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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 19, 2021 6:00pm-6:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news — these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world. the uk health secretary refuses to rule out tighter covid restrictions before christmas in response to the rapid spread of the omicron variant. he says it is time to be cautious about social interactions. there are no guarantees in this pandemic. i don't think... at this point we have to keep everything under review. the netherlands goes into a tough new lockdown over christmas amid concerns over the omicron variant. sudan authorities have fired tear gas at protestors as pro—democracy marches continue outside the presidential palace in the capital khartoum. richard rogers — the architect behind london's millenium dome and the pompidou centre in paris —
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has died at the age of 88. hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. the uk health secretary sajid javid says he can't rule out further covid restrictions in england in the run—up to christmas, and he's urged everyone to be cautious given the rapid spread of the omicron variant. more than 82,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in the latest 24—hour period. mrjavid said the new variant is already the dominant strain in england as well as scotland. so far 12 people have died having contracted this latest form of coronavirus. several european countries have introduced tough new restrictions to tackle covid, we'll have more on that in a moment but first here's our medical editor
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fergus walsh with the latest in the uk. # driving home for christmas...# this christmas, the hot ticket for many is not to see a football match but to get a boosterjab. wembley stadium had 10,000 vaccines available today and many were keen to get them before heading home to the family. i would prefer to have it done before christmas. i've got an elderly grandfather who's 90 years old, so i want to be able to see him. i am getting a booster vaccination and my family members already have got the vaccinations but i think it is best to be as contained as possible. so, it's the booster versus the variant. omicron infections are thought to be doubling every two to three days. the epidemic is growing so fast, the health secretary could not rule out fresh restrictions before christmas. there are no guarantees, in this pandemic. i don't think... at this point, we just have to keep everything under review.
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he urged people across the country to be cautious in the days ahead. if i'm going to see my mum, for example, who's elderly, like most very old people, she's more vulnerable than young people, i will take a test. i might, you know, just not have the usual amount of hugs i get from my mum! just take a bit of caution and that's a sensible response. but the most sensible thing anyone can do right now is to get boosted. ministers have been given a stark warning by sage, the scientific advisory group on emergencies, that without further intervention, the scale of hospital admissions due to omicron would almost certainly lead to unsustainable pressure on the nhs. the scenarios for curbing omicron are an echo of lockdown controls from earlier this year, including closing indoor hospitality and limits on mixing of households.
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i think the longer we wait, the more problematic this is going to be. we have learned from previous experience, surely, that if we dither and delay, we get ourselves into more trouble. the problem here is, of course, we don't fully understand the implications of the omicron pandemic and infection in this country, in terms of severe disease. and that is the dilemma for ministers — do they wait until the threat from omicron becomes clear and hope to avoid lockdown measures, or act now as a precaution and risk the wrath of many in their own party and beyond westminster? fergus walsh, bbc news. some breaking news. the uk government has announced who is going to replace lord frost as the brexit negotiator, the minister who negotiates on behalf of the united kingdom with the eu. and it is going to be the foreign secretary, liz
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truss. our political correspondence damian grammaticas is here. she's going to be busy. she's already responsible for foreign policy and trips abroad and now she has the northern ireland protocol to focus on. , ~�* northern ireland protocol to focus on. , w ., on. exactly, you're right. we've had the news from _ on. exactly, you're right. we've had the news from downing _ on. exactly, you're right. we've had the news from downing street - on. exactly, you're right. we've had the news from downing street in i the news from downing street in literally the last few minutes. this was quite a big decision from boris johnson, quite a big dilemma, what would he do to replace lord frost? he created the role for lord frost and took it out of the foreign office and put lord frost in charge of relations with the eu, negotiating brexit, dealing with the ongoing negotiations. now, his dilemma that he had... lord frost has been a very competent negotiator. that had gone down very well with brexit supporters in the tory party. it led to a tense relationship with brussels. boris johnson's choice, would he go for someone similar who would reassure many in the party or go for someone who might be taking a softer
