I hope that, by the time you read this, there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind about the importance of a full lockdown and that, albeit with a heavy heart, we are all avoiding contact with others except for a very few justifiable reasons.

Early signs suggest not only is the new variant virus much more transmissible (confirmed), but infected patients of all ages are falling ill and developing life-threatening symptoms in increasing numbers. Regardless, however transmissible the new virus proves to be, infection is not possible if you have no contact with it; avoiding contact with others and where they have been works, as was proved by the initial lockdown last March.

If ever there was a single, tragic oxymoron, partial (or tiered) lockdown has to be it. The virus has spread through asymptomatic carriers very effectively, whether at schools and colleges or places of work, and heightened transmissibility has caused the recent tsunami of cases. But isolation works and, instead of looking for ways of minimising the impact of soft amber-coloured restrictions, surely the best approach is to maximise the effect of a total restriction. Three weeks of severity is both more effective and likely to be much cheaper in the long term.

Many of us will have been helping the beleaguered track and trace programme over the holidays, each day worryingly busier than the last, each day reaching people more seriously ill. There is still too much time wasted on leaving voicemails or explaining to people why it is important to isolate and to track any possible contacts. Why hasn’t some of the money wasted so far been spent on public information? Who (over the age of 50) can forget ‘don’t dazzle, dip your headlights’, ‘Charley says…’ or even ‘It’s Julie! Don’t play with fireworks.’

As one medic recently put it, you can’t catch Ebola from afar. A three-week drastic measure easily outweighs months of tiered rule-bending.