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Covid-19: Christmas plans, job losses and cash 'under threat'

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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 GMT.

1. Call for Christmas 'solutions'

The leaders of the UK's four nations must agree uniform guidance to allow people to celebrate Christmas with family and friends. That's the message today from the Liberal Democrats and the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. They want the four governments to agree on numbers allowed for gatherings, an expansion of travel and a system for the return of students for the holidays. Leaders say people must follow the rules now if we're to have a chance of celebrating Christmas in anything like the normal way.

2. Latest virus picture

The city of Nottingham was due to be the next area placed into tier three restrictions, but an announcement on the details has been delayed while authorities consider moving the whole county up with it due to a surge in cases. The UK as a whole recorded its highest coronavirus death toll since May on Tuesday. Our health correspondent Nick Triggle looks at how the NHS is coping. Hospital admissions are still nowhere near the level seen in the spring, but routine treatments are again being cancelled - something 19-year-old Mali Elwy is experiencing first hand.

media captionMali Elwy: "We've got to the point again where they're cancelling major operations"

3. Jobs pain 'unequally shared'

Research suggests around one in five young people who were on the furlough scheme have since lost their jobs. The Resolution Foundation said a similar proportion of people from ethnic minority backgrounds have also been made unemployed, compared with 9% for the general population. The think tank says the "true nature" of Britain's jobs crisis is now "starting to reveal itself". The Treasury says its wage support programmes have helped to protect millions of jobs. Furlough will be replaced with the less generous Job Support Scheme next month.

4. Cash system 'under threat'

Customers have been left unable to buy basics such as groceries and medicine because so many stores are now refusing to accept cash. Consumer group Which? is asking businesses who've introduced the ban as part of social distancing to show greater understanding and flexibility to customers who may have no other option. Charities say it's often the most vulnerable who are excluded.

image copyrightGetty Images

5. A digital Yuletide

Hopes for a Christmas with family and friends hang in the balance, but some are already taking matters into their own hands and rearranging their plans. Father Christmas on the doorstep, carol concerts by video call - they've told us about ways they're coming up with to find the joy whatever happens. Mhairi Hamilton, from South Lanarkshire, said relatives' responses to her plan to host a "Zoom Christmas" were "nothing but positive".

image copyrightGail Buckie
image captionGail says it's sad not being able to see family members, but people will make more effort

And don't forget...

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

Plus, there's a lot of talk about Christmas this morning, but if your focus is on more imminent festivities, check out our guidance for trick or treating this coming weekend.

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