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approach, maybe a smoother relationship. now he is sending a signal, moving it back in the foreign office, to liz truss. she was a remainer but now a strong brexit supporter, an advocate of britain's global role. this will be seen as a reassuring message amongst the backbenchers, that liz truss is taking the role. she shared some of the outlook that lord frost wanted, wanting to seize opportunities from brexit. she has spoken about similar things. the key question is how this works with the relationship with brussels. others say that this is such a complicated set of negotiations, stretching across so many government departments, dealing with brexit, it was moved out because it deals with all of them and it is more thanjust because it deals with all of them and it is more than just the because it deals with all of them and it is more thanjust the foreign office. and it is more than “ust the foreign office. ~ ., , and it is more than “ust the foreign office. ~ . , , ., and it is more than “ust the foreign amt the i office. what is the priority? the first issue _ office. what is the priority? the first issue of _ office. what is the priority? the first issue of course _ office. what is the priority? the first issue of course is _ office. what is the priority? the first issue of course is the - office. what is the priority? the first issue of course is the fact l first issue of course is the fact that the government and lord frost have been looking to renegotiate
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elements of the deal that they signed and lord frost did. he wanted to change that. that led to tension with brussels who said that it was an international treaty. the eu have always said that if there were problems with the implementation for northern ireland, the eu was prepared to offer flexibility. that process has been talked about. there's still that big issue of what to do. the uk government view, is it that there should be changes in relation to northern ireland, and the eu view is that they want to offer flexibility on the ground, not rewriting things, especially over the european court ofjustice and its role. the government has softened a bit on that, just before lord frost resigned. liz truss will have to pick up those issues and then deal with the ongoing implementation of the deal we have and how to make it work. lord frost
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has given as his reason for resigning _ has given as his reason for resigning matters to deal with covid and how the uk government is addressing that rather than anything to do with his role as brexit minister. to do with his role as brexit minister-— to do with his role as brexit minister. yes, he said in his letter, minister. yes, he said in his letter. you're _ minister. yes, he said in his letter, you're absolutely - minister. yes, he said in his i letter, you're absolutely right, minister. yes, he said in his - letter, you're absolutely right, he disagreed with the direction, to do with covid policy, mandatory covid policies and his tax on spending. he wanted low tax and spend. we've had this movement where lord frost was pushing for renegotiation, saying that the ecj was unacceptable for the uk and northern ireland arrangements. the prime minister softened on that this week saying that the uk could live with some role for the ecj. lord frost has resigned. not saying it is connected to that but we still have all the issues tangled up and there is a poor state of relations with you countries and the eu given the tensions over the brexit deal and the renegotiation that's been going on. . ~' the renegotiation that's been going
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on. ., ~ , t, let's return to covid. the netherlands has embarked on a month—long lockdown, in response to an expected surge in cases of omicron, the first european country to introduce stringent measures in response to the new variant. nonessentialshops, bars, gyms, hairdressers and other public venues will be closed until at least mid—january , as our correspondent anna holligan reports from the hague. silent high streets... a wholly locked down society. last christmas, the dutch thought covid would be under control by now. instead, the netherlands has become the first country in europe to lockdown in response to the highly contagious omicron variant. now, it feels like it's starting all over again, to be isolated and, yeah... it feels really bad. we're used to going to the cafe, to a bar and with this lockdown, it's impacted me a bit. so, yeah, it's going to be difficult.
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so, tomorrow i'm working just to throw away a lot i of fresh food, lots of... basically, everything - that we can't sell any more. so that's...uh... the dutch prime minister said the lockdown was an unavoidable response to the omicron variant, but the government's critics argue this covid crisis is partly of their own making. the slow response to the delta strain and the slow roll—out of the booster vaccination programme have meant that hospitals have no extra room to deal with an impending surge of omicron cases. across the border, germany is battening down the hatches. from this evening, most travellers from britain will be banned from entering the country in an effort to stall the spread of omicron. german nationals and residents will still be allowed to arrive from the uk.
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they must have a negative test and quarantine for two weeks. france has already introduced similar restrictions, as infections in britain swell. for many people this christmas, coming together will be harder and riskier than anyone would have wished. anna holligan, bbc news, in the hague. denmark is closing cinemas, museums and other public venues in an attempt to curb covid cases driven by omicron. our correspondent adrienne murray is in copenahgen. i'm stood outside tivoli, that's an historic amusement park here in central copenhagen. just yesterday it was teeming with families here to see the christmas lights. as you can see, today the gates are firmly shut because denmark has put in a slew of coronavirus restrictions. theatres, cinemas and concert halls are going to be closed for the next month. that's because denmark is seeing a very steep spike in coronavirus cases.
