THE key to the containment of pandemics like the coronavirus is the early recognition of the existence of a new potentially dangerous virus. As a number of historical cases have shown, such viruses frequently first appear in poor countries which lack the medical staff to spot the danger, and by the time it is recognised, the virus is widely spread.

Hence it is important that the healthcare available in poor countries is improved, which is only going to happen with international aid.

It is thus particularly unfortunate that Boris Johnson has chosen the middle of the coronavirus epidemic to downgrade the importance of the UK’s aid program.

He would do well to consider that the poor African with his hand out might well be the source of the next killer pandemic to strike the UK.

Apart from being the right thing to do, international aid is thus actually in our own selfish best interests.

Alan Jordan, Middridge