this is bbc news, these are 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. a critical incident is declared at hospitals in lincolnshire because of covid—related staff shortages. scotrail makes changes to its timetable from tomorrow because hundreds of staff are self—isolating. chaperones escort children to school in parts of the west midlands with high levels of crime. and in half an hour, david shukman looks back on nearly two decades of reporting on climate
and the environment. good morning. good morning. the education secretary nadhim zahawi has sought to reassure parents that the government's priority is to keep schools open. speaking this morning, he said a variety of mechanisms are being put in place for pupils — as well as masks — including onsite testing, more ventilation and the potential for merging classes. and mr zahawi said he doesn't want students to wear masks in the classroom for a day longer than necessary. his comments come just 2a hours after new guidance was issued for secondary school pupils to return to face coverings in england's schools again. jon donnison reports. 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. if 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 labour's shadow education secretary, bridget phillipson. thank you forjoining us. the education secretary said they are doing everything they can to keep schools, that is the priority so there will be masks, testing on—site schools go back properly and more ventilation, and a potentialfor merging classes. as the government on the right track?— on the right track? well, i think it is essential _ on the right track? well, i think it is essential we _ on the right track? well, i think it is essential we see _ on the right track? well, i think it is essential we see children - on the right track? well, i think it is essential we see children backl on the right track? well, i think it. is essential we see children back in the classroom learning together, playing together, they've lost much time during the pandemic so it is absolutely vital but really the government are failing to take the action that we think is needed to reduce transmission and keep children in the classroom so for
example on ventilation, we've known now for 18 months that it would be essential to make sure classrooms are properly ventilated yet always seen from the government are 7000 devices to be rolled out across hundreds of thousands of classrooms across england, it is not good enough and on vaccination, again, the government have not used christmas to make sure young people are eligible get that vaccine again so we can keep transmission down and keep children learning in the classroom. keep children learning in the classroom-— keep children learning in the classroom. ., ., ., ., keep children learning in the classroom. ., ., ., classroom. what would you want to be ha enin: classroom. what would you want to be happening on — classroom. what would you want to be happening on vaccine? _ classroom. what would you want to be happening on vaccine? the _ classroom. what would you want to be happening on vaccine? the roll-out i happening on vaccine? the roll—out for over 12 rural did not actually happen until september and there is a 12 week gap that is required for first dose and second so what could have been done differ recently? —— for over 12s. have been done differ recently? -- for over12s-— have been done differ recently? -- for over 12s. for over12s. should have been more action around _ for over12s. should have been more action around walk-in _ for over12s. should have been more action around walk-in clinics - action around walk—in clinics to make it as easy as possible for parents and children to get the
vaccine but we need to do a lot more to tackle this information —— misinformation that is around and people who hang around schools peddling misinformation to children and parents. so we have to ramp up methods around the vaccine addressing what can be achieved with the booster, where there is political will to do it. let's make sure children are absolutely central to our thinking when it comes to the pandemic. they'vejust to our thinking when it comes to the pandemic. they've just been an afterthought so often with this government and we need to do a lot more to put children first and keep them in the classrooms and that does mean ventilation, vaccination, but also testing. we need to make sure parents are able to access test so they can test twice weekly and make sure children are in school. 0bviously with something like ventilation, there has been a study that has been undertaken to assess how well it works in schools, well the equipment works in schools and as you say the government is rolling
out 7000 ventilation units across schools. that is kind of a longer term issue. in terms of where we are now, what is the priority for you? known for 18 months that ventilation is absently essential, sage said that back in the summer of 2020 so this is not new for the government, they've just completely failed to do any proper planning around this and obviously they have belatedly now recognised that they need to do something and what 7000 purifiers across hundreds of thousands of classrooms in england, itjust is not good enough and they clearly recognise there is need to take action for so many schools and so many head teachers, the answer has to been open windows and keep children in learning but we are in the middle of winter your, it is january, i don't think it is an adequate solutionjust january, i don't think it is an adequate solution just to tell children they should keep their coats on and open the windows when we've known for months... serra; coats on and open the windows when we've known for months. . ._ we've known for months... sorry to interru -t we've known for months... sorry to interrunt you. _ we've known for months... sorry to interruot you. you _ we've known for months... sorry to interrupt you, you made _ we've known for months... sorry to interrupt you, you made it - we've known for months. .. sorry to interrupt you, you made it clear- interrupt you, you made it clear
that you are... ventilation as it stands and kids go back in a you day so what is the answer?— so what is the answer? there are still time for _ so what is the answer? there are still time for the _ so what is the answer? there are still time for the government - so what is the answer? there are still time for the government to i so what is the answer? there are l still time for the government to act on ventilation, to publish the pilot and roll—out proper ventilation around schools but we need to see a redoubled effort on the vaccination programme with too many children are not able to access the vaccine that they are entitled to but also on testing, testing will be absolutely vital if we are to keep children learning in the classroom and there have been big issues around supply of test, parents will want to make sure they can get those test and test their children for the return of school but this is just all so last minute from the government and we have known that children will be returning, we knew when the date of the school term would be but again and again, they arejust the school term would be but again and again, they are just caught as if by surprise and it's not good enough, it is letting down children and families.— enough, it is letting down children and families. thank you for “oining us. hospitals remain under pressure, as cases rise, and staff go sick, or into isolation.
