Fife being among the regions with the highest rates of COVID in Europe is a harsh reminder that the virus is still with us and remains a significant threat.

While our approach to how we navigate through the pandemic will naturally change as the situation evolves, the recent figures show there is clearly no room for the kind of recklessness recently shown by the Conservatives in the UK Government.

The restrictions necessitated by the virus have been hard for all of us, which is precisely why cavalier talk of “Freedom Day” and a complete abandonment of all the precautions against coronavirus is so very dangerous.

Boris Johnson has been in dereliction of his duties since the very beginning of the pandemic, he has no right to the benefit of the doubt nor can he expect the public’s trust.

In a recent interview public health expert Professor Devi Sridhar called the UK Government’s approach “an experiment”. We deserver better than that.

Fortunately, health is a devolved matter and I very much welcome the more cautious tone taken by the First Minister.

The Scottish Government’s handling of the crisis has certainly not always been perfect but at this delicate moment it is encouraging to hear Nicola Sturgeon treat the situation with the seriousness that it merits.

The role out of the various COVID vaccines has clearly reduced the risks associated with the virus but it has certainly not eliminated it.

The most clinically vulnerable among us are still at significant risk if they do catch the virus while young people can, and are, become extremely sick after catching the virus.

Only last week the director of public health in neighbouring NHS Tayside warned of a spike in patients admitted to hospital with COVID, including young people in intensive care and high dependency units.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room to relax some restrictions in Scotland, presuming the scientific evidence allows, but it does mean that we can’t expect a rush to get back to the way things were before the pandemic will have positive results.

It’s vitally important that support for those forced to self-isolate continues so that those who are at risk of spreading the virus are able and encouraged to do the right thing.

Speaking from personal experience I can say that a period of self-isolation is a challenge, and there will be many who have been isolating in far tougher situations than mine.

People in low paid and precarious work have too often been threatened with a loss of pay when forced to self-isolate.

Ensuring that nobody suffers financially and supporting them during isolation isn’t just the morally right thing to do, it’s an effective public health measure that helps limits the spread of a dangerous virus.

The World Health Organisation as well as domestic clinical experts have been clear that the UK Government’s approach is experimental, premature and potentially dangerous.

The Scottish Government can’t be pressured into following that path. None of us should tolerate being the stakes in a Tory gamble