Editor's note: This column was written ahead of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's announcement of tighter restrictions on Tuesday.

ONCE again, I find myself writing a column at the start of the week very unsure about where we will be by the time you read it.

All the signs are that this week will see new national restrictions introduced.

These seem unavoidable as infection rates continue to rise, the reproduction (R) number remains stubbornly above 1, and these rises spread beyond local clusters to the country as a whole.

It is worrying, but we are not in the same place as we were in February or March. Much more is understood about Covid-19, how it spreads and how it can be treated.

We also have more testing in place, although not yet enough. I will continue to argue for one of the promised ‘walk-in’ test centres to be provided in East Lothian – people should not have to make a 40-mile round trip to the airport.

Experience also means that we should be able to target restrictions better. One example is in the NHS itself. We all know that most of the NHS closed down when Covid first hit.

The result has been delays to routine surgery such as hip replacements, the interruption of many cancer services, and it becoming difficult to see a GP or a dentist.

In Parliament, my colleagues and I have been pressing for a quicker resumption of NHS services, and we will continue to do that, because the separation of facilities into Covid and non-Covid should mean we are able to do so safely. Hopefully that will be one of the benefits of experience.

Similarly, we cannot allow a repeat of what happened earlier this year in our care homes, but we must continue to find safe ways of allowing residents to have more contact with family, for the sake of their mental health.

This is the tightrope we are walking now, combining rigorous observance of the restrictions with smarter ways of keeping as much of life going as possible.