Coronavirus: Man's ingenious solution to cuddle his grandma again goes viral

As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention - and the coronavirus pandemic is no exception.

Humans have a canny habit of being at their most ingenious during times of crisis, and what we all wouldn't give for a solution that allowed us to safely meet our vulnerable loved ones again.

Enter Antony Cauvin - a 29-year-old plasterer-turned-inventor from Stratford-upon-Avon, who dreamed up a scheme befitting of Back To The Future's Emmett Brown so that he could hug his grandma for the first time in months.

The "Cuddle Curtain" is made up of a see-through shower curtain, fitted with pairs of lengthy safety sleeves on either side so that two people can move effortlessly into place opposite one another.

"Last weekend was when I decided to buy all the materials, and I planned it out myself," explained Mr Cauvin to Sky News.

"Really it's bizarre that you can buy a clear shower curtain, I don't know why they sell them given you would think you would want privacy, however they do sell them so I bought one.

"Then I bought some shoulder-length sleeves, which I could fix by putting the holes through the plastic, tape them up and then put your arms through and wrap your arms round somebody."

As unlikely as it may sound, even to Mr Cauvin himself, the invention has so far worked a treat.

"Before we took it to my grandparents' house, I tested it with my wife and it worked," he said.

"We giggled about it but thought, 'this could actually work', so we took it up to my grandparents and put it up in the garden while they were in the conservatory."

The results speak for themselves - a delighted 'Grannan' who was able to hug her grandson again, with zero skin or breath contact necessary.

And to ensure the Cuddle Curtain can be used again, the sleeves and the curtain itself are disinfected after each hug so that someone else can have a go.

Anyone who uses it also has to wear their own pair of disposable gloves for extra safety.

Mr Cauvin has left it in his grandparents' garden so that their seven other grandchildren and three great-grandchildren can come along for their own cuddles.

"When you've known someone all your life, to be able to hug that person again... it brought a tear to everybody's eye," said Mr Cauvin.

"But we were also giggling that much, just because it seemed such a far-fetched and bonkers idea. We never touched any part of Grannan at all - I'm a believer in social distancing and don't want to put anyone at risk."

Mr Cauvin's wife Miriam posted a video of the first hug with Grannan on social media, and since Friday afternoon it has amassed more than 100,000 shares and 3.2 million views.

The couple have been inundated with messages of amazement, but Mr Cauvin hopes the Cuddle Curtain will have a pretty short shelf life.

"I've always been very close to my grandparents. I see them as second parents," he said.

"Not being able to see them has been tough, tougher for them than it is for us even because Grannan is a very affectionate person. You feel you haven't seen them because you haven't had that cuddle.

"I've never invented anything... but hopefully if we find a vaccine for this horrible disease, it won't have to last."