THE Government’s guidance to limit the spread of covid - the Rule of Six and Hands, Face, Space - are important tools in the fight against this virus.

The NHS Test and Trace app has now been downloaded by more than 10 million people in England and will also do its good work over the coming months to limit this pandemic by identifying those who may have caught covid and need to test and/or isolate. I do urge everyone to download it if they can. It will help a great deal.

However, these tools require that people abide by the rules and then act in the correct way. I know the vast majority of residents in the Meon Valley are doing just that but, just in case someone doesn’t know what is expected of them or their family and friends, here’s the latest government guidance.

Rule of Six:

• Meet no more than six people of any age, indoors or outdoors.

• You must still socially distance even within these groups.

• If your household or support bubble is more than six then that is fine.

• However, said household/support bubble is not able to meet with other people.

• Other exceptions to the Rule of Six include: work, education, weddings, funerals and exercise but all in a socially distanced way.

• Some venues – like pubs – may host more than six people, provided they follow other covid guidelines and do not allow groupings of larger than six.

• Individuals breaking the rule can be fined £200, rising to £6,400 for repeat offences.

And here’s the facts on isolation:

• 10 days if you have symptoms or a positive test. Stop after 10 days if you feel better, otherwise continue to isolate.

• 14 days if you live with someone who has symptoms or a positive test. Stop after 14 days if you do not have any symptoms, get tested and keep isolating if you do.

• 14 days if you are told by NHS Test and Trace that you have been in close contact with someone with covid.

• 14 days after travelling to the UK from a foreign country, unless there is a travel corridor.

• Fines for not isolating start at £1,000 and can rise to £10,000 for repeat behaviour.

So, this is all pretty clear and simple and it is all our responsibilities to do all this if we are to stop the virus spreading and save lives this coming winter.

I do accept there remain issues with testing capacity and I have passed these on to ministers at Westminster when I have been contacted by my constituents.

The Government is opening two new test centres by the end of October which should see capacity at over 500,000 per day from around 300,000 at the moment.

Most people get their test results within two days, but it can take up to five days and this is where we need to see an improvement. I fully understand how frustrating it is to have to wait for a test while self-isolating, particularly if the result is negative. This potentially means parents missing work and children missing school for longer than necessary. Ministers assure me they are doing all they can to achieve a better testing turnaround.