UNSURPRISINGLY for a campaign whose slogan is inspired by our very own Victoria Wood, Let’s Do It For Bury sums up all the pride and positivity we feel for our borough.

The last 12 months have been hard for everybody especially those who have experienced the tragedy of losing loved ones or whose business has struggled to survive through the pandemic.

But finally as better weather arrives with its longer evenings and lighter nights there is a sense of hope that we might finally be able to get back to normal sooner rather than later.

A total of 85,664 people registered with a Bury GP have now been vaccinated against coronavirus according to the latest figures and this number is rising daily.

It means that around 47% of the eligible population (182,100) have been given at least one of the two jabs necessary to protect against the potentially fatal illness.

But we must not get complacent. The weekly rate of new cases in Bury increased to 97.4 per 100,000 on March 20. The increase in numbers of new cases was mostly in young people, particularly secondary school-aged children and this increase in detected cases may be partly caused by increased testing for Covid-19 in that age group. However, increases in numbers were seen in other age groups as well, suggesting that this is not the only cause and increases in case numbers were seen in areas across the borough. Numbers of people in hospital with Covid-19 have been falling slowly, but not at all hospitals.

The message is clear: we all want to go back to normal, we all want to be in a situation - as we were prior to 2020 - where you can go to the pub and hug your mates and all these sorts of things that we used to do, but at the moment we need to be cautious about what we do and how we do it.

Dr Jeffrey Schryer, Chair of NHS Bury CCG, said: “Bury’s successful vaccination programme and testing offer, along with the effects of the recent lockdown, have seen us push Covid-19 infections downwards.

“But as we follow the government’s roadmap and have more freedom to mix with people from outside our own households we must remain vigilant at the continued threat of Covid-19. It is of course a high-contagious disease and spreads from person-to-person.

“Our new campaign urges the people of Bury to keep following the rules as they - hopefully - change over the next few weeks, and also to remember the very important basics of hands, face, space and keeping plenty of air in circulation.

“We are working really hard in the NHS and public health to contain this, pandemic and we’d urge people to keep doing their bit to help us stop the spread. That way we can all get back to doing the things we love as soon as possible.”

The Government road map sets out how we hope to get back to being able to see our friends and family. But this depends on us keeping Covid-19 infections down. So sticking to the guidelines now means more chance of getting back to normal sooner.

The goal is to protect the lives and livelihoods of people across Bury. And with that in mind it’s important we stay compliant and follow guidance when outside the home by keeping space, wearing a mask and using hand sanitiser, holding off on any holiday celebrations with people outside your bubble and not getting carried away with the sunshine.

Leader of Bury Council, Cllr Eamonn O’Brien added: “We are seeing great success with the vaccination rollout and my thanks goes out to the NHS and Council staff working so hard to keep that going.

“Residents have also played their part in this and the positive picture of our Covid rate declining significantly is in large part to the patience and continued compliance of them. But we cannot get complacent.

“We must continue to keep following the rules and guidance, and in time, we will be able to reopen fully with confidence and security.

“Over the past year we have truly seen the power of society: public services working together to put people first, neighbours checking in on each other and building new friendships, and the renewed recognition of our ‘key workers’, especially our health and care staff. The challenge will be keeping that spirit alive as we seek to build back better and tackle the raft of other issues that require our attention. I know our future is positive because we can rely on them to be there, no matter what.

“What we need now is the self-belief that we can do it. Let’s do more to support what makes our borough great: our diverse and vibrant local communities, our amazing public services and the key workers that run them, and our local businesses who need our help to recover.

“It will take everybody to make this happen: residents, businesses, government and external agencies. But if we show the same collaborative spirit as have during Covid, all our borough will be the better for it.”