The NSA have expressed its condolences and best wishes to those affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

In a statement NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said:

"The deepening impact of Covid-19, coronavirus, has been sobering during this week. On both a global and a national level the NSA offers its condolences and best wishes to all who have been directly affected, either individually or through relatives and friends. Health and wellbeing are of utmost importance, but the economic impact being felt by some in society will be causing real hardship, and more broadly the disruption and related costs will be felt for a long time to come.

"Within the sheep farming world, we are fortunate to have close and supportive communities around us and despite the self-isolation policies we are hearing of many examples where once again people are helping to look after each other. On one hand, working in relative isolation and not coming into contact with many others brings problems and risks – on this occasion, it can be said to be beneficial and many sheep farmers would say they already live in a world of semi-permanent isolation.

"Being lambing time, for many it will have been very much business as usual, looking out at a world that appears to be in chaos but as this episode continues it will affect everyone and sheep farmers, just like everyone else, need to be taking steps to reduce risks and to do what they can to look after relatives, friends, and neighbours. While coronavirus is a very different situation to Schmallenberg and Blue Tongue etc., livestock farmers should have a reasonable grasp of disease transmission and risk assessments and we should be in a good position to apply the best possible biosecurity principles alongside a growing understanding of the nature of this virus and advice coming from health specialists.

"We are hearing of temporary lambing positions being cancelled but also of a resurgence of interest from both farmers and lambers to help those in need at this busy time. Our advice is simply that members should follow government advice and apply this to their own situations, particularly ensuring that no one having had symptoms should be brought into contact, and that at risk categories of people should be isolated.