this is bbc news — welcome if you're watching here in the uk, on pbs in america or around the globe. i'm mike embley. our top stories: the uk records the highest number of deaths linked to coronavirus of any european country. ministers say it's too early to compare. one of the british government's senior scientific advisers, stands down, after breaking social distancing rules. president trump confirms the white house is planning to wind down its coronavirus task force, despite the high number of cases in the us. climate experts predict the global lockdown will see the the biggest decline in carbon emissions, ever recorded. and, we meet the choir that comes together online, to fight isolation,
and support each other. hello to you. we're covering all the latest developments here in britain and globally. first, daily figures out of the uk , show it now has the highest official death toll from coronavirus in europe, the second highest in the world, after the united states. the foreign secretary, dominic raab, says 29,427 people have now died in the outbreak, 112 more than the latest figures out of italy. a leading scientist in britain has resigned from his government role, amid reports he broke the lockdown rules he himself had argued for. a newspaper has reported that a woman who doesn't live with professor neil ferguson visited his home twice during lockdown.
as the us death toll passes 71,000, president trump has confirmed the white house coronavirus task force will be wound down. he's also admitted lifting lockdown restrictions will mean more deaths. you heard just now the headline figure for deaths in england and wales, within that, new figures from the office for national statistics show that care home deaths, involving the virus, increased by more than a third in the week ending april 24th, that means a total of nearly 6000 care home deaths up to that date. 0ur science editor, david shukman looks at how the number of deaths in the uk compares with other countries. every so often, there are grim national milestones. this time, as the uk's death toll rises above that of italy, making it second only to the united states, and with every figure a story of loss and grief. the virus never loses the power to shock, killing three members of one family within days of each other. first, keith dunnington, a nurse from south shields, then, a week later, his father maurice and his mother lillian,
leaving the family stunned. i'm still in disbelief a little bit. keith's children are... erm, absolutely devastated. and then, to lose their nanny and grandad, they're really devastated. my children are both absolutely heartbroken. at today's government briefing, the latest graph shows how the death tolls are rising in different countries. the official numbers confirm that italy has lost 29,315 people, and the uk now slightly more, at 29,427. if it does turn out that we are the country that's hardest hit in europe, what's your reaction to that? there are different ways
of counting deaths, as we know, we've had that debate in this country. we now publish data that includes all deaths in all settings, and not all countries do that, so i'm not sure that the international comparison works unless you reliably know that all countries are measuring in the same way. and it also depends on how good, frankly, countries are in gathering their statistics. and our own office for national statistics is widely acknowledged to be a world leader. there are important differences between the two countries. the uk has more people than italy, and london is far bigger than any italian city. 0n the other hand, the population of italy is older and more generations live together, which increases the risk to grandparents. it's a complicated picture that's still evolving. everybody knows that making international comparisons in such statistics can be difficult, and it may be that that will take some time to sort out, and this isn't over yet. but all this raises questions about the uk's handling of the outbreak.
the nhs has avoided being overwhelmed — a real success, unlike in northern italy. but it emerged today that fewer than 300 people were put into quarantine earlier this year, at a time when 18 million arrived without any kind of screening. and testing for the virus got off to a slower start than in other countries, and that's now been officially acknowledged. in the early phases, and i've said this before, i think if we'd managed to ramp testing capacity quicker, it would have been beneficial, and., you know, for all sorts of reasons, that didn't happen, and i think it's clear you need lots of testing for this. the numbers dying everyday are now falling, the lockdown is working. but this comes as tens of thousands of people across the uk are now grieving. david shukman, bbc news. the prominent uk scientist whose work was a key factor in the government's decision
to implement the lockdown has stepped aside tonight from the advisory committee called sage. professor neil ferguson said he'd acted in a way that undermined the rules on social distancing. it follows reports in the uk's daily telegraph that a woman had visited his home, in breach of the restrictions. 0ur correspondentjessica parker is at westminster. well, as you say, professor neil ferguson, a member of the scientific committee known as sage, which advises ministers on the approach to coronavirus, he stepped back from that committee this evening following reports in the telegraph that he breached social distancing rules after a woman visited his home. i will bring you some of professor neil ferguson's statement tonight. he said, "i accept i made an error ofjudgement, i acted in the belief that i was immune, having tested positive for coronavirus and completely isolated myself for almost two weeks after developing symptoms." he goes on to say, he "deeply regrets any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing to control this devastating
epidemic." it was professor ferguson's work along with a team at imperial college london about how devastating this epidemic could be that was seen as a key driver behind the uk government's decision to go into lockdown, so it is worth saying his work was hugely influential then and remains hugely influential now as well. you might also remember a similar case about a month ago where dr catherine calderwood, scotland's chief medical officer, she resigned from her post after she was found to have breached the rules after visiting her second home. so, tonight perhaps a reminder that those who are involved in setting the regulations are also under pressure to keep to them. president trump has confirmed he's looking at winding down the white house coronavirus task force, despite the high number of cases in the us. the vice president has suggested it could be brought to a close within weeks, just as a draft government report warns the american death toll could reach three thousand a day injune, that's more than double the current rate. president trump spoke to reporters as he left washington to go to arizona.
