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Covid-19: Manchester latest, 'long Covid' risk and an emotional reunion

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning. We'll have another update for you at 18:00 BST.

1. Greater Manchester support deal still 'on the table'

As things stand, Greater Manchester will be forced into tier three on Friday, against the wishes of local leaders, after talks over a financial support package collapsed. Right now, the region will get £22m, but the government says an offer of £60m "remains on the table". Six local Conservative MPs have written to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who said the £60m offer was too low, accusing him of putting his ego above people's best interests. The situation certainly looks like a political failure, says the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg. Meanwhile, talks continue later about whether South Yorkshire will be next to enter the "very high" alert level.

2. Long Covid risk

Around one in 20 people are sick for at least eight weeks after contracting coronavirus, according to a study. Anyone can develop so-called "long Covid", it found, but old age, asthma, excess weight and being female all increase a person's risk. The researchers at King's College London hope to develop an early warning signal that can identify patients who need extra care, or who might benefit from early treatment. Read more about long Covid.

image copyrightVicky Bourne
image captionVicky Bourne - here in happier times - says she's still suffering after become ill in March

3. Free meals

Labour says hundreds of thousands of children in England could go hungry if free school meals aren't extended outside term time this winter. Footballer Marcus Rashford has continued his campaign on the issue to help those facing extra hardship due to the pandemic. More than 300,000 people have signed his petition, but the government has so far said no. Scotland and Wales have committed to providing free meals for children there over the school holidays until Easter.

image captionSome schools have provided food parcels for families from their own budgets

4. Cancer care in a crisis

As the pandemic hit, hospitals across the country had to work out how to continue delivering lifesaving cancer care to extremely vulnerable patients, while battling a global pandemic. BBC Breakfast reporter Jayne McCubbin has been given special access to Europe's largest cancer unit, The Christie hospital in Manchester, finding out from staff and patients how they've done it.

media captionPatients and staff at Europe's largest cancer hospital share their experiences during the pandemic

5. Reunited after 215 days apart

Joseph and Eve have been married for 60 years, but the pandemic has kept them apart since March. He was in hospital and couldn't receive visitors. Clary Abreu, from Rosecastle care home in Florida where Eve lives, captured the wonderful moment they were finally reunited on camera. "Their love is incredible," she said.

media caption"I love you so much": Elderly couple reunited after 215 days apart

And don't forget...

Find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

Plus, we know not everyone is observing the coronavirus rules. BBC home editor Mark Easton takes a closer look at the question of compliance.

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