Freedom Day, 21 June, is tantalisingly close.

But, as the hours drag by, the decision-makers hurry to move the goalposts – again!

Scientists and pundits compete to find problems, citing new variants, pressure on hospitals and a rise in infection rates.

Yet, government figures show new variants are so far under control, hospital admissions have fallen over the past week and Covid deaths are the lowest in nine months.

The vaccines work, with a staggering 41 million people having had their first jab and 29 million both.

However, we risk squandering this spectacular achievement, to the severe detriment of us all.

International travel, down 60 per cent worldwide, is down a full 97 per cent in the UK, at an estimated cost of £23 million a day.

The traffic light system is confusing everyone and, in the case of Portugal, switched from green to amber in a flash, causing untold havoc to holidaymakers there.

And while the USA, Spain and France are now accepting fully vaccinated travellers, we still impose onerous rules on anyone entering or leaving, whatever their vaccination status.

All this comes at a cost – to our economy and our confidence.

HMRC figures show 3.4 million workers remain on furlough, albeit down from 8.8 million in May 2020.

This living-saving drip will have to be switched off at some point and it’s not until it has that we will begin to regain the life we lost.

With the weapons to combat this virus now proven, it’s time to throw away those ghastly face masks, put our shoulders back and live with this disease and its variants.

Not lifting restrictions in 10 days’ time would be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Richard Drax

MP for South Dorset