Step four of the Covid road map started on Monday, writes Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie.

This builds on the process we have made to get back to what we have been used to.

The government has decided, quite rightly in my view, to trust people and in the brilliant vaccine roll out that has seen more than two thirds of the population receive two doses of our vaccines against this virus.

Infections are now rising and so are hospitalisations, but the vast majority of those in hospital are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated. Young people, especially, need to come forward and have the jab to help the NHS.

The whole idea of the vaccines was to stop the NHS from being overwhelmed by hospitalisations and to limit deaths from Covid. Like all vaccines they are not 100 per cent effective but their effectiveness is very good, especially after two doses.

We need to start to focus on what matters here and to block out quite a bit of noise – a good proportion of it politically motivated. All models show there will be a rise in infections following the implementation of step 4.

Yet, this is not like previous waves of the virus. At this time in January with roughly the same level of infections, thousands were being admitted to hospitals and the death toll was in the hundreds heading towards the thousands a day. We are thankfully not in that position. In fact, on Friday, there were 11 patients in Gloucestershire’s hospitals with Covid.

It is an incredibly difficult balance to achieve and believe the Prime Minister was spot on when he said. If we do not unlock our country now, when will we?

I think we should trust people to use their common sense and wear masks and social distance when it is crowded, just as the PM cautioned. Businesses across Stroud, the Valleys and Vale know what to do now.

They will use their risk assessment knowledge and they know their customers. We all need to take responsibility for our actions. The first one is to get vaccinated and have two doses.

However, I think the government does need to bring forward the 16th August date for test and release.

Under that programme, those who are double jabbed or under 18 will no longer need to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with Covid.

Many businesses are reporting issues with healthy staff having to stay at home on top of recruitment issues. This tweak to the system would help.