Given that COVID-19 mass testing only really kicked off in the autumn, it is unfair to compare the amount of people confirmed with coronavirus now with the number from the first lockdown in early 2020.
But at the same time, it is pretty clear that a lot more people in rural areas have had the virus in recent weeks than at any stage last year.
As we move into the busy spring period, farmers need to be extremely careful (and probably even more so than last spring). With fieldwork to be done, cows to be calved and sheep lambed, it is a time of year when labour is already stretched. The last thing any farm family needs is this nasty virus entering their home.
It is also worth considering again safe working practices, and taking time to think whether there is a better way to complete a task. With the pressure our Health Service is under, we all have an obligation to minimise the risks. Don’t take any chances, especially with slurry and freshly calved cows.
We also must do our bit to protect others. While the vast majority of farmers are complying with the rules, including wearing masks in enclosed spaces, it is still surprising the number who seem to reckon that those rules simply don’t apply to them.
When we see the lengths that the likes of marts, feed companies and general farm supply businesses have gone to, to keep their staff and customers safe, it is just wrong if you decide to stride in the door as if everything is normal.
We must also show that same respect to the rules around social distancing when dealing with the veterinary profession, who provide a vital service that many of us will rely on in the coming weeks.
Looking ahead, the roll-out of the vaccine means that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but this pandemic is far from over.