AS we slowly and safely edge our way out of the lockdown restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, I would like to thank everybody for their patience and their observation of the Scottish Government’s guidelines over the past three months – without which we would be in a much worse place now.

I would also like to pay special tribute to our emergency services and essential workers, who have stepped up to the mark and made us all very proud of the society we are creating in Scotland.

Because of our joint efforts we have managed to suppress the spread of the Covid-19 disease dramatically from 585 new cases daily in early April to an average of 25 a day for the past two weeks.

Deaths attributed to Covid-19 have also dropped dramatically from more than 50 each day throughout April, peaking at 84 on April 15, to a daily average of three over the past two weeks.

On May 21, when the Scottish Government’s plan to bring us through the pandemic was published, there were 25,000 people in Scotland identified who could transmit the disease. By late June there were only 2,000 infectious people in Scotland – an amazing reduction of more than 90 per cent.

All of these improvements have meant that with the correct safety measures, we can reopen all schools on a full-time basis in mid-August, and West Dunbartonshire Council are working now to ensure that this can happen smoothly.

Read more: OPINION Gil Paterson MSP: The pandemic response is humbling

Providing we can maintain these improvements, it is planned to open the tourism sector, with all holiday accommodation, together with pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas, on July 15.

But this entirely depends on a continued suppression of the disease – which, as yet, has no cure – so we must remain vigilant.

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AS a result of the murder of Paige Doherty in Clydebank, and the subsequent delay in returning her body for interment to her family caused by delays by defence lawyers calling for a second post mortem, I have been working since 2016 on a member’s bill in the Scottish Parliament which will put a time limit on the call for second post mortems.

I am pleased that my draft bill has been passed to the Justice Committee who will take evidence and undertake all necessary consultations to bring the bill to stage 1 of the legislative process for parliamentary approval.

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Although the Scottish Parliament is now technically in recess until August 11, because of the coronavirus pandemic the Scottish Government will be available to deal with any issues arising from the disease.

Although working remotely we can still be contacted at the usual email address and phone number.