Our weekly COVID cases in East Ayrshire are currently 38 (31.1 per 100,000), down 7 from last week.

The threshold for level one is 20 per 100,000.

The latest figures cover the period between May 2-8.

At least 24 of those cases are in Kilmarnock and surrounding areas, three are in Mauchline, the remaining 11 are spread amongst the 25 other neighbourhoods, which are all classified as having suppressed the virus.

The vaccination push continues, with 67.4 per cent of adults in East Ayrshire having received a first dose and 37.3 having had a second. The figures nationwide are 64.5 and 33.2.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed at a briefing yesterday that a number of coronavirus restrictions are to be eased from next Monday (May 17) as we move to level two.

For the first time since Christmas, people will be allowed to meet in each other’s homes in limited numbers - groups of up to six people from no more than three households. Hugging will be allowed.

The First Minister said: “If you are meeting friends and family, within the permitted limits of course, either indoors in a private dwelling or in your garden, our guidance will say that it is no longer necessary to maintain physical distance.

“Which means - and I actually feel a bit emotional as I say this... as long as you stay within permitted limits, you can hug your loved ones again.”

There were also tentative plans for foreign travel to resume, with some countries to be placed on a green list, meaning holiday-makers won’t have to quarantine on their return.

Indoor hospitality can resume with alcohol being served and pubs or restaurants allowed to stay open until 10.30pm, limited to six adults from three different households.

Restrictions on the number of people who can meet outdoors will also be relaxed - eight people from eight different households can meet up.

A variety of entertainment venues will open: cinemas, theatres, bingo halls, and amusement arcades. Good news for yoga fans and football five-a-siders as indoor exercise groups and outdoor contact sports will return too.