IN these worrying times we are being told to be careful and try to protect ourselves and others from the threat of this ‘invisible’ but deadly virus.

So it is completely understandable that families want to take immediate precautions and get themselves tested if they fear they may be displaying symptoms of Covid-19.

But the confusion and unavailability of testing sites locally has been quite frankly shambolic. For Health Secretary Matt Hancock to say that people should not have to drive more than 75 miles to get a coronavirus test as if that distance was acceptable just beggars belief.

Local people have been bemoaning the fact that they have been unable to book a test in the county, on top of struggling to successfully acquire a home test kit. Instead, they have been asked to cross the Scottish border or travel into the heart of the North-East to access tests there.

We heard this week from the parents of nine month old Maylee Towers who depends on an oxygen supply to get by each day. Her complex conditions make every day a worry for her loving family, parents Sophie and Alby and siblings Mayson and Brynlee. So when Maylee’s brother displayed symptoms of Covid, they must have feared the worst.

And instead of being able to immediately access a test and put their minds at rest – or deal with the result, instead they had a fight to even book one.

The Towers family has been through hell and had to send their son to live away from the family home to try and protect their ill daughter.

They frantically tried to get a test in the local area but their search drew a blank. That was until, after three days, they were given a test – in Kirkconnel, a grand total of 100 miles away!

Fortunately, they did manage to get one close to home in the end but the turmoil and fear the young family experienced was totally avoidable and they all deserve a personal apology from the Government.