BORIS JOHNSON unveiled an eminently sensible, and cautious, programme for unlocking the country.

Gone was the blind optimism of last year which may have contributed to the UK’s high death figures. Now there is a more measured approach which allows time for evaluation of each step as it is taken.

There are arguments for the Government to go faster in certain areas – golf still seems unnecessarily shut down and, if the weather allows, there could more be done for outside hospitality – but it is right that we slowly unlock.

Much has been made about the aviation industry not having time to plan for the summer season if it doesn’t learn its future until April, but it would be even worse for that industry if we rushed in to re-opening, causing a surge in infections and so cancelling the whole summer.

Even yesterday, at a time when we are supposed to be locked down, there were 10,641 new Covid infections. The disease is still out there. We must tread carefully.

The Government must now support schools as they prepare to reopen in a fortnight’s time. For example, they need access to proper testing programmes. And, despite what scientists say about children not transmitting the disease, teachers do look vulnerable and there is much to be said in favour of them getting vaccinations as soon as possible.