I have just received the news that the first case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Herefordshire. Whilst there is no need to panic unduly, it is vitally important that we all continue to practice good hygiene and prevent the further spread of the virus.

Since January, public health teams and world-leading scientists have been working continuously on the coronavirus response. The Health Secretary has assured colleagues that the Government is working hard to contain the virus and that the NHS is well prepared for the outbreak.

The NHS, Public Health England (PHE) and local authority public health across the country are working hard to support everyone in need of advice, testing or treatment.

It is important that everyone should keep up to speed with the latest information about the situation in the UK, along with guidance for what to do if you think you are at risk, on the Government website: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

The best way to protect yourself from infections like coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use a sanitiser gel, as well as always carrying tissues and using them to catch coughs and sneezes, then putting the tissue in a bin.

If you have symptoms, the Government is encouraging people to call the NHS 111 helpline, available 24 hours a day, or visit the NHS 111 service online: www.111.nhs.uk

I am confident that our wonderful sense of community here in Herefordshire will ensure that those who are concerned or feeling vulnerable will be looked after.