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this past week there's been a new record, on an almost daily basis. the main variant here is still delta but authorities are particularly concerned and the rapid spread of omicron. that was first detected here in denmark in late november and by friday it already made up one fifth of all new cases. by next week authorities think it maybe the dominant variant. there's still a lot of uncertainty about how omicron will play out. forecasts for the impact on hospitalisation really vary quite widely, but 80% of the population over the age of five here in denmark are double vaccinated, so there's a rush to roll out that third jab. there's also disappointment about the new restrictions in denmark. it's only three months ago that the country lifted the last of its coronavirus curbs. the government declared it was no longer a critical threat to society. people thought we were seeing light
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at the end of the tunnel. it goes to show that here we are in december and the country is facing a very different situation once again. there have been protests around europe against more covid measures. hundreds of demonstrators gathered in barcelona and bilbao in spain to protest against covid—i9 passes that are now required to enter bars, restaurants, gyms and care homes. with a nationwide vaccination rate of nearly 80%, spain has been largely spared the latest wave sweeping across europe. elsewhere in europe, hundreds gathered in the italian city of turin against the extension of a covid—i9 state of emergency, which runs to the end of march next year, and the so—called green pass certificate. protests have also been taking place in belgium against further coronavirus restrictions. this was the scene in brussels a short time ago. cases of the omicron variant have been increasing in belgium but there aren't plans to go
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into a full lockdown. here in the uk, the health secretary, sajid javid, says covid restrictions are being "kept under review" and further measures can't be ruled out before christmas. there have been reports some scientists advising the government want a "circuit breaker" lockdown. for more on this, i'm joined by professor stephen reicher, who is a professor of psychology at the university of st andrews. stephen is also is a member of the sage subcommittee advising on behavioural science here in the uk. . thanks forjoining us. how likely is it do you think that the uk will see greater restrictions introduced and imposed before christmas rather than immediately after it? i and imposed before christmas rather than immediately after it?— than immediately after it? i can't sa , than immediately after it? i can't say. that's _ than immediately after it? i can't say. that's a _ than immediately after it? i can't say, that's a political— than immediately after it? i can't say, that's a political question i than immediately after it? i can't. say, that's a political question and i suspect there are big arguments going on in cabinet right now. while the arguments are going on i think
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there's a pretty clear scientific consensus that if we want to contain the virus, if we want to be in a position where both society and the nhs aren't in danger of being overwhelmed, we need to bring in more measures. but you say restrictions. i think one problem is that we've only framed this in terms of restrictions. certainly the simplest equation is that if you want to limit the spread of infection then you've got to limit the number of contacts we have. it's as simple as that. if you do that by, for instance, closing things, closing mass events, which the population want, the polls show that clearly, by closing night clubs and restaurant, it seems critical to combine it with support. what we need is a combination of protections and restrictions and support. in many ways i think that is better
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because if you say to people, it's up because if you say to people, it's up to you whether you go to a restaurant or not, it's not a good idea, it is a mixed message. it says it can't be that important because you're allowing us to do it. if people choose not to go to a restaurant, the business gets all of the pain but without the clarity of closure and the support that must come with it. i think the equation has to be, and this was very clear in terms of the arguments in scotland and wales, yes, we need restrictions but we need to combine that with the support necessary to sustain individuals and businesses through the coming period. i should have known — through the coming period. i should have known better _ through the coming period. i should have known better than _ through the coming period. i should have known better than to - through the coming period. i should have known better than to use - through the coming period. i should have known better than to use the l have known better than to use the word restriction! because you have gently pulled me up on it before and suggested that maybe we call them protections and if we'd done so from the beginning we might have a different attitude. so, how important is language, then, in terms of how we frame what might have to come next?— have to come next? messaging is im ortant have to come next? messaging is important but _ have to come next? messaging is important but it _ have to come next? messaging is