so, i think that as far as the task force, mike pence and the task force have done a greatjob. but now we're looking at a little bit of a different form. and that form is safety and opening, and we'll have a different group, probably, set up for that. created with a lot of other very talented people and the people of our country, the greatest economy in the history of the world, the greatest that we've ever had, the greatest employment numbers, the best numbers we've ever had, the best stock market. i think we had 144 days of record stock markets. and then one day they said "we have to close our country. " well, now it's time to open it up. so the president is dismantling the task force and encouraging states to lift lockdown restrictions. are these economic and political decisions rather than ones based on scientific advice? here's our north america correspondent peter bowes. the president was asked earlier whether this signalled mission accomplished and he said no, it won't be over until it is over, but it is very clear
that the president's main focus now is reopening the country. and we heard him say that the focus of this new group of people, the task force won't exist in its present form, but there will be a group looking at the country's response to coronavirus and the main focus will be safety and opening , the reopening of america. and as you say, the number of deaths has actuallyjust gone over 70,000. there are forecasts that the number could increase dramatically over the next few weeks, yet the president believes that this is the right way forward, and it's interesting that within the last few hours he has given an interview to the abc network here in the states and he was asked about that, and he acknowledged that the very reopening of the country may well result in more people dying, because they won't be isolating at home, they will be out with their colleagues at work or their social circles, and he said the country will continue to have to put out the embers or the fires,
the big fires, as he put it, there would be hotspots in terms of problems caused because of the reopening of the country. let's get some of the day's other news: a new smartphone app released by nhs england with the aim of tracing the spread of coronavirus, has been made available on the isle of wight off the coast of southern england. it's part of a trial for easing the lockdown. aianb is cutting nearly 1900 jobs, as it battles with the downturn in the global travel industry. that's about one quarter of the company's workforce. the firm, which connects home—owners with renters, says revenues this year will be about half what they were in 2019. virgin atlantic is cutting three thousand jobs in the uk and ending its operations at london's gatwick airport, as the travel industry battles with the coronavirus fallout. the compa ny‘s founder, sir richard branson, has warned that the airline
will collapse unless it receives government support. there are fears parts of latin america are quickly becoming the new virus hotspot, with the number of cases soaring. new pictures out of peru have revealed hospital systems aren't coping, while indigenous communities in neighbouring ecuador fear extinction. freya cole reports. in crowded corridors laying on floors, covid—19 patients with nowhere else to go in loreto, peru. the amazonian region is one of the country's worst effected, and doctors say they're not coping. translation: we are living in a terrible situation, a desperate situation. we see people die every day and we cannot deliver the necessary supplies. oxygen is running low and protective gear is lacking. three doctors from the region have died of the novel coronavirus. 17 others have requested a transfer to peru's capital
city for better care. in neighbouring ecuador, families of the siekopai indigenous tribe are fleeing into the amazon forest for better protection. tribe leaders fear their nation of 700 people is at risk of extinction. translation: in previous centuries, our people have been a victim of these types of diseases. today, we do not want the same thing to happen. traditional survival skills are now being used in an attempt to outrun the virus, which is escalating across latin america at an alarming pace. freya cole, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: the unifying power of music. how a choir in the uk is uplifting people with special needs,
even from afar. i, nelson rolihlahla mandela, do hereby swear to be faithful to the republic of south africa. after six years of construction and numerous delays, the channel tunnel has been formally opened by the queen and president mitterrand. but the tunnel is still not yet ready for passengers and freight services to begin. for centuries, christianity and islam struggled for supremacy. now, the pope's visit symbolises their willingness to coexist. roger bannister became the first man in the world to run a mile in underfour minutes. memories of victory as the ve celebrations reach their climax. this night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace
and freedom. this is bbc world news. the latest headlines: the uk records the highest number of deaths linked to coronavirus of any european country. ministers say it is too early to compare. one of the british government's senior scientific advisers stands down after breaking social distancing rules. climate experts say this year will see the biggest decline in carbon emissions ever recorded, because of the pandemic. emissions from the use of fossil fuels are expected to fall by up to 8%, a drop which could be six times bigger than that recorded during the financial crisis in 2008. for more, here is peter gleick, president emeritus and
