The leader of Torridge District Council has hailed the district’s community spirit in the fight against the coronavirus crisis.

Councillor Ken James said the council has managed to keep its important services running to a high standard, with refuse collections still running on time.

He said the council is working on initiatives including food deliveries and delivering temporary accommodation for homeless people.

It is also starting to distribute the money provided by the Government to support businesses and directing people to benefits they may be entitled to.

Councillor James said: “The community spirit I’ve witnessed has been truly uplifting with people volunteering for the NHS, checking and assisting neighbours with their needs such as shopping and supporting more vulnerable people in general.

“The comradery has allowed organisations across the district to support each other both on a government level and in the community and of course we should also praise the work of all our emergency services but particularly NHS and care workers who are making huge sacrifices to help others.

“Thank you to everyone who continues to help in dealing with all the different issues caused by the crisis and to assure people that we are all working as hard as possible to reduce the disruption and fallout.”

Cllr James said he welcomed the new powers for police to deal with those not adhering to government measures, and said the council had been working with police to ensure businesses that should not be open are remaining shut.

He added the council was making contingency plans for more burials as the outbreak heads towards its anticipated peak in the infection rate.

He said: “Our officers are working on many more initiatives such as food deliveries, accommodation to help those in need off the streets and into temporary accommodation to name just a few.

“Unfortunately this also includes contingency plans for more burials as we head towards the anticipated peak in the infection rate. We hope that some of this will not be needed and that’s why it is imperative that people adhere to the government advice to socially distance themselves from others and stay at home.

“We will continue to take any measures necessary to support this such as the closure of access to Northam Burrows to all cars.”