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, which was resulting in compromised care. in a statement, the trusts medical director said that 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 he's been speaking to hospital bosses, who are warning of severe staff shortages. there are three things going on at once, we are seeing rising numbers of patients, staff absences as well which in some clusters causing a
real problem on the third but of course as this is against the backdrop of a very, very busy nhs and social care system where we have got a very busy urgent and emergency pathway, so they cannot delay it any longer, and the same time extended booster campaign and catty people who have not been with the jet you ought to be boosted and at the same time, we know the social care colleagues are under real pressure over the last few weeks because they've got big staff absences but they've got big staff absences but they are also seeing outbreaks of 0micron in care homes which means the care homes are closed to new residents out as a concerning picture. professor clive kay is the chief executive of kings college hospital london. thanks forjoining us, what is the situation is your hospital in terms of staff absence?— situation is your hospital in terms of staff absence? well, 'ust as we heard there. i of staff absence? well, 'ust as we heard there, we h of staff absence? well, 'ust as we heard there, we are _ of staff absence? well, just as we heard there, we are struggling - of staff absence? well, just as we | heard there, we are struggling with staff absence due to covid in
particular and the numbers have settled a little around christmas time we were around 700 or so covid related absences which is both staff who were symptomatic, had covid itself, over household contacts. sorry to interrupt, 700, what proportion is that of the total number? ~ ., proportion is that of the total number? ~ . ' :: :: :: proportion is that of the total number? ~ . ' 11:11: , proportion is that of the total number? . ' 11:11: , , number? we have 14,000 staff but the ke thin is number? we have 14,000 staff but the key thing is it — number? we have 14,000 staff but the key thing is it depends _ number? we have 14,000 staff but the key thing is it depends on _ number? we have 14,000 staff but the key thing is it depends on the - key thing is it depends on the groups of staff involved and if there are a few staff in certain groups affected at certain services, that does become really quite challenging for us to have to manage those services and move staff around, so although the numbers appear not to be huge, nonetheless, the speed of which staff are having to go off because 0micron is transmissible is severe. ﬁnd to go off because omicron is transmissible is severe. and you were going _ transmissible is severe. and you were going to — transmissible is severe. and you were going to go _ transmissible is severe. and you were going to go into _ transmissible is severe. and you were going to go into what - transmissible is severe. and you were going to go into what the l were going to go into what the situation is now before i interrupted. you might guess, the reduction in the quarantine period, from ten to seven with a negative lateral flow has made a
from ten to seven with a negative lateralflow has made a big difference a rewrite 500 or so staff who are off in relation to covid and there are staff of in relation to non—covid sickness as well so there are straight millie bright still a great challenge, on a daily basis, managers have tojuggle great challenge, on a daily basis, managers have to juggle the rotors and rosters, and move staff around to make sure we can care for patients and patients are safe, and thatis patients and patients are safe, and that is quite a challenge. what is the latest in the hospital in terms of numbers of covid patients in numbers in intensive care? we've been really _ numbers in intensive care? we've been really quite _ numbers in intensive care? we've been really quite busy _ numbers in intensive care? we've been really quite busy here - numbers in intensive care? we've been really quite busy here at - numbers in intensive care? we've l been really quite busy here at kings and we are up tojust been really quite busy here at kings and we are up to just over 360 patients now who have a covid... as inpatients. and that, 10% of those are all intensive care units which is quite in terms different of the intensive care requirements where we had many more patients overall requiring critical care but nonetheless, we have quite sick patients in the hospitals that we
