Less than three weeks ago, the seven-day positive test rate for Covid per 100,000 people in West Dunbartonshire was 95. Thanks to your compliance with rules and guidance, as I write this, that number has dropped again to below 16.

There has been a fantastic effort from everyone in our communities, and as the vaccine roll out continues to move swiftly despite UK supply issues, the recent brighter weather heralds a brighter future for everyone.

As I’ve said before, though, we cannot be complacent. Every time a sharp fall is reported, there are some in our communities who relax too much and start taking risks. At that point we then see numbers spiking again, undoing everyone’s hard work.

Since January, West Dunbartonshire has had three distinct spikes, with the highest seeing levels up at 281 on January 9. We’re in a better place now, and we must stay there. Too many people have lost their lives to this virus, and many more are left living with lifelong life changing conditions and disabilities as a result of being infected.

With an average across the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area of just above 38, we’re doing really well to have less than half that rate. Only Inverclyde can boast a better rate, at just 11.6, and with common sense and continued high compliance with the rules and guidance, we will soon suppress this virus and get back to a more normal way of life.

This election, the council is allowing political parties to advertise on street furniture (mainly lampposts). Posters must be removed by Sunday, May 16.

If you think a poster is in an inappropriate place, please do not inundate the busy election team with queries. Instead, contact a local councillor from the relevant party, or use the contact details printed on the poster, and ask them to ensure their campaign is keeping within the rules.

If you haven’t already applied for a postal vote, I’m afraid you’ve missed the deadline. You can still apply for a proxy vote in some circumstances. Search online for ‘proxy vote Scotland’ for information.

Voting in person at a polling station will be safe, if you follow guidance on signs at the polling station and any instructions given by polling station staff. It will no doubt feel different. You’ll have to wear a mask (unless you are exempt), maintain social distancing, and we recommend you bring your own pen/pencil to fill out your ballots (clean pencils will be available). You may also have to queue as numbers inside will be limited and there will be regular cleaning taking place.

Voting is so important, and nobody should miss out. Please plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time.