MUCH confusion ensued this week as we tried to figure out what’s what after Boris Johnson decided to veer England off in a different direction to the rest of the UK.

With a new, vague and ineffective message to stay alert in order to control the virus, many questioned whether this meant that we could start mingling with others and start getting back to normality.

It has now been almost two months since we entered lockdown. At the beginning of this period we all struggled to visualise what life would look like during such a restrictive way of living.

As a GP, I was unsure how we would cope with the pressures considering we were a service that was already very stretched. As a mum of two, I was worried about how I would home-school, work and juggle other aspects of daily life. As a daughter and a friend, I couldn’t fathom how I would cope without seeing my loved ones for an indefinite period of time. Well, as life would have it, the world has still moved on and we have all adjusted to the “new normal.” The question now though is will we ever be able to go back to how it used to be?

As we start to plan for a lockdown exit strategy, I think ahead of what our world post-covid will look like because so much has changed. Even going out for a simple activity like walking induces a sense of unease if anyone comes to close. Social distancing for the majority of the world has become normal – how will we return to touch again with strangers? New habits such as hand washing have become subconscious now and soon wearing face coverings will too.

These habits will remain with us for a very long time as we move towards a slightly paranoid but certainly more hygienic society.

This pandemic has highlighted to us how important it is to take care of one another especially the elderly and vulnerable. Children growing up in this time will have observed this and will take this forward. Though coronavirus has brought much pain and misery, it has united communities, teaching us to appreciate the immaterial and value one another’s contributions to society more.

We have all had to experiment with technology and seek digital solutions due to working remotely. This may have been in the form of doing virtual meetings for work, digital teaching for students, online workouts and even attending virtual events and conferences. This pandemic has taught us other ways of doing things, opening up potential for more freedom. It has also shown us how we can work in a more environmentally-friendly manner after all, our planet needs us to think more about its needs and not just ours.

Pre-covid, the NHS was crawling towards innovation with telephone and video consultations a distant goal but enter covid-19 and within days of lockdown, GP practices were offered the support and resources to be able to consult remotely. This has transformed the way we deliver care and will remain with us forevermore.

Travelling far and wide was once taken for granted however people will think twice now about this. While this makes me sad, the pandemic has exposed the ugly side of globalisation and regaining trust will take a long time.

As restrictions begin to ease over coming weeks and months, it will be interesting to see how things pan out for us. The pandemic will end and we will learn to live with coronavirus but how soon and how effective this will be will depend on our current actions.

Thankfully, in Scotland we have received a clear and concise message that our lockdown has been extended for a further three weeks with only one new change and this is that we can now exercise outdoors as much as we want to but only with social distancing. We must respect the rules and guidance being given to us by the government by staying home, respecting social distancing and reducing the spread of this disease. Only then will we be able to step forwards into a new world full of new possibilities.