run and in particular in intensive care unit and that is quite often linked to the patients being unvaccinated.— linked to the patients being unvaccinated. , ., ., ,., ., unvaccinated. tells more about that because i think _ unvaccinated. tells more about that because i think this _ unvaccinated. tells more about that because i think this that _ unvaccinated. tells more about that because i think this that we - unvaccinated. tells more about that because i think this that we saw - unvaccinated. tells more about that| because i think this that we saw was opportune 90% of those patients in intensive care at kings are unvaccinated.— intensive care at kings are unvaccinated. , . . ,~ ., , unvaccinated. yes, clearly changes from day to — unvaccinated. yes, clearly changes from day to day — unvaccinated. yes, clearly changes from day to day but _ unvaccinated. yes, clearly changes from day to day but it _ unvaccinated. yes, clearly changes from day to day but it is _ unvaccinated. yes, clearly changes from day to day but it is certainly l from day to day but it is certainly true and old indications here at kings that unvaccinated patients seem to have much more severe covid unvaccinated patients and a certain majority of those patients are in intensive care units and they are unvaccinated, sojust intensive care units and they are unvaccinated, so just to intensive care units and they are unvaccinated, sojust to reiterate what was said by the previous speaker, we really would like to just push again the importance of the public getting our vaccines, when you're due a booster, absolutely get a booster because it makes a massive difference as we are seeing in here. i’zre
makes a massive difference as we are seeing in here-— seeing in here. i've seen comments from some — seeing in here. i've seen comments from some who _ seeing in here. i've seen comments from some who are _ seeing in here. i've seen comments from some who are treating - from some who are treating critically ill covid patients saying they will treat everybody but there is an element of frustration for the fact that there is a vaccine out there and the fact it is not being done and having the impact. just to be reall , done and having the impact. just to be really. really _ done and having the impact. just to be really, really clear, _ done and having the impact. just to be really, really clear, we - done and having the impact. just to be really, really clear, we treat - be really, really clear, we treat every patient the same, vaccinated or unvaccinated, the vaccination makes no difference to how we treat people but it can be upsetting for staff, i spoke to staff who can find the treating unvaccinated patients while seriously unwell, they find it upsetting if a patient says in particular that they wish they knew how it would be and got the vaccine but we are not here to judge, we are here to treat and we will treat whoever comes in and requires care and attention but absolutely, if there is one message i can drive home, it is please, if you're not
vaccinated, get vaccinated and if you're not worsted, get your booster. ., ., you're not worsted, get your booster. ., ,, , ., sport and for a full round up, from the bbc sport centre, here's chetan. thank you. good morning. liverpool defender virgil van dijk says the league as manchester city's to lose after his club drew with chelsea 2—2. all the goals came in the first half with liverpool going 2—0 up through sadio mane and mo salah. but thomas tuchel�*s side fought back and matteo kovacic pulled one back with one of the goals of the season, before christian pulisic made it 2—2. chelsea are ten points behind city, liverpool 11 and romelu lukaku was left out of the chelsea squad for that game. it followed recent comments that were critical of manager thomas tuchel�*s tactics. tuchel is set to meet with lukaku later today. if the decision is he is good to go
for wednesday, that is the decision, if it is not, it is not but i cannot tell you right now because we need to talk and understand the situation better and from there we go and once the situation is clear, there was no doubt we will stay our player and we will protect our player. the january transfer window is open and the rumour mill is back up and running. at manchester united, edison cavani is out of contract at the end of this season and has been linked with barcelona and juventus. however, interim manager ralph rangnick says that the uruguyan striker is highly important to him and that united will definitely need him for the coming months. his professionalism, his work ethic isjust amazing and his professionalism, his work ethic is just amazing and i told his professionalism, his work ethic isjust amazing and i told him his professionalism, his work ethic is just amazing and i told him that i desperately want him to stay and stay until the end of the season, and he knows that, he also knows how highly i rate him and how highly i respect him.
