Whilst it’s clear that the Coronavirus doesn’t adhere to borders it has impacted people the length and breadth of the country. It’s also clear that some areas have been impacted worse than others. This has been particularly true for us in Inverclyde as the most affected area in Scotland according to the latest saddening statistics.

Official figures illustrate that the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 here stand at 11.9 for every 10,000 people, while the overall national figure is 4.2 per 10,000. We cannot forget those in our community who have sadly lost their lives to this virus, and my thoughts are with anyone who may be mourning the loss of relative, friend or loved one at this time.

Although some of said that the virus has been a leveller; we know that has not been the case. Areas with higher levels of deprivation than their neighbouring council areas have been more seriously impacted by the virus. The Telegraph recently reported that not long before the virus took hold, Greenock town centre had ranked the highest levels of deprivation in Scotland.

Right now, we need every piece and penny of support we can get, from wherever it comes. I’ve called on the Scottish Government to ensure that every penny of funding allocated by the UK’s Prime Minister does reach Inverclyde Council to bolster their efforts. The Chancellor has announced an extension of the “furlough” job retention scheme, which will come as a relief to many businesses and workers. I’ve been encouraged to see local politicians from all parties urge the Scottish Government to provide further support for Greenock and Inverclyde. As politicians we can and do disagree on political matters, but I know every loss of life is a source of great sadness to anyone in public office, wherever and whoever they are. Any suggestion otherwise is unfortunate.

After eight weeks under lockdown, we have now reached the point that we can hopefully begin to explore an exit strategy and start planning for how to supress the coronavirus post lockdown but also allow us to gradually resume our economies and some normality - whatever that new normality looks like. Both the UK and Scottish Governments have been clear that this will be a cautious, gradual process. As Boris Johnson issued a 50 page document outlining the measures that England will take to ease itself safely out of the lockdown, I hope to see similar guidelines issued by Nicola Sturgeon in the coming the days to answer the many questions that local Scottish businesses have about when they might be allowed to open safely.

On non-Covid news, many readers will also be aware that the Kilcreggan ferry will finally become part of the government run Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services network from Monday, June 1, when the service will passed from the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) to Transport Scotland. It’s fair to say it’s often been a troubled service, like many of Scotland’s ferry connections.

If CalMac are to run it, I think commuters on both sides of the water will be expecting a reliable service on a vessel which does not let them down. Now more than ever, reliable cross Clyde connectivity is needed to help those who need it most.

It’s undeniably been a difficult few months for everyone, I personally know the heartbreak and loss that the virus has brought to some in our community, we can but hope that the worst is over. My office is still helping constituents with any issues they may have, so please feel free to email me at jamie.greene.msp@parliament.scot.