This week saw a further easing of lockdown restrictions as we took another small step forward on the Government’s Roadmap.

The summer-like weather this week has I’m sure given everyone the opportunity to make the most of the new freedoms, but as we head into the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, let’s enjoy the further easing of restrictions safely.

Let’s keep sticking to the rules to make it more likely we will be able to continue with the remaining stages of the Roadmap.

Thanks to everyone’s hard-work in Redditch our infection rate is dropping. As I was writing this piece on Wednesday, the infection rate stood at 113 per 100,000 – that’s the lowest it’s been since December. And don’t forget, Redditch’s infection rate has fallen by 84% since it peaked at 721 per 100,000 back in January.

There’s still no getting way from the fact our infection rate remains the highest in Worcestershire, and stubbornly so, and the factors behind our higher infection rate are well rehearsed by now, but I want to be clear that Redditch is in no way more rule breaking than anywhere else in Worcestershire or the country. Residents have resolutely stuck to the rules and its thanks to this that our infection rate is dropping, and we can move forward on the Government’s Roadmap.

What’s crucial now is that everyone gets vaccinated when it’s their turn to do so. The latest NHS statistics shows more than 51% of adults in Redditch have now been vaccinated. I’m one of them and I didn’t suffer from any side effects at all after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Please, when it is your turn to do so get vaccinated. The vaccines are safe, effective and they’re already saving thousands of lives. The vaccines are also relieving pressure on the NHS too with hospitalisations falling.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and the vaccines are our way out of this pandemic.