Glasgow being put into level four restrictions is a blow for everyone who has worked hard to fight the spread of COVID 19.

The impacts on people’s wellbeing, on our freedoms, and on jobs and businesses should never be downplayed. But, for the first time in a long time, there is also a real prospect for hope. Rapid deployment of vaccines, especially to the most vulnerable groups, could start to turn things around in a matter of months.

No one likes what’s happening. But while we’re all sick of it, we’ve got to stick with it. The 5,000 lives lost to date across Scotland are devastating, and to lose many more when we are in touching distance of a vaccine would be doubly sickening. So we do need a big - hopefully final - collective effort to get through this.

As well as each of us doing what’s asked of us, we need every level of government to be throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at this.

Scottish Greens MSPs have been leading calls for three things that are now absolutely vital. 

First, we need mass testing. Alison Johnstone MSP has been saying this pretty much every week since April. The Council Leader hinting this week that Glasgow could be in line for that was welcome, but it should have already happened long before now.

Second we need to make sure people get the financial and social support they need. Patrick Harvie MSP has called on employers to use furlough to keep jobs, as well as for increases to statutory sick pay, action to ensure higher take-up of self-isolation support grants, and extra funding for Glasgow City Council to step up help to the most vulnerable.

Finally, we need to keep people safe at work. There are worries about schools staying open, even in level four. Green MSP Ross Greer won an agreement this week to step up school safety, in particular demanding better treatment of pregnant and vulnerable staff who’ve been denied safe home-working by some councils, including Glasgow. The Director of Education later told me that she has ordered Heads to urgently review risk assessments for these staff. That must result in their requests now being agreed to.

The other thing we must do, if a post-covid world is coming into view, is to step up work that’s already begun on the kinds of issues where we shouldn’t want to go back to the ‘old ways’.

So where Greens have campaigned for the pop-up walking and cycling routes now in place across much of the city, we now need work to begin to make them permanent. Where we’ve stood up for people in low paid or precarious work and insecure housing, Governments must now act to give them lasting protections. And where we’ve championed a green recovery, support for nature and access to better quality greenspaces, we need to see the money and policy plans that can make that a reality.

Things will be tough in the weeks ahead, but doing what’s asked of us will save lives and mean we can all begin to hope.