Next week marks a real milestone in the path back towards normal life.

The Prime Minister and the Chief Medical Officer confirmed this week that the key tests in the Covid roadmap – that the number of infections, hospital admissions and deaths are low and falling, and new particularly-infectious mutations like the Brazil/Japan variant and the South Africa variant remain under control – are being met and so we can continue with the next stage of lifting restrictions.

Just a couple of months ago, around 1,000-1,200 people were dying each day; now it’s 25-30. At the start of February, there were 211 Covid in-patients at Russells Hall and 32 were in critical care (out of a normal critical care capacity of 12); now there are 28 in-patients with Covid-19 and just three needing critical care.

So from Monday we will be able to do more of the things that we enjoy, many more businesses will be able to reopen. Shops will be able to reopen, as well as hairdressers, beauty salons, gyms, zoos, libraries and community centres. Pubs will be able to reopen their beer gardens and restaurants will be able to serve people outside. Driving lessons can resume (obviously not linked to the beer gardens!) and learners who have been waiting months for their tests will be able to book them from the 22nd.

One of the hardest parts of coronavirus restrictions has been not being able to see loved ones – particularly older relatives in care homes. While we can already meet up to five other people - or one other household - outdoors, from Monday, the rules on care home visits will change to allow residents to have a second regular visitor.

It’s really important that we all continue to take sensible precautions, and continue to follow the rules that are in place, so that more restrictions can be lifted soon so.

There has been a lot of controversy about media reports of Covid passports and I’ve had a lot of emails about it, with views being evenly split.

My own view is that while I would strongly encourage everybody to have the vaccine when they are offered it – and, like three-fifths adults in Britain I have already had my first jab – I am not in favour of forcing people to be vaccinated.

We know that some sort of scheme is going to be necessary if people are hoping to go on overseas holidays later this year or next year, and so it’s important to look at how that scheme could work, how we make sure that it is fair to those who can’t have the vaccine, haven’t yet been offered it, or – for whatever reason – have chosen not to accept it.

I want restrictions here lifted as soon as it is safe to do so. The things that are being allowed from next Monday, and the other activities that are due to be allowed from next month, shouldn’t need people to be vaccinated or to show a recent test result, but if showing that you have either been vaccinated, have had a test or are immune because you have recently had the virus means we can look at having big crowds at football games, or massive music festivals, then it is an option that should be considered.