this is bbc news. i'm ben boulos. our top stories: german leaders say covid jabs could become mandatory from february and have announced tough restrictions on the unvaccinated. south africa says the omicron variant is driving a sharp increase in covid infections there. officials say vaccinations are vital. the real problem here is not a lack of vaccines, it's the fact that younger people seem very reluctant to get a jab. the governing conservative party in the uk retains the parliamentary seat of old bexley and sidcup, but the by—election victory is with a greatly reduced majority. days before her successor is appointed, germany's angela merkel is given a ceremonial send—off
after 16 years in office. tech and taxis: as kidnappings in cabs continue to rise in the democratic republic of congo, we investigate a new customised safety app. just hit the qr code scanner, bring it up to the qr code, and in a few seconds, of the driver and the car and you're ready to ride. hello. welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. germany has announced major restrictions on anyone who's not vaccinated against covid—19, banning them from all—but—essential shops to try to fend off a fourth wave of the virus. and the chancellor,
angela merkel, says vaccines may become compulsory from february. cases of omicron have now been confirmed in 2a countries. here's our medical editor fergus walsh. red alert in germany. intensive care staff at this bavarian hospital lit the wards red to warn germans of the threat from covid amid its worst wave of infections so far. the government has announced a ban on the unvaccinated entering bars, restaurants and non—essential shops. translation: this is - the situation we are confronted with, and it's also clear what we need to achieve first. those who've not been vaccinated yet need to do so. and they could go further, with plans for vaccination to be made mandatory as early as february next year. germany's wave is being driven by the delta variant, but omicron is continuing to spread globally
with cases confirmed in more countries, including india and france. here, omicron and any future variants will be combated with yet more boosters, year after year if needed. all these jabs will be so—called mrna vaccines from pfizer and moderna. but the focus right now is getting this round of boosters in arms. the prime minister had his at the hospital that saved his life last year. third time lucky, here we go. st thomases, in london, where he was admitted to intensive care with covid. whatever omicron may or may not be able to do, it certainly will not negate the overall value of the booster, so everybody should get your booster as soon as you are called forward. pfizer, like the other vaccine makers,
is already working on an omicron—specific covid vaccine, which could be ready in three months. hello. welcome. in a rare interview, the boss of pfizer told me he thought regular boosters would be needed. if we have to make a guess, based on everything i have seen so far, i would say that likely it will be needed annual vaccinations to maintain very robust and very, very high level of protection. yes! in the united states, 5— to ii—year—olds are now being immunised against covid. therapy dogs providing a useful distraction. a decision on this age group in the uk may come before christmas. they'd receive a third of a standard dose. it all means bigger and bigger profits for pfizer. revenues from its vaccine will exceed £26 billion this year. what would you say to those who regard it as immoral
to cash in during a pandemic? i believe that we have saved the global economy trillions of dollars. i think it's a strong incentive for innovation for the next pandemic, that people will see that if they step up to the game to bring something that saves lives or saves money, there is also financial reward. meanwhile, the uk has approved a new antibody drug, which dramatically cuts the risk of severe illness. initial tests suggest it will work against omicron. it's notjust vaccines, but treatments which will end this pandemic. fergus walsh, bbc news. well, earlier, i spoke to saad omer, who is director of yale institute for global health. i asked if he agreed that we will need to accept having to take vaccine booster shots indefinitely. expert is sure is the pfizer
