months' time. pare until we get that first data and five months' time.— until we get that first data and five months' time. are you say it could've been _ five months' time. are you say it could've been a _ five months' time. are you say it could've been a disaster, - five months' time. are you say it could've been a disaster, it - could've been a disaster, it would've been the white elephant in history and kind of embarrassed faces all around, thankfully we are not in that situation. but it is
still a question of what it will find with the infrared telescope. why are so hopeful that this going to cut through what you might call a lot of the kind of things that limit our ability to see what happened and how the universe has developed. this telesco -e how the universe has developed. this telesc0pe is — how the universe has developed. ti 3 telescope is an extraordinary machine. as he said, it's an infrared camera and has got a six and half metre mirror, which has unfolded successfully earlier today. it should be able to do some really hugely exciting science. the thing that i find the most exciting is we should be able to observe the first—ever galaxies to form 13 a half billion years ago. so we should be able to watch the birth of the very first stars and planets, which should then tell us about how galaxies form and how the milky way came to be where it is today. it’s came to be where it is today. it's kind of mind _ came to be where it is today. it's kind of mind blowing stuff, actually, when you put it in those
terms and the idea that the dust, the particles that have kind of been expeued the particles that have kind of been expelled from those events still preserve in a sense the ability for us to interpret them so that we get this new data. it really is ground—breaking, isn't it? nobody�*s ever been able to do this before, assuming we can do it now. fingers crossed, absolutely. _ assuming we can do it now. fingers crossed, absolutely. james - assuming we can do it now. fingers crossed, absolutely. james webb i assuming we can do it now. fingersj crossed, absolutely. james webb is essentially a giant time machine. we are able to look back in time it is very first galaxies. we are also excited to look at things closer to us, so we can examine x0 planets, and particularjames webb should be able to study their atmospheres and look at the elements that make up the atmosphere to help answer questions like could they possibly have conditions that might enable them to have life, which is clearly a very exciting topic. it them to have life, which is clearly a very exciting topic.— a very exciting topic. it is. we could talk _
a very exciting topic. it is. we could talk all _ a very exciting topic. it is. we could talk all night _ a very exciting topic. it is. we could talk all night about - a very exciting topic. it is. we | could talk all night about this. thank you very much.- could talk all night about this. thank you very much. thank you. fascinating _ thank you very much. thank you. fascinating stuff _ thank you very much. thank you. fascinating stuff come _ thank you very much. thank you. fascinating stuff come about. - travel firms say the demand for foreign holidays has started to recover following the relaxation of coronavirus travel rules across the uk. tim muffett has the details it's been a brutal time for the travel industry. lockdowns and restrictions have meant that for almost two years huge numbers of holidays have been cancelled. hello, flitch travel. but it seems there are grounds for optimism. a number of airlines and operators are now reporting significant increases in bookings and inquiries. we're starting to see the pent—up demand that's been there for months and months now start to transition in terms of bookings, but it is off a very low base and we're hoping the next few weeks we will start to see even more demand come through. and which destinations are proving popular? the most interest we're seeing with destinations are spain, and this time of the year the canary islands is doing exceptionally well.
actually, 30% of everything we are selling is for a january departure, so for the next three weeks. as of yesterday, fully vaccinated adults and people under 18 arriving in the uk no longer need to take a predeparture covid test. from tomorrow, they will only have to take a lateral flow test instead of a pcr test on day two after arriving. i'll be booking something either this afternoon or tomorrow. getting away for my 50th after a really rubbish two years. just really excited to get some sunshine. somewhere safe, don't mind wearing a mask, just to get there. any increase in foreign travel is coming from a very low base. and easyjet says flight bookings to lanzarote are up fourfold compared to last week. and jet 2 expect bookings this summer to be back to pre—pandemic levels. a glimmer of hope, perhaps, following two years of gloom for the travel industry. tim muffett, bbc news. now it's time for a look
at the weather with louise lear. good evening. it was a pretty miserable start to our weekend. but the weather story did improve as we went through the day. there will continue to be a few showers into the evening and overnight in the far north and west. but as skies continue to clear, well, temperatures will fall away and we could see some icy stretches with a few showers lingering here and there. showers most chiefly to the far north and west and with any elevation they will be wintry as well. so it's going to be a chilly start to our sunday morning for many of us. but it will be a sunny one. we will keep some sunshine throughout much of the day into sheltered eastern areas, central and southern england. a few scattered showers moving through western scotland, maybe across the peaks and pennines and maybe some rain gathering down to the south—west by the end of the day. blustery winds to begin with. slowly easing as the afternoon continues. temperatures, well, ranging generally between five to eight celsius. a little bit milder in the far south—west. some rain arrives to the west for the start of monday. cloudier skies in
the sheltered east. hello, this is bbc news. the headlines... more than 150,000 people in the uk have now died within 28 days of a positive covid test — since the pandemic began. lawyers for novak djokavic claim he was given a vaccine exemption to enter australia, because he'd had a recent covid infection. thousands more flat—owners will be spared the expense of replacing unsafe cladding — under new government plans to make developers offer £4 billion towards the costs. at least 21 people have died in north—eastern pakistan after heavy snowfall trapped them in their vehicles. nasa's james webb space telescope has unfolded its final mirror panel after launching on christmas day.