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Two months ago it would have seemed unbelievable, and like something from an apocalyptic movie, that the United Kingdom, and just about every major country in the world, would be in economic meltdown and that millions of people would be in danger of losing their jobs and lives due to a viral pandemic, for which there is currently no effective remedy.

Sadly, just such an event was forecast some years ago by experts who warned of the dangers of the over-exploitation of remaining virgin forest areas throughout the world. These areas are vast reservoirs of viruses that man has never been exposed to before and so has no inbuilt immunity. The ease of travel, where an infected person can fly from one side of the planet to the other in a day or two then facilitates the spread of any infection.

Improving animal welfare should also be a priority because packing animals close together to allow cheap food production encourages infections. Surely it is worth paying more to see animals reared under half-decent conditions that do not require their injection with growth hormones and antibiotics as a matter of routine.

We must hope that we learn from the Covid 19 pandemic and put in place better global systems for identifying new outbreaks at a very early stage and have teams available to rush in and take control before a pandemic does.