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important but it isn't _ have to come next? messaging is important but it isn't simply - have to come next? messaging is important but it isn't simply what| important but it isn't simply what you say, as we have discovered. for instance, we've seen the ambiguities caused by the fact that the government doesn't always do what it tells us to do, sends a powerful message. oragain, the danger tells us to do, sends a powerful message. or again, the danger is that if you say to people that something is essential but at the same time, you don't make it mandatory, you send a mixed message. we saw that actually rather early on in the pandemic with facemasks where, as it became clear that they were a protection, then the government began to urge us, saying it's important to wear facemasks and it's important to wear facemasks and it had a little bit of an effect on the percent of people wearing facemasks, which went from 20 up to 30%. but people thought it can't be that important because they are saying it is up to you if you want to. when it was made mandatory, within two weeks there was an extraordinary rise, to about 80%. let's not forget that policy is also
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messaging. a good, clear message is more important now than ever before, of how serious the crisis is. we are in a position now where the new variant of omicron is doubling in possibly less than two days. that means if you wait two days you have twice as big a problem and you have to do twice as much to bring things under control. so the urgency of the situation needs to be communicated with great, great clarity. what we found through the pandemic, the evidence is very clear indeed, that as people are aware of the risk, number one, they change their own behaviour and number two, they increasingly support measures being taken. so, good information from government combined with good support from the government. then i think people will accept measures that are necessary to bring this thing under control. how important is it that peeple _ thing under control. how important is it that people understand - thing under control. how important is it that people understand the - is it that people understand the data? you've mentioned that some of
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your colleagues inside have said that the omicron variant is doubling every two days and there is evidence of that from other parts of the world —— your colleagues in sage. but the figures we daily don't appear to show that the omicron variant is the dominant one. they don't appear to show that it is doubling every two days because there's a lag between when people get tested and people are shown to be positive. get tested and people are shown to be ositive. , get tested and people are shown to be positive-— be positive. yes, there are various factors. be positive. yes, there are various factors there _ be positive. yes, there are various factors. there is _ be positive. yes, there are various factors. there is a _ be positive. yes, there are various factors. there is a lag. _ be positive. yes, there are various factors. there is a lag. the - be positive. yes, there are various factors. there is a lag. the peoplej factors. there is a lag. the people being tested now are the people who might have been infected a week ago. the danger of that is that these infections are now baked in, they've happened, they will feed through the system and we will inevitably see increases whatever we do. but it makes it more important as time goes by that we slow things down. the other thing to be clear about is at the moment we have two pandemics. we have the delta pandemic which was chronically high in terms of infections. since the summer we've
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had about 40,000 infections a day and that hasn't gone away yet. that's staying pretty constant. while omicron is increasing rapidly. but overall, the figures are doubling because still there are many delta infections that aren't increasing. but there's no doubt that in terms of all the evidence gathering that's going on, that omicron is doubling and possibly the doubling rate is faster than we thought. we used to think it was two, three days and in some areas it seems to be as short as one and a half days. again what that says to you is that you don't have time to dither. this is thing coming at us like an express train. there is no evidence to suggest it is less serious and if we wait we could be in a real crisis. i wasjust looking at the early days of the pandemic and it was the 30th of january, 2020, at the beginning when the world health organization said very clearly, if you want to get on top
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of this pandemic, you go early and you go hard. with omicron that is more true than ever because it is doubling more quickly, coming at us more quickly and it becomes all the more quickly and it becomes all the more important that we go early. so as i say, everyday or two that the government does nothing, considers, debates, argues mo then we've got twice as many problems. we've got to do something very urgently and immediately to get on top of the spread of infection.— polls have closed in the first elections in hong kong since china increased its control over the territory. but voter turnout has been very low. only candidates approved by beijing could stand, leading to calls for a boycott of the poll. that decision has been criticised by foreign governments and activists. our correspondent danny vincent gave us this update from one of the counts. the authorities here pushed quite hard to try to encourage people to vote during this election.
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they were obviously concerned that the turnout maybe low and if it was low and it seems that it is low, we haven't got the final figures yet, it indicates that there's a lack of legitimacy in terms of the public support for these electoral reforms. the electoral reforms mean that only candidates that are vetted by beijing and seen as patriotic can stand in this election. controversially, many of the very popular and prominent pro—democracy candidates that have won seats in years gone by, many of them have been imprisoned and many of them have fled the city and the remainder decided essentially not to stand in this election at all. many didn't even put their names forward, even though they would have been vetted by beijing. so, many critics say this is another example of the erosion of the political rights that hong kong was granted.