ceo, and people are looking at emerging data from a new variant, but also, i think there is a bit of uncertainty about the longevity of response after the third dose through brewster. i think there is some uncertainty around that —— booster. i wouldn't be so sure to start predicting that we will definitely need a booster every few months.— every few months. that has dealt with _ every few months. that has dealt with the _ every few months. that has dealt with the booster. - every few months. that has dealt with the booster. in i dealt with the booster. in terms of the immediate reaction to the omicron variant and the travel restrictions, to think thatis travel restrictions, to think that is the right way to go about things through mark well, no. �* , . no. and i say that with the understanding _ no. and i say that with the understanding of - no. and i say that with the understanding of the - no. and i say that with the - understanding of the evidence behind us, the work, the modelling work that has been done notjust around covid—i9, but even before that. and what we know from the evidence is that travel bands can work, but
in order for them to work, they have to be imposed really, really early, after the emergence of a new pathogen, so notjust emergence of a new pathogen, so not just discovery of a emergence of a new pathogen, so notjust discovery of a new variant the way it happened in southern africa, but they have to be so drastic as to shut down all travel into a country by 90, 90 5%. if you are down all travel into a country by 90,90 5%. if you are a relatively small country like israel and you can shut down all travel into your country, you have a chance of delaying the arrival of a new variant or antivirus. but the way these bans have been implemented selectively, and the operative word is the mandates targeting the region where it is some virus that is reported but it is not even certain that the virus variant is there. we already have a lot of countries where the virus is already there and the target doesn't
make sense.— there and the target doesn't make sense. the suggestions cominu make sense. the suggestions coming out — make sense. the suggestions coming out of _ make sense. the suggestions coming out of germany - make sense. the suggestions coming out of germany of - coming out of germany of mandatory vaccines as soon as severin and dear, banning people unvaccinated from that public spaces, it is a huge leap in terms of public health policy, isn't it? leap in terms of public health policy. isn't it?— policy, isn't it? well, if you look at it. _ policy, isn't it? well, if you look at it, they _ policy, isn't it? well, if you look at it, they are - policy, isn't it? well, if you look at it, they are not - look at it, they are not draconian. that is what we recommend based on work, vaccine mandates for school and other situations and we and other situations and we and other groups have done over decades. what they are saying is that it is not that someone is that it is not that someone is going to pick you up from your home and take you to a vaccination clinic and get you a jab, what they are saying that if you want to mingle in the society, if you want to take advantage of the social functions of society, then you have to do your part in being safe and keeping others say. so as long as these mandates are
focusing on getting people vaccinated and nudging them slowly to get vaccinated while not being too draconian, i think they have a justification and it could work. to the uk now, where the ruling conservative party has been facing a test of its popularity after allegations of sleaze. and just over an hour ago, the party won the parliamentary seat of old bexley and sidcup in the south—east of london and retains its hold on the borough, but with a much reduced majority. the by—election had been held after the death of the former cabinet minister, james brokenshire. this our political correspondent, matt cole, has been at the declaration in bexleyheath. he says the conservatives will be triumphant, but also relieved. 11,189 votes to the winning candidate. contrast that to james brokenshire, the former mp who passed away from cancer two months ago. when he won this seat back in 2019, he had just shy of 30,000 votes. almost three times the number.
