Covid-19: Tier announcement due and 'miracle' survivor's ordeal

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

1. Towns and cities await England Covid tier changes

If you live in England, you'll find out later whether your area will move to a different tier of Covid rules. Leaders in some northern areas are suggesting a drop in infection rates means they have met the criteria to move from tier three - with the toughest restrictions - to tier two. But NHS bosses are warning against easing restrictions "prematurely".

image copyrightPA Media

2. Welsh figures omit 11,000 positive Covid tests

Some 11,000 positive Covid tests are missing from official figures in Wales, meaning cases in the last week could be twice as high as previously thought. Public Health Wales says the under-reporting has been caused by "planned maintenance" of IT systems - a situation described as "staggering" by the Conservative opposition.

image copyrightReuters

3. Cancer scan backlog raises late detection fears

The impact of the pandemic on cancer services is revealed by BBC News analysis showing at least 4.4 million fewer scans were carried out in England between April and September than during the same period in 2019. With one in seven people now waiting more than three months for a scan, Cancer Research UK is warning patients "could be diagnosed with a more aggressive, later-stage cancer". NHS England says some services are back at last year's levels.

image copyrightToni Cunnington
image captionCancer patient Toni Cunnington feels her life "isn't worth as much as a Covid patient"

4. Cancelling Christmas: 'They said they understood'

With infections rising, some families have decided Christmas festivities aren't worth the risk and are either cancelling their plans or making last-minute changes. We asked how relatives had reacted. And while Diva Fanning, 71, was worried about being a "killjoy" in calling off a Boxing Day gathering of her family, below, she says: "It wasn't a difficult conversation really... everybody was thinking the same anyway."

image copyrightDiva Fanning

5. 'Miracle' Covid survivor feared his life was over

A man given an "almost zero" chance of surviving Covid-19 says his world has been "turned upside down" since being taken ill in March. Mal Martin spent 61 days on a ventilator and was in such a bad way his family said their goodbyes. His recovery has been described as a "miracle" by doctors.

media captionFriends and family line the street in an emotional homecoming

And don't forget...

If you're wondering how you should spend Christmas, following the updates to guidance, you can check both the rules and the considerations flagged up by scientists.

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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