co—founder of the pacific institute. well, without a doubt, we've seen some remarkable improvements in the environment during this terrible pandemic. we saw this in china very early, where air quality improved. we've seen it in india, in the united states, all over the world. we've seen some of these temporary improvements in air quality as our economies have suffered. but the key point is that they're temporary. and as the pandemic winds down, when it does, as oui’ economies ramp up, unless we're smart, we're going to go right back to the same kind of polluting economy we had a few months ago. and it is very likely, given the pent—up demand, that people willjust jump again into cars, jump again onto planes, and governments will feel the need to let them do that? well, i think that's true, although i do think there's going to be a reluctance on some people's part, certainly on my part, for example, tojump on another
aeroplane pretty quickly. there is a chance, if governments are smart, that the new economy, after we ramp up the economy, could be a better economy for the environment, but we're going to have to be intensional about that. the use of fossil fuels has gone down. what do you read into that? what is it tell you and governments about green technology? well, so the good news is that, even before the pandemic, there was a growing awareness that human—caused climate change was a real thing, that fossil fuels were responsible for this, and that we need to ramp up our energy use in the renewable world. we need more solar, we need more wind, we need less coal and oil. the pandemic has made that even more clear. as you said in the opening, we're going to see a big drop, a temporary drop, but a big drop, in greenhouse gas emissions this year. and, again, if we're smart, when we ramp up the economy again, it won't be with coal, oil and national gas,
but there'll be a bigger push toward renewable energy, and that would help the environment, help the climate. we're talking pretty generally, and obviously optimistically. clearly some areas of the world will face much greater challenges more immediately than others? well, that is certainly true. the richer economies are already moving a little more aggressively to try and get rid of fossilfuels. europe has made great progress in this. the uk has as well. but we need to invest the right money in the right places. if we don't make the smart investments now, and we go back to the old economies, then the lessons we've learned during the pandemic won't have been taken to heart. we won't have moved forward on a smarter economy for the environment. iata, the group that represents airlines, has recommended that all passengers wear masks while flying, but there is concern about whether social distancing can be ensured on board. aer lingus, based in dublin, has come in for criticism since images were posted showing a very full flight from belfast. the airline says it will put on more flights to reduce the number of people per flight. this from our ireland
correspondent emma va rdy. it was these pictures taken by a worker travelling from belfast to london which have added to mounting concerns over the way airlines are operating during the lockdown. no social distance whatsoever. none whatsoever. on the plane, the queues were down the steps and out onto the tarmac, as they were before all this has happened. no change whatsoever. since restrictions were imposed, the number of daily flights has fallen by around 80%. some 60 flights a day now arrive at london heathrow, compared to 600 a day before the pandemic. but there is no policy capping passenger numbers. aer lingus has said there was unexpectedly high demand on the day those pictures were taken, and that it is now urgently reviewing its procedures on board. but others in the industry have warned that, on a plane, social distancing is basically impossible. we don't believe social
distancing on aircraft actually works, and there are two reasons for that. one of which is the obvious economic one. the second of which is around the air conditioning systems on aeroplanes, which rely in part on recycling air within the cabin. that simply defeats the purpose of social distancing. the bbc has also heard from one member of british airways cabin crew who told us ba are also still operating some short—haul flights at capacity. and, as these images from paris to madrid today show, other airlines are similarly flying with full cabins. the international air transport association has recommended safety measures such as masks, but says limiting passenger numbers would push up fares. neutralising seats on an aircraft could have an enormous negative impact, and could lead to an increase, up
to 55%, in fares. reviving the aviation industry will be important to the country's economic recovery, but the government said it must be done responsibly. these are some of the big, real challenges that we've got to grapple with, but the safety of people has got to come first. there are predictions passenger numbers may not return to previous levels for several years, and currently, no standard approach for how to operate on board. emma vardy, bbc news, belfast. the pandemic has created immense difficulties for people with learning disabilities or underlying health issues who have to self—isolate, but a choir in oxford is showing how music can counter isolation. the soundabout inclusive choir has harnessed technology to support its members. fergal keane reports. # amazing grace, how sweet the sound...# a voice from a deep confinement.