labour's vote down too to 6,711. compare that to just over 10,500 last time round. so votes all around down. the turnoutjust 34% compared with just shy of 70% last time. so, fewer than half the numbers of voters out this time. so, the conservatives very much pointing to the weather to being the time of year, people feeling it's a safe seat, not needing to come out because is not a general election. opposition parties, though, labour and the reform party which have been the brexit party previously, changed its name, rebranded, nigel farage used to be the head man there. their candidate came third here. they and labour both say this is a rejection of borisjohnson. that is why the numbers have gone down, they say. they say the claims of corruption around the government of sleeves, recent claims of christmas taking place
at downing street while covid—19 restrictions were in place last christmas. they say all of those factors at play here and this is a rejection of borisjohnson and so they're trying to talk up their loss as a positive just so the conservatives were claiming this is a good win. angela merkel has attended a ceremony in berlin — a rite of passage for german leaders since the late �*90s — to mark the end of a chancellor's tenure. it follows her many years dominating german politics as mark lobel reports. it's a ceremony dating back to the 16th century. here, the military tattoo capping off 16 years of angela merkel�*s leadership. the firm and pragmatic leader who often held her cards close to her chest, reflected on her time as chancellor. translation: it has been demanding and political. in human terms. but at the same time, they have often been fulfilling. the last two years of the pandemic in particular have shown, like a magnifying glass,
the importance of trust in politics and science, as well as in social discourse. but also the fragility of that trust. she also stressed the importance of protecting democracy as she spoke in the courtyard of berlin's defence ministry. translation: it lives - on the balance of interests and mutual respect. it lives on solidarity and trust. and trust in the facts. and wherever scientific knowledge is denied and conspiracy theories and incitement to hatred are widespread, we must express contradiction. but there was something of an unexpected personal moment too, reflecting mrs merkel�*s good sense of humour, which came with one of the song choices from the pastor's daughter for the event. not the 18th century christian hymn... ..or the actress
hildegard knef�*s wistful song talking about teenage ambition, but... ..this one. punk legend nina hagen's 1974 hit in which a girlfriend scolds a boyfriend for using black—and—white, not colour camera film on holiday. interpreted as a criticism of the grey days in the former communist east germany where merkel grew up. the door officially closes on angela merkel�*s time next week when power transfers to the head of a rival party, the social democrat, olaf scholz. when a new chapter in german and possibly european politics begins amid a growing covid crisis in the country. mark lobel, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: we meet the designers of a new safety app helping to combat
the rise in taxi kidnappings in the democratic republic of congo. it's quite clear that the worst victims of this disaster are the poor people living in the slums which have sprung up around the factory. i am feeling so helpless that the childrens are dying in front of me and i can't do anything. charles manson - is the mystical leader of the hippie cult suspected of killing sharon tate - and at least six other. people in los angeles. at 11:00 this morning, just half a metre of rock separated britain from continental europe. it took the drills just a few moments to cut through the final obstacle. then philippe cozette, a minerfrom calais,
was shaking hands and exchanging flags with robert fagg, his opposite numberfrom dover. this is bbc world news. the latest headlines: german leaders say covid jabs could become mandatory from february and have announced tough restrictions on the unvaccinated. south africa, which recorded some of the earliest instances of the omicron variant, is seeing a major increase in cases. over the last week, the daily number of new covid infections has increased fourfold, from less than 3,000 to more than 11,500 — three quarters of which are omicron. so far hospital admissions remain low and symptoms of the new variant are reported to be mild. but early figures suggest an increase in the number of people who've had the virus becoming reinfected. our africa correspondent andrew harding has more.
it's summer time here in south africa, but a shadow looms over the beaches and holiday season. a fourth wave of covid infections is spreading fast, driven by the new variant. are you worried about this new variant, omicron? the new one, i am worried. i'm worried. we don't know what the new variant's like. what the symptoms are, i how bad the symptoms are. how it could affect us now and it makes you really scared. at their laboratory here in durban the scientists who first identified the omicron variant are racing to unlock its secrets, and now the first hints are emerging of what the mutations on the virus mean. i think the epidemiological evidence is that we think you're more likely to get reinfected if you've had covid before, so that is because of the mutations on the spike protein.
we don't know much about transmissibility but i think looking at the mutational formation we think it may be more transmissible than even delta. in terms of clinical problems, we have no evidence that this is a more severe virus than let's say delta, alpha, or even beta. that bears repeating. although hospital admissions are rising sharply here, it won't be at all clear at least for another week or two whether the omicron variant is more severe, more dangerous. in the meantime, above all in rural south africa, another problem lurks — vaccine hesitancy. this builder tells a visiting health worker that he won't get a jab even with the new wave of infections. do you find it frustrating, people saying no? it is frustrating because we believe that if all of us have already had vaccinated, we will be safe.
