Before you switch off for your well-deserved Christmas break, I have some important North Hampshire updates for you.

Testing for Covid is progressing well – as I write this, we’re getting through hundreds of tests a day locally.

Some 396 tests a day are taking place in Test Valley and a further 372 are occurring in Basingstoke and Deane and there is plenty of capacity in North West Hampshire and across the South East.

We’re the first country in the world to approve a Covid vaccine and it’s now being rolled out across the UK at pace. The Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, part of the NHS in Hampshire and Isle of Wight, is one of 50 hubs nationally to begin vaccinating patients.

More hospitals will start their vaccination programme over the coming weeks as the national programme ramps up.

We’re prioritising older people, care home workers and our front line NHS workers for the first phase of the programme.

Until the vaccine is fully rolled out, let’s continue to follow the rules and look out for each other during this time.

And finally for now, I’m pleased to announce that Hampshire Hospitals is receiving £4m out of the government’s hospital upgrade programme.

This money will go towards improving our local hospitals in a variety of projects such as refurbishments, upgrades to electrics, fire safety and ventilation and replacing hospital lifts.

I will keep you updated on this.

We end a difficult year with some real reason to be optimistic.

I hope you get to spend some time with your loved ones over the festive period – Merry Christmas!