WHILE many of us were unable to have the Easter we had planned, which meant in some cases not being able to join friends and family, it is so important we continue to follow social distancing.

My thoughts are with all those affected by this indiscriminate disease, and my sincere condolences to those who have sadly lost a loved one. I am thankful that the Prime Minister is out of hospital and recuperating and I have been passing on the many goodwill messages from Somerset.

To all those involved on the frontline; the military personnel helping build the new NHS Nightingale hospitals in Bristol and Exeter; the dedicated doctors, nurses and support staff in our NHS, our care workers, delivery drivers, retail workers, pharmacists, manufacturers and the many thousands of you who have volunteered to help – thank you. This is a united national effort and the selflessness shown by so many is truly inspiring.

Last week, the Chancellor announced a £750 million package of support to ensure that our much-valued charitable sector can continue its vital work because it, like so many other sectors, has been severely impacted. I am in daily contact with Ministers and local stakeholders on a wide range of issues raised with me by the local authority, farmers and local businesses to mention but a few.

My staff and I are also ensuring workers and businesses are fully aware of the Government support that has been made available; and we have been working to support the re-patriation of British Nationals stranded abroad. I am delighted that after concerted representation a group from Goa is now safely home. In addition, my website lists independent food shops that are either open or doing home deliveries which may be useful.

For full Government guidance see www.gov.uk/coronavirus and for information from Somerset County Council visit www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-latest-advice/ or call their support helpline number, 0300 790 6275.

All of us can support our NHS and other workers on the frontline by continuing to follow the guidance to: Stay at Home. Protect our NHS. Save Lives.

MP for Taunton Deane