as this virus spreads fast now across south africa the real problem here is not a lack of vaccines, it's the fact that younger people seem very reluctant to get a jab, which is where these activists come in. trying to persuade the public in a country where so far only a third of adults are fully vaccinated. the guys said they would like to get their vaccination after we had a talk. success. that's a success and we thank them by clapping hands. one small victory, but south africa has a fight on its hands. andrew harding, bbc news, durban. the us has reinstated a controversial trump—era migration policy on the orders of the supreme court. the remain in mexico programme orders asylum—seekers to stay on mexican territory while they wait for their applications to be processed.
allen morris is legislative affairs associate with the non—profit agency the refugee and immigrant center for education and legal services, better known as raices texas. he explained the legal problem the president is dealing with. there is an appeal that is set in place now where he is actively fighting in court and one thing we have to be cognisant of is that the president had plenty of time to foresee what was going to happen and even the secretary he says himself that this is not a humane policy and there is no humane way to even implement it. and with the previous administration they went the legal rout to ensure that this policy would stick and unfortunately president biden, he did run on promises of ensuring a humane asylum system and he is not keeping that promise.—
system and he is not keeping that promise. you were invited to the white — that promise. you were invited to the white house _ that promise. you were invited to the white house to - that promise. you were invited to the white house to discuss l to the white house to discuss this issue. to the white house to discuss this issue-— to the white house to discuss this issue. . . ., ,, . this issue. what happened? we went to the _ this issue. what happened? we went to the white _ this issue. what happened? we went to the white house - this issue. what happened? we went to the white house to - went to the white house to discuss several issues and this one was one of them. one thing thatis one was one of them. one thing that is very clear is that the white house, they definitely knew that this was something that would happen and that means they had time to do their due diligence and to make sure that this policy was not going to remain in an area of stay where it will not compromise the lives of asylum seekers and they did not do what was required to ensure that this policy and there are safeguards for people still in mexico. $5 for people still in mexico. as i understand it, there is some improvement for the situation for those seeking asylum but must remain in mexico in that the procedure will be sped up so they will not be left with uncertainty for as long as they
were previously.— were previously. yes. that's what we _ were previously. yes. that's what we know, _ were previously. yes. that's what we know, just - were previously. yes. that's what we know, just based i were previously. yes. that's| what we know, just based on information that has been provided to us by reporters. there is supposed to be some sort of level where there are more safeguards but one thing that must be very clear is that we are allowing people who are due a legal right to apply for asylum, they come to the border and are being turned around and now they are basically being put back into a system with the same issues that they are fleeing in their home country and that is something that is heartbreaking and disheartening for us as an organisation that is on the ground and dealing with these clients every day, we see it so much for clearly then i believe the administration is seeing it. in kinshasa, the capital
of the democratic republic of congo, taxis are a popular but dangerous way to get around — with as many as five kidnappings a week, and women particularly vulnerable. victoria rubadiri reports. she reports on a technology solution invented by two women that could be developed to other cities. kinshasa, one of africa's mega—cities, is built on the banks of the congo river. it has an estimated population of 15 million people. everybody is on the move but the transport system cannot cope. unless you have your own set of wheels, the only way to get around is in one of these taxis. but after sunset you run the risk of getting kidnapped — and that's been happening here up to five times a week. translation: this route is where they usually carry
out their operations. sara was taken while on her way home from work. translation: someone came from the back of the car. - he grabbed me and said, don't move or you will die. not every kidnapping ends in a ransom demand. translation: they took the bag like this. - in some cases passengers are stripped of their valuables and dumped in a dangerous part of the city. after deciding not to kill her, the kidnappers left sara here. it's the first time she's been back at night. translation: i really don't like this place. l it reminds me of what happened here on that day. that image is still so fresh in my mind. whenever i'm in a taxi or a bus and i see the driver turn in this direction,
i get flashbacks to that night. sara's kidnapping happened a year ago. at the same time two entrepreneurs launched an app called hoja. it's a growing database of drivers and their vehicles. when i heard that people are getting kidnapped, even one of my cousins gets kidnapped in a taxi, iwas, like, "ok, i have a mission. how can we find a solution and bring safe, sustainable, affordable mobility to the population?" the app also had to be very user—friendly so that people could actually use the icons even when they couldn't read. right, so this is how it works — pretty simple. open up the app on my phone, just hit the qr code scanner, bring it up to the qr code, and in a few seconds up comes a picture of the driver and the car, and you're ready to ride — that's it.
