It has been many weeks since I have spoken about Coronavirus in this column, but given the announcement from the Prime Minister on Monday, it is timely to do so again.

I know how much everyone was looking forward to the lockdown removal on 21st June and I regret that the Government has decided to extend the date.

I wrote this column yesterday (Wednesday) morning before the vote but am clear that, unless I see compelling evidence before the vote, I will not be able to support this decision for West Dorset.

We are in a particularly good place in Dorset. We have not had anyone die from Covid for almost 2 months. We are practically at the top of the vaccination league table and 80% of adults have been vaccinated in Dorset.

There is only one person in hospital in the whole of Dorset who is poorly with Coronavirus. The risk of our hospitals being overwhelmed is extremely low. There are, however, plenty of people on waiting lists for treatment that they couldn’t have during the pandemic, and those people deserve the care and attention that they need.

Covid is also not the only player here. We need to consider those who are affected in other ways - employment, mental wellbeing, health, loneliness, and uncertain future for young people just leaving school or university.

Coronavirus will continue to exist and it will continue to mutate. We are likely going to need new iterations of the vaccine each year, much like with the flu vaccine. The virus isn’t going anywhere, so we have to learn to manage it.

But for the time being, given the cross-party position in Parliament, I’m afraid we will have some restrictions extended and therefore we will have to put 19th July in the diary.