Posted: 31.03.21 at 18:57 by James Heappey
While, of course, I will be very pleased to not have to write columns on the state of play with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, this week does feel different - and much more positive - with the sun shining and some restrictions easing.
It is the first hurdle passed in this steady movement to normality. The key point to remember is that the reason we can now socialise in groups of six or two households outside and sports are able to return is because the four tests the Government set are being met.
These are that the vaccine deployment programme is continuing successfully, evidence shows the vaccine is sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated, current infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations, which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS, and that the assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by any new variants of concern.
We can all see the numbers declining rapidly and this is all down to the hard work throughout this lockdown and the huge impact the vaccine is having.
More than half the adult population now has coronavirus antibodies and here in Somerset 67 per cent of adults have now had at least one dose of the vaccine.
This all means we are on track to continue the roadmap to normality. We do, of course, need to be cautious when mixing with people - particularly over Easter weekend - and be vigilant.
But, there are plenty of reasons to remain optimistic that we will to be able to live our lives as we did more than a year ago.