With things opening up in time for the deputy First Minister to get her hair done to face Ryan Tubridy on ‘The Late Late Show’, we seem to be entering a new phase of the pandemic.

TV pictures from India portray what happens when a health service is overrun and how important it was (and is) to protect our health and social care services.

Hard to imagine what it must be like to have a relative die because there was no oxygen in the hospital and for relatives scrambling to buy oxygen on the open market. We must not take these things for granted or fail to appreciate those who see to it that supplies are safely and adequately maintained.

The emphasis on collecting accurate data here in order to monitor the pandemic is not always the case and in India the reporting of cases and deaths is felt to be very underestimated.

In India, public health measures such as hand hygiene, social distancing and face mask or shield wearing are not all that they should be. Case identification and testing, treatment, contact tracing and quarantining are not good. It is thought that in India only 10 per cent of the population may have been vaccinated (despite the fact that the country is the biggest exporter of vaccines in the world) and all of this has been compounded by religious and electoral rallies.

In many countries they may have little science to believe in or to follow but those who fail to respect the virus will pay a high price.

Whilst our Health Committee at Stormont continues to investigate how the disease was managed in our care home there are some hopeful reports from the prisons. So far no-one has died of Covid in our prisons and there have only been a handful of positive cases.

Since the pandemic started 153 prison service staff are reported tested positive – around half of those since the start of the second wave in January. Just four prisoners have tested positive within the general population, with seven testing positive during the 14-day isolation period when there were first committed to jail. One prisoner tested positive prior to being transferred to jail, and three others contracted the virus during treatment at an outside hospital.

Yesterday (27 April) in the community there are 109 cases but no deaths reported. 61 people are in hospital, 9,253 have been discharged since the pandemic started and 2,143 people have died.

Belfast has been the epicentre with 22,495 cases and 387 deaths. 939,444 have been tested and 119,894 have tested positive. In the last seven days there have been 670 cases and overall 2143 deaths.

There are 62 cases in hospital with five in intensive care and there are four active outbreaks in care homes. Vaccination has now reached the 35-39 year olds and many of the new cases are in these age groups and younger but there is a good response to vaccine.

Nevertheless, while we may be entering a new phase, we have a bit to go yet.