By Iain Gray

SLOWLY but surely, we are beginning to turn our minds and efforts to finding ways out of crisis and lockdown and back to something closer to “normal”.

There is a long way to go, and we have to be very careful that we do not find ourselves thrown backwards by a new resurgence of coronavirus.

It is also becoming clear that restarting may be a lot more difficult than closing down.

That is certainly true of opening schools, with pupils facing a school week partly in school and partly online – so called “blended learning”.

That is going to be a big challenge for parents juggling family life and their own work, and for teachers, who have been running children’s “hubs” or home schooling.

A great deal of planning is underway in East Lothian right now to make this work for our local schools, and I argue in Parliament at every opportunity for that to be matched by production of national online learning materials and, above all, government resources to pay for the extra costs being incurred.

The NHS did not “close down” but many services did, as efforts were ruthlessly refocussed on Covid-19.

I know that many constituents saw operations such as hip replacements cancelled, and now they are asking me when these procedures will start again.

The truth is that we do not yet have a detailed recovery plan for the NHS and we are pressing in Parliament to see one soon.

There is no doubt that the direct toll taken by Covid-19 will be added to by deaths due to cancers detected later than they should have been, or people who were reluctant to “bother” the NHS when they really should have.

We will keep pressing for services to reopen but, in the meantime, if you are unwell, please do seek medical help.

A&E is open, with extra hygiene in place to keep patients safe.