This week, Beaconsfield MP Joy Morrissey writes exclusively to Bucks Free Press readers:

This week we took a small but decisive step towards exiting the lockdown.

These past two months have been defined by our clear message to ‘Stay at Home’. Many have therefore asked whether it was necessary to drop this in favour of the new ‘Stay Alert’ message.

The fact is that exiting lockdown will not be as simple as entering it. It will be a long, slow, and complex process.

This reflects the level of risk of coronavirus that was present in the community. When lockdown was implemented in March, the outbreak was out of control with the average person infecting three more people. Such stark realities required unprecedented levels of government control and restrictions.

However, as the threat decreases, and lockdown is eased, it is the government’s responsibility to return agency and freedom to the British people. Whilst that involves allowing people to take unlimited exercise, for example, it also comes with increased individual responsibility.

Of course, people can find loopholes and unlikely and unique scenarios which may appear to adhere to the rules. But ask yourselves, is that responsible? Is it necessary? Are you using your common sense?

‘Stay Alert’ should serve as a reminder that we cannot become complacent and avoid the rules of social distancing. The virus is not gone and won’t be for a long time. We therefore must remain vigilant by staying alert and not letting our resolve and discipline slip.

It is never any government’s wish to heavily police its citizens and lock them up in their own homes. However, in this new step, we are entrusting an element of responsibility upon yourselves. By respecting this responsibility, we will see the rate of infection continue to fall, allowing more of society to reopen such as schools, shops, restaurants, and even pubs.

Until then please, Stay Alert by: staying at home as much as possible; working from home if you can; limiting contact with other people; observing social distancing by keeping two metres apart; and washing your hands regularly.

By doing this we can control the virus, and ultimately save lives.