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many people say there's is no longer an election. it's more of a selection process and regardless of who wins, really, it's the establishment, the pro—beijing side that will be victorious. there have been reports in the last couple of hours of sundanese authorities firing heavy teargas at protesters outside the presidential palace in the capital khartoum. hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets around the country to denounce the military and mark the third anniversary of protests that led to the overthrow of omar al—bashir. since a coup in october there have been renewed calls for an entirely civilian political leadership. our africa regional editor, will ross, says the numbers of people on the streets represent the strength of feeling in the country. this shows how well
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organised the protest are. there are these resistance committees that are basically set up in the neighbourhoods and they've rallied people to go out. there's clearly a huge amount of support for this call from the military to basically get out of politics and get back in the barracks. so, what the protesters did today, they arrived in the city of khartoum from areas outside and converged, many of them, outside the presidential palace and that's where lieutenant general al—burhan, the man who carried out october's coup is based. they were there sending the message that they've had enough of the military interfering in the country's political scene. there was, as you say, quite a lot of tear gas fired. protesters kept coming back to the site and even now, as darkness has fallen already, there are still people out on the streets. smaller numbers now than the hundreds of thousands that were out there earlier, but the people who are there are certainly still in a defiant
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mood and still charting antimilitary slogans and seem determined to carry the protests on. to chile now — people are heading to the polls to vote for a new president in what is the most polarised run—off since the end of military rule over 30 years ago. there are two candidates. here is the former student protest leader gabriel boric casting his vote. the other candidate is far—right lawyerjose antonio kast, who's been likened to donald trump. the country has traditionally been viewed as the region's most stable economy, but it's seen widespread protests in the past two years. president biden's flagship piece of legislation, known as build back better, looks in deep trouble after a key senatorfrom his own democratic party said he wouldn't support it.
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senatorjoe manchin, who represents the conservative state of west virginia, told fox news he'd tried to reach an compromise on the multi billion dollar bill. the finely balanced composition of the senate means president biden cannot afford to lose a single democratic vote. hello. the only difference was elevation. one is nearly a kilometre higher in the atmosphere and the is sinking through the atmosphere and as it happens it warms up. this layer of warm air, the sunny conditions, pretty widespread across upland areas of the country whereas lower down, we are stuck under a lot of cloud and mist and that's what many of us have experienced day—to—day. overnight tonight, we'll keep those
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conditions. clearer skies across parts of scotland where it will turn cold. some deeper values may get down to —8. with the cloud elsewhere in most parts, frost free but it maybe misty and foggy for some as we start monday morning. monday come on the face of it a cloudy day but the cloud in eastern scotland and eastern areas of ingot will be more prone to breaking so it may turn out to be a brighter day somewhat. temperatures similar to the weekend, typically around six or 7 degrees. and a quiet spell of weather continuing into tuesday and wednesday with variable cloud, some sunny spells and some mist and fog patches. after that, later in the week of the weather gets really interesting because the jet stream is going to split. one branch going up is going to split. one branch going up over the north of greenland, which is pretty unusual and then coming back down towards scotland. another branch of the jet stream crossing the atlantic and what we end up with later in the week is enormous temperature contrasts
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straddling the uk, with milder conditions to the south. that will bring potentially interesting weather our way later in the wake. across the north, some snow flurries from time to time. cold, dry weather and sunshine and in the south, cloud, with some rain, so quite grey and mild. in between a risk of something a bit more disruptive. the risk may well be there on thursday across the pennines. but the boundary between the cold and the mild is a little uncertain. it may move a bit over the next few days but it's worth staying in touch with the forecast. there maybe some issues as far as christmas travel plans go. hello. this is bbc news. the headlines: britain's foreign secretary liz truss will become the uk's lead
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negotiator with the european union following the resignation of brexit minister lord frost. the uk health secretary refuses to rule out tighter covid restrictions before christmas in response to the rapid spread of the omicron variant. he says it is time to be cautious about social interactions. the netherlands goes into a tough new lockdown over christmas amid concerns over the omicron variant. votes are being tallied in hong kong, in an election where candidates could only stand if they proved their loyalty to the chinese communist party. sudan authorities have fired tear gas at protestors as pro—democracy marches continue outside the presidential palace in the capital, khartoum. richard rogers, the architect behind london's millenium dome and the pompidou centre in paris, has died at the age of 88. richard rogers, one
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of the leading architects of his generation, has died. he was 88. he created some of the most talked about buildings of the last 50 years, including the pompidou centre in paris, with its facade of pipes and ducts and the equally startling lloyds building in london. more recently he was behind heathrow�*s terminal 5 and the millenium dome. our arts correspondent david sillito has been speaking to the leading british architect norman foster who has paid tribute to richard rogers. my my oldest and closest friend, collaborator, architect, humanist, extraordinary individual. for people who have may be only seen one or two of his buildings, what was it that he brought that was different from all the other thousands of architects? his own very personal _ thousands of architects? his own very personal signature - thousands of architects? his own very personal signature of - very personal signature of architecture,

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