‘PING the Merciless’, ran a headline in The Sun recently.

Humour’s an essential ingredient at the moment, as the NHS Covid app plays havoc across the country.

It seems that both we and ministers are confused.

On Monday, we were promised freedom, only to discover that at least half a million people had already been told to isolate for 10 days.

I sincerely hope this was an inadvertent consequence of government planning, rather than an intended one.

Thankfully, critical workers, including NHS staff, who have been double-jabbed, are released from this onerous burden.

For the rest of us, this won’t apply to mid-August.

Meanwhile, ‘pinging’ is damaging our confidence, and the economy.

The vaccines, which we were repeatedly assured would liberate us, are suddenly no longer the white knight galloping to the rescue.

Instead, we are now threatened with ‘vaccine passports’, which will be the first time in decades that access to certain venues and large public events will be judged on the status of your health.

Pubs have yet to be excluded, and where next?

Universities? Schools?

For me, this is crossing a line.

Coercion is not the way forward, even if it is an attempt to persuade the young to have the jab.

Parliament has already voted to make all care worker jobs contingent upon inoculation.

I voted against.

It would seem that, rather than living with Covid, we are living with restrictions, and they’re being applied with increasing force.

The passport – proof of double vaccination – will inevitably be challenged by many MPs in the Commons and, no doubt, in the courts.

Constantly changing the rules to compromise our way through this pandemic is not the answer.