england allrounder ben stokes has backed test skipperjoe root and told reporters in sydney that he has no ambition to take on the captaincy in the future. the fourth test starts tuesday evening uk time and there's been plenty of speculation over whether root will continue in the role after the current series. england are three nil down and have already lost the ashes. i will look at the future at the end of this tour. i don't think i can afford to throw any more energy into anything else than the games themselves right now. we want to get people back home something to shout about, to show how much we care about this team and test match cricket. how desperate we are to do well. and as i say, to win out here would be, these last two games would be a really big step forward from, especially off the back of the first three games. we want to give people back home something to shout about, to show how much we care about this team and how much we care about test cricket. how desperate we are to do well. and, as i say, to win out here,
these last two games, would be a really big step forward from, especially off the back of the first three games. i'll look at the future at the end of the tour. i don't think i can afford to throw any more energy into anything else than the games themselves right now. britain's four—time tour de france champion chris froome has suffered a "setback" in his preparations for the 2022 season. the former team ineos rider — now part of the israel start—up nation team — has been suffering with a damaged tendon in his knee injury. froome believes it's a result of "pushing too much" in pre—season training. he'll now take a week off the bike before a gradual return. peter wright will play michael smith in tonight's world darts championship final. wright beat two—time winner gary anderson 6—4 in a thrilling semi—final. the match was closer than the score suggested, with both playing high—quality darts. this will be wright's third final appearance smith beatjames wade by six sets to three in their semi—final. it's the second time smith has reached the final, which gets underway later at alexandra palace. that's all the sport for now. you can find more on all those stories on the bbc sport website. in some high—crime inner city areas, children are being helped to and from school by adult chaperones. it's based on a successful scheme in chicago and is being piloted
in the west midlands. the schools taking part have been chosen based on police intelligence, as our midlands correspondent phil mackie reports. now, guys, you can come through. towering above the children leaving the ark boulton academy in sparkhill in birmingham is callum dunn. all right, guys, do you want to come through? he works for mad, or make a difference, and he is one of a group of chaperones who keep students safe on their way into and out of school. the chaperones are in prominent places, so easily identifiable by students. they are on key routes home and also in areas that we know are hotspots. so they provide a refuge, so if there are students who feel they are at risk, feel they are vulnerable, they can see those chaperones. they are marked out — mad on theirjackets, and they can approach them and the chaperones can make sure they feel safe. this school is one of more than a dozen across the west midlands in each case, the children have to use routes to and from school
where drug dealing and gang crime are problems. thankfully, none of us has been involved in such violence across the streets, but we do know that there are people out there, there are the dangers of the world out there and you want to be protected in such situations. so the fact that these chaperones are out here now, it does make everybody feel ten times safer. i think that every student should get the chance to go home safely and not to worry about anything like that. it is more scary to go to a stranger and ask for help, so to know there are trained professionals there, that we know they are there to protect us and we can go to them. the walk to and from school can be perilous for teenagers in big cities. an 18—year—old was stabbed to death barely a mile from here a few weeks ago. this park is a couple of minutes away from the school so lots of people will congregate here and they might play football, or cricket in the summer. but it is also a potential
dangerous flashpoint, because there is a lot of criminal activity here — drug dealing, weapons have been stashed here, so that is why the chaperones come, notjust to act as a point of reassurance for the children who use this, but also as a deterrent to the criminal activity. we have found a machete into the ackers woods just up there. callum dunn's brought me to the park that he and the other chaperones patrol after school. it is known as the ackers and is right next to the ark boulton academy. when bad things happen, it's not often in the eyesight of the public. that is why green areas and big parks like this are often places where a lot of things will happen out of eyesight. callum says that because they spend so much time with the children, they get a sixth sense if something is wrong and can immediately detect if there is likely to be trouble. if it is a success, it is hoped the chaperones could become a more common sight elsewhere in and wales. 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. returning to coronavirus now, and the spread of 0micron and of self—isolation for contacts, are affecting staff levels across the economy. i spoke to matthew fell, chief policy director at the cbi, about how employers will cope. this is set to be one of the defining issues facing business as we head into the new year. we were hearing from the retail sector, for example, saying that covid related absences were rising by about 50% inside a week before the christmas break. it's hitting transport, delivery firms, manufacturing, widespread across the economy and this comes at a time when firms were already facing quite a cute skills and labour shortages so it's something of a double hit for them. i think, all that said, firms with much more prefer a situation where the economy is kept open and they are having to grapple with these challenges rather than enforced closures so what's important now as we get to a situation where we learn to live with the paris and we adapt
and put in place measures to help us do that. on that, the buzz phrase at the moment seems to be contingency planning but how much contingency planning is possible when businesses are completely dependent on a workforce that just aren't there? i think there are firstly a few things the government can do to help with this. top of the list would be testing, it absolutely must grip the supply issues facing testing, this is really critical for confidence and we get that behaviour ingrained so people test on a regular basis. second i would pick out the importance of focusing on economic enablers, things like transport, schools, and of course the nhs because without those functioning really well, the rest of the economy cannot prosper. and thirdly, i would say, we need to get to a situation where the government provides much more nuanced support to business, previously we had a situation it stepped in with brilliant
