“This is now the second fortnightly column I have written during this period when our nation, and the world, is experiencing disruption unlike anything we have experienced before.

"Over the past few weeks, I have heard many commentators compare our present situation with the situation faced by those who lived through the Second World War. And though I can agree with parts of the analogy, I think it’s first important to recognise how vastly different the conditions were then, compared with the conditions we are living with now.

"Today, we have technology, food supply systems, advanced science, and methods of everyday communication, that make many of our struggles trivial compared with the those faced in the 1930s and 40s.

"Not to mention that for the three million British servicemen who were called to serve in the armed forces between 1939 and 1945, staying at home was not an option – but at most, a potential reward they may only be lucky enough to enjoy after time spent fighting abroad.

"But where I think it is possible to draw a justifiable comparison, is in the national and international scale of the challenge.

"We are fighting the coronavirus, together. And for that reason, we are seeing people come together in ways we have not seen for many years.

"People are recognising, that we all have a part to play in keeping the virus at levels which are within NHS capacity – and that is why the majority are following the guidance and staying at home.

"We have also seen an extraordinary number of people sign up to the ‘army of volunteers’ which has been organised to support our NHS. The original target of 250 000 was surpassed within just 24 hours – and sign ups increased at such a rate that a new target of 750 000 was necessary. A target which was also met within just a few days.

"There were also the unforgettable scenes of people up and down the country, opening their windows and stepping out of their front doors to ‘clap for our carers’. Rightly sending a powerful message to all those who are providing care for the sick during these challenging times, that we truly appreciate all they do for us.

"It seems like a lot has happened within the past few weeks, and indeed it has. But as I wrote in my last column, the truth of this battle against coronavirus is that it will not be won in weeks, but in months.

"Although that prospect brings none of us any pleasure – I’m sure many of you will agree with me, that after seeing the millions of acts of kindness, responsible decision making, and perseverance to get through, which we have seen since the beginning of this pandemic, there is both hope and certainty that we will get through.”