Express & Star comment: Vaccines not the only key in coronavirus battle

The vaccine is being rolled out rapidly, just as flu jabs are provided each year. The nation is getting with the programme as hundreds of thousands of people start to protect themselves from the horrors of Covid-19.

Testing remains key.
Testing remains key.

That should not, however, mean that we let down our guard in terms of social distancing, self-isolation and testing.

Until a critical mass has been immunised, we have a moral responsibility to protect both ourselves and others by continuing to follow the rules. Not to do so is unsafe.

One of the most important steps that each of us can take is to be tested when it becomes necessary. Tests are necessary both for those with no symptoms and for those who have symptoms and are referred.

While we are being encouraged to work from home, there are still many who are out and about meeting others through their place of work. Whether they are teachers, shop workers or medical staff, it is imperative that they are tested regularly. It must be made easy for people to get tests, with systems in place so that people can fit a test into a busy routine, without losing money or having to ask for time off from their boss.

Vaccinations are key but so is testing so that the spread can be controlled and monitored. The World Health Organisation said at the very start of the pandemic that countries should ‘test, test and test again’ and the system of test and trace will have to operating until we can be satisfied that our nation is protected – probably in the late summer or autumn at the earliest.

So while we can all agree that there is light at the end of the tunnel, we have many more months of challenge to endure and cannot yet relax. On the contrary, now is the time to be more resolute, to be increasingly vigilant and to ensure we make it to the end. A different life awaits us when we emerge from the terrors of Covid-19 and we have a duty to make sure lives are not lost unnecessarily before then. Testing not only helps us to protect ourselves, it also helps to protect others and is beneficial to society.

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