I understand the reasons why the Prime Minister made the difficult decision on 14 June to extend the period of current Covid restrictions until 19 July. Whilst I appreciate that there will be some disappointment that Stage 4 will come a little later than had hoped, we cannot risk the virus – especially its more transmissible variants - spreading more quickly than the vaccine programme and causing problems with NHS capacity and potentially more deaths.

I am delighted, however, that over 1.3 million doses of the vaccine have been given in Mid and South Essex and an incredible 80% of adults in the area have taken up the offer of the jab so far.
 
With the steep rise in Covid cases locally in early June that sadly saw Maldon report one of the highest case rates in Essex, it is a timely reminder that we cannot take the incredible progress we have made in vaccinations and overall case reduction for granted. Case rates have since dropped in Maldon but sadly not in Essex overall, so if you have not done so already, I would strongly encourage you all to make sure that you receive your vaccination as soon as you can or receive your second dose on time so that we can all ensure a speedy return to normality.