Covid: Hospital admissions warning and prices rise

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Wednesday morning. We'll have another update for you this evening.

1. Covid hospital admissions warning

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's winter Covid plan comes amid a warning that there could be a large jump in hospital admissions in England. Government scientists say they could reach 2,000 to 7,000 per day next month if restrictions aren't tightened. The number currently stands at about 1,000. They say a "relatively light set of measures" could curb infections but Mr Johnson's plan only imposes restrictions such as face coverings if pressure on the NHS becomes unsustainable. He hopes increasing vaccinations means fresh restrictions can be avoided.

Image source, AFP

2. Higher food costs drive price rises

As the economy continued to reopen, UK inflation hit 3.2% in the year to August making it the biggest increase since records began in 1997. It's been driven by higher food costs - with eating and drinking out costing more last month in comparison with August last year, when the "Eat Out to Help Out" scheme was running. The Office for National Statistics describes the price increase as "temporary".

3. Can England avoid 'lockdown lite' this winter?

Although the government's going to try to rely almost entirely on the vaccines to protect people from Covid this winter, there is a Plan B if pressure on the NHS is unsustainable. It's been dubbed "lockdown lite" and includes face coverings, Covid passports and working from home. So what are the chances of England avoiding another lockdown? Our health correspondent Nick Triggle has investigated.

4. Tsunami of school-anxiety cases fears

Although there is no official data on absence due to school anxiety, parents groups are warning of a "tsunami" of crippling cases. They claim it will lead to persistent and debilitating absence from education - and one lawyer says the pandemic has made an "unprecedented crisis" even worse. The government says it's investing £17m in school mental health. Read more here.

5. Spending the penny

They're usually found at the back of the sofa or feature heavily in money boxes but it seems many of us have been also hoarding 1p coins during Covid lockdown. They were back in production last year after none were made for general circulation for two years. Take a look.

And there's more...

Covid booster jabs will be offered from next week, but will you need one? Find out if you're one of the 30 million or so people who will be invited to have one.

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

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