'IN many ways it comes as a relief to be able to write a column for you that is about something other than coronavirus but, given the disruption that the global pandemic has caused to all of our lives, it gives me no pleasure at all to have to return to another issue that seriously threatens our economic wellbeing.

Boris Johnson made a flying visit to Scotland last week but instead of jetting between a handful of handpicked photo ops, he should have been apologising after the publication of a new report which found that people in Fife have already been left £726.51million worse off as a result of Brexit. That’s right, nearly three quarters of a billion pounds, representing almost £2,000 a head and a collapse of 40% in our local GDP.

This new analysis makes clear that any form of Brexit will inflict major harm on Scotland’s economy.

These Tory Brexiteers at Westminster want to drag Scotland out of the EU against our will. In the middle of a global pandemic that’s the last thing our economy needs.

The people of my Cowdenbeath constituency didn’t vote for this Tory Government and they certainly didn’t vote for Brexit – but Boris Johnson simply doesn’t care.

With Westminster hellbent on taking a wrecking ball to our economy, it's clearer than ever that the only way to protect Scotland's interests and our place in Europe is to become an independent country. I thought I was going to be able to get through this column without any new coronavirus information but I can’t.

Scotland’s approach to implementing the ‘test, trace, isolate, support’ strategy, Test and Protect, is now live across the country.

Test and Protect will help us gradually change the restrictions that help to suppress COVID-19 so it is important that we all know how to play our part in making it work.

If you experience any one of the symptoms - a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you must immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days. As soon as you start showing symptoms you should go to www.nhsinform.scot or call 0800 028 2816 to arrange to get tested.

Should you test positive, contact tracers will ask you to list people you’ve been in close contact with, and places you’ve been, from 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms until you self-isolated.

Sitting alongside Trace and Protect, physical distancing and good hand hygiene continues to play a huge role as minimise the spread of infection and we can all use FACTS to beat this virus:

F - Face coverings to be worn in shops and on public transport

A - Avoid crowded places

C - Clean hands and surfaces regularly

T - Two metre distancing

S - Self-isolate and book a test

Stay safe and keep following the Scottish Government’s advice'.