First up was our fortnightly meeting with Dorset Council's (DC) senior officers and councillors. This briefing and exchange of views has proved very helpful to us Dorset MPs, not least in helping us to appreciate the enormous workload the council is coping with. An update on infection rates was encouraging. For DC's area it's down to 93/100,000, for over 60s 76/100,000, and for the SW 94/100,000. Further good news was that more than 80 per cent of care home staff have now been vaccinated and the number of those in Dorset's hospitals suffering from Covid-19 was down to 188. Coronavirus infections continued to decrease around the UK, Office for National Statistics data showed. The figures, for the seven days up to 12 February, reveal fewer people are testing positive for the virus in the community than in recent weeks. Experts warn that infection levels remain high however, with about 553,000 people found to have the virus. And another 533 people in the UK have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test. So, with all these hopeful signs, I just hope that the PM does not adopt too cautious an approach on Monday. We must be allowed to live our lives again. It is not for the State to do so. A little later, I had a most useful virtual meeting with the new LEP chairman Cecilia Bufton. I was hugely encouraged by her vision for the county and, like me, she believes passionately that we must all work together for the long term. Next was an informative virtual meeting with Mark Hopper, who represents the National Association of Cider Makers, and an actual cider maker, Joe Hartle, from Purbeck. They both pleaded their case, which is dire. Naturally, lock-down has seen demand disappear, and makers are now in the difficult position of wondering what to do. Their vats are full of last year's cider, which of course would normally be sold, leaving room for the next batch. But, with no orders, there is no one to sell to. Orchards are diminishing too and, with each newly-planted tree taking seven years to provide a crop, there are fears about the future of the industry. As I do with all those who ask for my help, I will push their case with the Government. These stories sadden me as they are a direct consequence of this lock-down and the devastation they are causing is truly horrifying. The Royals made the news again, with Buckingham Palace saying that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would not return as working members of the Royal Family. The Queen confirmed the couple would not "continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service". A statement from the palace added Prince Harry and Meghan "remain much loved members of the family". With an increased call from poorer countries that vaccine must be shared, G7 leaders meeting virtually released a statement pledging to intensify co-operation on Covid-19 and increase their contribution to the Covax vaccine-sharing initiative. The commitment amounted to $7.5 billion (£5.3 billion).