HOW are we coping locally? Hats off to our brilliant NHS and care staff is the answer because so far things are holding up. We have had a number of coronavirus cases in Farnham, Godalming and Haslemere but thanks to superhuman efforts by our frontline staff, local health services are holding up very well.

Thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, many GPs are able to work from home and still have full access to patient notes so video consultations are proving very effective.

Some people need to be seen face to face and according to Dr Peter Bibawy some GPs are finding it hard to get PPE, the vital protective equipment they need.

But most of them are more concerned about the risks in care homes where residents are highly vulnerable and the virus can spread very easily. Again PPE is vital, and I know the government has made important progress in the past week to get it out more widely, including using the army to help with distribution.

I also spoke this week to Louise Stead, chief executive of the Royal Surrey, to get a sense as to how things were. She told me they have 49 coronavirus patients including 11 in intensive care. Three are on ventilators. The overall picture was a lot of stress, understandably, but a hospital that was broadly managing to cope with the pressure.

Support from the community is making a big difference to staff morale.

The Royal Surrey too has staff absence rates of between ten and 20 per cent, in line with the national average. Improving testing is vital and they are now able to process tests at the hospital in 24 hours.

I want us to roll out community testing at scale in the way that is happening in Germany and South Korea as all the international evidence suggests it is one of the most effective ways of suppressing the virus. But to do that we will need to mobilise every laboratory, every university and all our great pharmaceutical companies. If we can do it for ventilators we can do it for testing!

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