'IT'S been six months since Scotland entered lockdown. No one could have predicted the changes to our lives that this year has brought as a result of Covid19.

At the most recent update, the First Minister confirmed that Scotland is likely to remain in Phase 3 of the Scottish Government’s route map out of lockdown for some time to come. Now, as the virus looks to be on the increase again, is a time to pause and reflect. But it is also a time for us all to be vigilant as we approach the colder winter months.

I remember the start of lockdown in March. I had not long come back from a work trip to London. I remember standing in Waverley Station with my boss, Michael Russell MSP, and our officials and it was cold. I was wearing a winter coat. Now as I write this column the leaves on the trees in Balbirnie Park are turning. The last of the warm Summer sun is nearly over. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how Covid has changed the way I work, but also how quickly it seems that time has passed since March with winter just around the corner.

One of the ways we can all play an active part in defeating Covid19 is through downloading the Scottish Government’s new Protect Scotland app to help slow the spread of the virus. The app takes less than a minute to download and you will be alerted by the app if you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 - this will be done anonymously. You can download the app for free at: www.protect.scot

The other week I visited Keela ,in Glenrothes, who were successful in securing a Scottish Government contract at the start of the pandemic. As a result, the company have recruited 50 machinists – that’s 50 brand new jobs for our local area.

Some might remember that Keela employed many folk at their factory in Glenrothes right up until the 1990s when the jobs were outsourced because labour costs overseas were cheaper. But now some of those who last worked in the factory have come back to work as machinists. They are working to train the next generation.

It is a skill to sew, and watching people work methodically on the production of medical gowns to help in the fight against Covid19 certainly made me feel very humbled. I’m proud local people are helping to make a difference in the fight against Covid, but it’s also important that we learn some of the lessons that the epidemic has taught us and use that to work differently in future'.