music helps make isolation bearable for sam pittick, aged 37. he has a vulnerable immune system and can't leave home. # i once was lost, but now am found # was blind...# and when you're all singing together, what does that feel like? i feel more powerful when i'm singing. i feel my own voice, and the power of music. now it's got to this fifth week, it's very, very difficult for him. sam's mum, ann, keeps a video diary for him, here filming his daily exercise. that's lovely. good lad. she is in her 70s, her husband
in his 80s, both with severe underlying health conditions. the carers who once visited sam every day can't come anymore. we're sort of struggling on with it, and the carer usually does it through the phone for him. "come on, sam, you've got to get in the bath, you've got to get washed" and things like that. it means no more face—to—face sessions with his beloved choir. founded last year by the charity soundabout, and at the centre of life for dozens of special needs people in oxford. for different families, different challenges. choir drummer matthew nicholls was born blind and unable to speak. he cherishes the human touch of his brother, c], of his parents. but matthew lives in supported accommodation, and because of the virus, can't have visits. his mum, sophia, and father, nigel, bring freshly baked bread which they leave at the entrance for their child. you know, he likes to give
you a big hug and a squeeze and a kiss. we miss him quite a lot. so, i mean, i must be honest and say that i do miss him. i miss him because also, not knowing this how long this lockdown is going to be for, you think, if it's only a few weeks, which is what i thought it was originally, we'd at least be able to see him. but now, you know, we don't know how long it's going to be. but, in a time of general anxiety, what is striking about the choir families is their optimism and good humour. 14 years ago, edward shryane was too weak to cry. listen to him now. # whoa—oh—oh, on the radio...# what does the sound of a choir — what does it mean to you? incredible — it's changed my life, and i think... i'm just lost for words. can i ask you a very fundamental question? what does he mean to you? you mean everything, don't you, eds? oh, my god! thank you, that's the right answer. i mean, thanks.
drives me insane. thank you, that is the right answer. but there is another reason for laughter. using video conference, the choir overcomes isolation and reunites. and matthew hears the sound of his mother's laughter. # matthew, hope you have a really good week # lily bartlett, blind, with special educational needs, taught herself piano, and leads in the choir‘s version of an anthem for our times. # when you got what you want but not what you need # # lights will guide you home # # and ignite your bones...#
# i will try to fix you. # applause fergal keane, bbc news, oxford. a five—year—old boy called adrian decided to take the family car out for a drive. he was heading to california when he was stopped by police on the freeway in utah. the police were shocked to discover the child behind the wheel who could barely see out of the front window. the boy told them he was on his way to buy a lamborghini and he had left home after his mother refused to buy him the luxury vehicle. adrian had $3 in in his pocket.
and you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter. hello there. there's a real shock in store for this weekend. but, before we get there, it is getting warmer. it will turn very warm in many places. mind you, early wednesday morning, it's not going to feel very warm, maybe a pinch of frost in some rural parts in eastern areas, underneath the clearer skies and lighter winds. there is much more on all the news, national and international, any time on the bbc website. with the lighter winds, it will feel warmer in the sunshine on wednesday. and, for many of us, there will be a lot of that to come. one or two exceptions, a bit more cloud threatening one or two showers in the far southwest of england and wales. and there is more cloud coming in across the northern isles of scotland. but, with lighter winds, it will feel warm in the sunshine. temperatures are likely to be higher on wednesday,
probably peaking at around 19—20 degrees. now, during the evening and overnight, we'll start to see more of this cloud running its way northwards, up through the irish sea and towards northern ireland, threatening a few more showers for these western parts of the uk. further east though, we'll have clearer skies and light winds. again, another chilly night. but, because it's a bit warmer by day, it may not get quite as chilly by the end of the night and into thursday morning. we have still got high pressure in charge. it will shrink away towards the southeast, and that is where we'll see the heat for longer. further north and west, these weather fronts encroaching, threatening some showers and a bit more cloud. and we'll certainly see more of that coming in on thursday across northern ireland, up into scotland — a few sharp showers here, and perhaps the chance of a shower across more western parts of england and wales. head further east, though, a good chance it will stay dry. still a fair bit of sunshine around, and those temperatures are continuing to rise, up to 22—23 celsius. probably the peak of the warmth is going to be on friday, and that's for the south—east of the uk. may be a bit more cloud across england and wales, northern ireland, maybe one or two showers breaking out as well.
but we've got this band of rain across northern scotland, and here, those temperatures are dropping away quite markedly. further south, where we'll see those temperatures 24—25 degrees, a very warm day. that band of rain is on that weather front there, and that will be significant, because it's that that's going to sweep its way southwards during this weekend, and behind it, a stronger northerly wind will push down much colder air across all areas. now, on saturday, it will be cooler across the northern half of the uk, perhaps some rain. further south, still largely dry and warm, with some sunshine. but even here, it gets much colder on sunday, with temperatures dropping as much as 10—11 degrees.
this is bbc news. the headlines: the united kingdom has now officially recorded more deaths related to covid—19 than any other country in europe. it's overtaken italy's total of more than 29,000. the death rate related to the virus in care homes in england and wales is still rising — it's now near 6,000. only the united states has lost more lives to the pandemic. one of the british government's senior scientific advisers has resigned — he's admitted breaking social distancing rules that he helped set up. professor neil ferguson's advice led to the prime minister implementing a lockdown in the uk. he's said he made an error ofjudgement. president trump has confirmed he plans to wind down the coronavirus task force within weeks, even though the american death toll has now passed 70,000, and a draft government report suggests it could reach 3,000 a day next month. he's has admitted lifting lockdown restrictions will mean more deaths.