CHEER was in short supply this week as Teignbridge and the rest of the country continued to grapple with the spread of coronavirus.

Details about the locations of new outbreaks remained elusive with Devon quickly emerging as a Covid-19 hot-spot.

One crumb of comfort came with news that the partner of an infected self-isolating casualty in the immediate Newton Abbot area had tested negative for the bug as had her children.

Her partner is still fighting to shrug off the debilitating effects of his infection after returning from locked-down Italy where he had been on a skiing trip a fortnight ago.

The partner’s employer told the Mid-Devon Advertiser this week: ‘Our staff member is quite buoyant about the negative result – but is still a bit concerned about the health of her partner.’

Torbay Hospital has been equipped with a special drive-thru’ facility in its grounds off the Newton Road where people can be tested for the virus, which has so far infected 120,000 worldwide and killed 4,300. The UK death toll was eight by yesterday morning.

Similar testing provision is expected to extend to other centres as the virus increases its grip across the country.

Many of the reported deaths have involved elderly people with underlying medical conditions, especially respiratory difficulties.

Residents at New Park, Bovey Tracey, are ahead of the game with a coronavirus action plan. Most of the estate’s 400 residents are elderly and in the ‘at risk’ category.

A spokesman for the residents’ association said this week: ‘We all need to take precautions to keep ourselves, friends and neighbours safe. We on New Park are among the more vulnerable age groups.’

They have now formed teams to ensure provisions and medical supplies will still get through if services are disrupted, and check on homes where people are ill. They will liaise with doctors and other emergency and support services.

The spokesman added: ‘We’re asking residents to report any noticeable changes in their area – this may be a neighbour who has suddenly become ill and needs help.’

Ashburton Town Council is already implementing a raft of measures to promote containment, including notices urging people to wash hands after public toilet visits.

A special group has been set up by the town council to make sure vulnerable members of the community are monitored.

Cllr Sarah Parker-Khan said: ‘It’s good that this is being done – and important that we keep calm and don’t panic with a plan in place to help these people.’