AS THE country goes into lockdown the Chronicle’s regular columnist, former TV anchorman and communications skills coach Khalid Aziz has given an insight into his first week of isolation.

Just arrived back after a relaxing break in Mexico. What a contrast! When we left, Corona was still relatively insignificant inspiring jokes about “you can only get it if you drink lemonade” etc. Now it’s gotten serious, as the Americans would say. And there were plenty of Americans in Mexico buoyed up by Trump’s false assertions that he, being a self-declared genius, was all over “this Corona thing.” Apparently, they had plenty of testing kits - “beautiful kits”. Turns out they didn’t, and I suspect the fragmented US health care system is going to be shown up wearing no swimming trunks as the tide of virus safety goes out – as Warren Buffett didn’t quite say.

Back home safe and sound, Terminal 5 at Heathrow was eerily quiet, as was the M3 on our way back to our beloved Hampshire and the hub-of-the-universe that is our very special village of St Mary Bourne.

The performance of the NHS has been exemplary. Dare I say it so has the government’s, pretty much. It’s such a fast moving scenario and Messrs Johnson and Hancock are already looking weary, But so far, so good. Mind you, unlike the great President Across the Pond they are wisely trusting the science and proper scientists. Neither Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser nor Professor Chris Whitty (knighthood cannot be far away!) Chief Medical Officer would be first picks at a village dance but their cold and calculating press conference performances flanking Boris inspire confidence.

We have chosen to self-isolate given all our travel – taxis, planes airports etc. This means no physical contact with anyone. This is proving a particular trial for Mrs A what with one of our grandchildren - just toddling – living only yards away with her mother and father. However, the denizens of the plague village of Eyam in Derbyshire had to submit to total self-imposed isolation. In 1665 there was broad oak rather than broadband. We thankfully have the wonders of FaceTime. Number two daughter, having decided early to home-school our two older grandchildren, was soon climbing the walls and so chose to press gang Papa into some electronic lessons in French pronunciation.

People are already summoning up the spirit of the Blitz. Well, I’m not quite sure we’re all on the same page. Whilst abroad we were puzzled by reports of a run on loo paper. Corona is a disease decidedly of the other end so where toilet tissue comes into the equation I cannot quite fathom. Sadly, not everyone seems capable of exercising self-restraint and one’s heart went out to the ICU nurse who finished 48 hours on duty only to find her local supermarket had been stripped of essential food stuffs.

Our local St Mary Bourne shop has had high profile coverage on local TV with one particular citizen volunteer coming in for some ribaldry from his friends who found his delivery pinny somewhat fetching as he made shop deliveries to the needy.

Our spirits have been lifted be the acquisition of thirty five black Welsh Mountain sheep who now seem most content and Corona oblivious in our paddock. I am tempted to get a single white one so I can make jokes about him being the “white sheep of the family” but no doubt the woke police would be after me if I did that.

The Chancellor’s support package looks stunning, but the devil will be in the detail. I’ll be reporting back next week by which time, God willing, we will have proved to be asymptomatic and hopefully will have been able to move further afield.