help when firms have been told to close by the government, and enforced closure. but we are now entering a period where demand is being hit by other measures, notjust because it's government—mandated closures, and the support needs to move hand—in—hand with that so there are a number of things the government can do to help along with continuing with a really high—class roll—out of vaccines, boosters and antivirals to help as well. you've said in your view businesses would rather be able to stay open and have to grapple with the challenges they are facing rather than see more restrictions. what would you say to the government on that, would you like to have a situation where there is no prospect of further lockdown? clearly, that is for the government and medical experts to take a view on. i think the message from business is let's use all of the tools at our disposal, all of the learnings from the last 18 months to two years to try our very best to keep the
economy open and threw everything at that end if that comes some of the measures that we learn to live with the virus and adapt to those, that is the preferred option from a business point of view. staff shortages has forced scotrail to make temporary changes to its timetable from tuesday. the rail operator has hundreds of staff isolating due to covid, resulting in scores of services being cancelled. the company said that to provide customers with a level of certainty about which trains are running, a temporary timetable would be in place until the 28th of january. the government has made it clear it doesn't see evidence in the data right now for additional coronavirus restrictions in england. 0ur political correspondent, chris mason, gave me this update. the latest from the government has been a consistent message of the past few days echoed this morning that they don't ministers, any
evidence in the data right now for a need for additional restrictions in england. this is beyond the conversation around what is happening in secondary schools in england in the coming days to the broader plan b measures that have beenin broader plan b measures that have been in place in england for the best part of a month. the restrictions as we know elsewhere in the uk are more significant but ministers at westminster are saying is that things stand they do not see any need to crank things up further and there was a review point which is happening on wednesday, which was set down when the health secretary sajid javid set out those plan b messages measures a couple of weeks ago now and at that point comes on wednesday as parliament returns ahead of the current measures due to expire to the tail end of this month unless of course they are renewed. crucially, the change in mask rules in english secondary schools can happen without a vote in the commons and any additional measures in england would require a vote in the commons and you will recall that borisjohnson encountered quite a
bit of headwind from his backbenchers as powers those measures were concerned in england —— mike as far as those measures were concerned. the latest iteration of that sense that there does not need to be further restrictions, the education secretary was in this very chair just a education secretary was in this very chairjust a couple of hours ago on bbc breakfast. that chairjust a couple of hours ago on bbc breakfast.— chairjust a couple of hours ago on bbc breakfast. �* ., bbc breakfast. at the moment, there is nothin: bbc breakfast. at the moment, there is nothing in — bbc breakfast. at the moment, there is nothing in the _ bbc breakfast. at the moment, there is nothing in the data _ bbc breakfast. at the moment, there is nothing in the data that _ bbc breakfast. at the moment, there is nothing in the data that gives - bbc breakfast. at the moment, there is nothing in the data that gives me i is nothing in the data that gives me any concern — is nothing in the data that gives me any concern that we need to go beyond — any concern that we need to go beyond where we are out but we are not complacent because we are seeingm — not complacent because we are seeing... london was the epicentre of the _ seeing... london was the epicentre of the omicron spike effectively and there _ of the omicron spike effectively and there is— of the omicron spike effectively and there is some really good data from london _ there is some really good data from london roll— there is some really good data from london roll the infection rates are plateauing and coming down but we are seeing _ plateauing and coming down but we are seeing leakage into the over 50s in terms _ are seeing leakage into the over 50s in terms of— are seeing leakage into the over 50s in terms of infection and it is generally— in terms of infection and it is generally the over 50s you end up with severe infection hospitalisation and the good news on that is—
hospitalisation and the good news on that is 90% of them have been now. we can— that is 90% of them have been now. we can expect to hear from the prime minister later today where we will be asked about those measures. nothing on the news conference or urine from the government scientist over the next few days. parliament returning on wednesday with the review happening then and all eyes as ever are on the data. you heard mr zaha we there referring to some evidence —— mac you heard mr mr zahawi there. london seems to the epicentre of the omicron pandemic and the wave, keeping an eye on that data will be no doubt absolutely central into whether england sees any additional restrictions in the coming weeks. let's get the weather with carol. happy new year. as we go through this week the weather is changing, it's going to change much colder and more unsettled. today we got this band
of rain across scotland and northern ireland. increasingly behind it as the cold air that cuts in, we'll see some wintry showers through the day, even at relatively modest levels. a few showers coming in on the brisk winds across england and wales. still mild here, and we also have some rain on and off across the english channel and coastal counties adjacent to it. now, through this evening and overnight as rain pushes southwards, the cold air comes in behind it, we'll see some snow showers on the hills, the pennines, the peak district, the lake district and north west wales. but some more substantial snow falling across scotland — with gale—force winds it could lead to some blizzards and drifting on higher ground, and that will be the case tomorrow as well. tomorrow, we lose the rain from the south—east. there will be a lot of dry weather but the winds picking up from the west and for all of us tomorrow it's going to feel much colder than today.
hello, this is bbc news with joanna gosling. 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. a critical incident is declared at hospitals in lincolnshire because of covid—related staff shortages. scotrail makes changes to its timetable from tomorrow because hundreds of staff are self—isolating.