LEISURE centres are currently closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic and those who use them for exercise are currently having to find alternative ways to keep fit within government guidelines.

In the meantime, the centres are being put to good use as you will see in our story on page 2.

Kendal Leisure Centre is one of several similar facilities in Cumbria which are being transformed into hubs for additional beds. The 500 beds countywide will be available if hospitals reach full capacity due to an influx of coronavirus patients and this will help take some of the strain off our amazing NHS staff.

Hopefully the beds won't be necessary but are a precaution - "a prudent and sensible approach given how the pandemic has developed in other countries" - according to Andrew Slattery, Assistant Chief Constable and chair of the multi-agency Cumbria Strategic Co-ordination Group.

Looking at the figures of coronavirus cases and deaths around the world, we certainly agree.

The involvement of army troops in setting up a medical facility may have been a jolt for anyone who saw them at work yesterday.

But it's also reassuring to know that the military has become so hands-on in what is, essentially, a project to help protect and save lives.

It's also a welcome example of how services are working together in Cumbria through this crisis.

The police, district and county councils, contractors, the military and other agencies have got together as a strategic group to get this project off the ground and give the NHS vital support.

We need all these services to pull together in this time of national - and international - crisis, and it's reassuring to know they are there to provide additional help in the weeks and months ahead.

We also echo the comments of Dr Shahedal Bari, medical director at Morecambe Bay health trust, who says "we continue to be overwhelmed by the response from our staff and within the community who are going above and beyond every day".

The kind of humanity we are seeing from so many, is encouragement that although the current situation feels bleak, we will get through it.