transport officials told us that in kinshasa kidnappings are now down from five a week to just five in the last ten months, and nearly a third of the city's 60,000 taxi drivers have signed up. it is good for business because we know— it is good for business because we know at the end of the day that _ we know at the end of the day that your _ we know at the end of the day that your car or your taxi is safe — that your car or your taxi is safe and _ that your car or your taxi is safe and gives the passengers are safe — safe and gives the passengers are safe as well. now the overall_ are safe as well. now the overall success means there is the possibility of launching the possibility of launching the app in other african cities _ the app in other african cities. ., , cities. untilthen, thousands of passengers _ cities. untilthen, thousands of passengers still _ cities. untilthen, thousands of passengers still face - cities. untilthen, thousands of passengers still face a - of passengers still face a terrifying daily commute. you can find more on the stories we have covered many others as well online whenever you want. just go to bbc .com slash news and you can also find them on our news app. you can reach me on the team on
social media. this is bbc news and thank you for watching. good morning. this week, it's been quite a fickle weather story to tell, undulating from cold and crisp back to milder and sometimes wet. and that's the story we've got first thing this friday morning. milderfor all of us, but by the time head towards the weekend, once again, we turn back into that cold bright story with some showers turning increasingly wintry on the hills. but for the here and now, we have got these weather fronts pushing in from the atlantic. they bump into colder air, so for a time, we will see a wintry mix. however, behind it, you can see this pizza—shaped triangle of yellow colour — that's the milder air tucking in behind those weather fronts. so, an early wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow to clear from
the southeast corner, but then a legacy of cloud behind much of england, wales and northern ireland, perhaps northeast england and much of scotland are bright with some sunshine before scattered showers arrive during the afternoon. generally, a milder story. widely, we'll see temperatures into double figures, but by the end of the afternoon, something a little heavier into south wales running along the channel coast will continue to drift its way eastwards during the early parts of friday evening. then into saturday, the wind direction changes to a northwesterly, driving in a rash of showers behind which have the risk of turning increasingly wintry once again into the far north of scotland. so, it's going to be a chilly start to saturday. and we see this area of low pressure dominating with the wind direction swinging around to a northwesterly once again. the wind direction will make a difference with the feel of the weather. we're going to lose that milder air and the blue colours are set to return as we head into the weekend. once again, noticeably colder for all.
so, we start off on saturday with some early showery rain once again easing from the southeast, and then a case of sunny spells and scattered showers. some showers will be of sleet and snow, perhaps even for some at lower levels as temperatures sit around 4—5 degrees. further south of that with a little more sunshine, perhaps not quite as cold — 7—9 celsius the high. quieter day on sunday better chance of seeing more on the way of sunshine with a few scattered sharp showers perhaps just drifting in off north sea coasts, noticeably cooler once again for all of us. that's it, take care.
this is bbc news. the headlines: german leaders say covid jabs could become mandatory from february and have announced tough restrictions on the unvaccinated. people who have not been inoculated against coronavirus are set to be banned from many public facilities, and non—essential shops. south africa says the omicron variant is driving a sharp increase in covid infections. over the last week, the daily number of new covid infections has increased fourfold, from less than 3,000 to more than 11,500. officials say vaccinations are now more vital that ever. the governing conservative party has retained the parliamentary seat of old bexley and sidcup, but the uk by—election victory for louie french has been secured with a greatly reduced majority. the poll was caused by the death from cancer of the former cabinet minister james brokenshire.