THE current coronavirus outbreak, thus far centred on, but not exclusive to, Brighton and Hove, illustrates perfectly the dangers inherent in allowing an “information vacuum” to arise.

As history teaches us, rumour and counter-rumour will inevitably rush in to fill such a space, fuelled nowadays particularly by the widespread availability of, as yet, entirely unregulated social media.

Your reporting of the fast-moving situation has been exemplary, and it is no surprise to learn that the BBC, to whom many will instinctively turn at a time like this, has sought your input.

With an expert recently quoted on Radio 4 opining that it could take a full 12 months to discover, develop and safety test a vaccine, Boris Johnson would surely be well advised to consider urgently creating a Cabinet-level post with sole responsibility for collecting, collating and disseminating high quality, objective and reliable information to the print and broadcast media, on a daily basis if necessary.

Such an appointment would go a long way to meeting the criteria rightly identified by Caroline Lucas, irrespective of party politics, as vital to future good governance while an exceptionally difficult pandemic is tackled.

Steve Williams, Foxhill, Peacehaven