We now know what the ‘road map’ to ease lockdown restrictions in England looks like.
The measures set out by the Government show the way they want to return us to some sort of normality.
In just over a week’s time, our schools will reopen. By the end of March, we will again be able to meet friends or family outside, including in our own gardens.
This follows the news that research suggested the UK vaccination programme is having a huge impact on reducing serious illness from coronavirus and helping to reduce hospital admissions.
Indeed, we are seeing admissions at the Royal Shrewsbury and Princess Royal Hospitals coming down.
But – and this is a big but – the number of new cases, the number of people in hospital and the number of people dying is still too high.
I’m aware that I sound like something of a killjoy when I say this but please remember we are not out of the woods yet.
I said this at Christmas and I make the same plea now that some of the lockdown restrictions are to be lifted: don’t think about what you can do, think about what you should do.
The restriction around meeting friends outside will be lifted in the week of the Easter Bank Holiday, which will no doubt lead to the temptation for some to have family or friends around for a celebration.
But the last thing any of us want is to see another rise in the spread of this disease, and another rise in deaths, which would bring about yet another lockdown.
We all want to get outside, especially now the weather is improving. We all want to meet up with our loved ones again, my frontline colleagues in the NHS arguably more than anyone else, but we must remain cautious.
Tragically, since the start of the pandemic, more than 500 people at our hospitals have lost their lived because of coronavirus.
More than 500 people in less than a year. That is 500 too many. Every single addition to that total is one too many.
So I urge you once more to do the right thing. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it in the end.
It has been made clear that we will only move to the next phase in easing lockdown if all of the measures required are met.
That means that we all have our part to play in making the easing of lockdown work.
That means that as well as doing the right thing for the good of others, we can be selfish and do it for our own means.
Do you want to be able to go to the pub soon? Then think about what you do today. Do you want a summer holiday? Then think about what you do today.
This has been a long, hard winter. Spring is on the horizon and that, in itself, brings fresh hope of better days ahead.
By doing the right thing, we can make sure those bright days return.