AMIDST all the stockpiling, fighting over supplies, rushing to the hills to “escape” the virus, to me three points have become obvious.

In the UK there are a large number of very selfish people who care for themselves rather than the community at large. Secondly this rabble is outnumbered fortunately by citizens showing kindness to neighbours, friends, those losing their jobs (and in some cases salaries) and those who continue to work both in voluntary and “key” positions.

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However, the third point which has become obvious – the majority of occupations in this country are filled by “key” workers. With resilience exercises having taken place over decades, one would have thought that the UK Government would have a list of “key” workers for different scenarios. Alternatively, most workers are “key” to a greater or lesser extent.

Under the present crisis we can identify doctors, nurses and front-line medics as obviously “key”. Carers and the armed forces also jump to mind. However, the efforts of these groups and other identified “key” workers would be futile without others who may not be granted such a soubriquet but whose role is equally vital.

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The transport personnel come to mind as do the retail workers who currently are working themselves into the ground – appreciated by many but disgracefully abused by others. There are other groups whose contribution to society deserves praise and recognition – the farmers and their workers who are making attempts to make food accessible via their farm shops. Our garbage collectors deserve our acknowledgement.

Many of these positions are filled by low-paid personnel and a considerable number of these people are migrants. We rely, nay depend, on them. Yet in the not-too-distant future, having helped us in our hour of need, they will be cast aside or not replaced under this UK’s contemptible new immigration laws because they are regarded as “not skilled” or their posts pay too low wages. “Thanks for your help during our crisis but we’ll get by now” will be the post-pandemic mantra, I am almost certain.

Certainly the emphasis of certain occupations as being “key” will vary according to the specific scenario. However, it should be remembered that although many posts are humble and low-paid they are integral part of our surviving bad times. All groups should be admired for the effort they are making for the nation’s good. Above all none deserve abuse while going about their duties.

I for one am grateful to every worker, no matter what their occupation or pay grade, who is striving to keep Scotland fed and cared for. I know I am not alone in this sentiment.

Colin Mowat
via email

IN a time of crisis, surely partial truth in the hope if increasing hits or sales should be classed as profiteering and hence illegal? It is certainly immoral.

The facts off Covid-19 have not changed since we first began to learn about it. It can be deadly to the elderly and those with pre-existing relevant health problems.

When you read a Sky headline – as I did a while ago – about the tragedy of a young father dying of coronavirus then find that you have to delve into the depths of the article before it becomes apparent that he was already terminally ill, you feel slightly ill yourself. And not from Covid-19.

Rather than fuelling pointless fear and panic, horrific statistics from Italy seem to back up what we already know. Italy appears to have suffered disproportionately because of an elderly population. And, it seems, even within that demographic it is those with underlying conditions who have died disproportionately. Plus, their health service was overwhelmed.

Here in the UK where, after a decade of austerity, the NHS could be overwhelmed with an epidemic of chilblains, we need to get with the programme, and that begins with giving people sensible, clear information, supporting frontline workers, providing financial aid not just for businesses but those at the bottom of the pile, and taking those to task who callously profit from the pandemic in ANY WAY.

Amanda Baker

I FEEL that the Scottish Government should not be afraid to take unilateral emergency powers on an ad hoc basis. This could allow them to close all camping/caravan sites and to temporarily ban wild camping in Scotland. Those not complying within two days can have any vehicle used confiscated. If the selfish have no regard for others then perhaps they will have more regard for their £40000+ leisure homes.

M Ross

FURTHER to dissociate myself from the letter in Friday’s National mistakenly attributed to me, I recognise and applaud the stance and measures taken by FM Nicola Sturgeon and her Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.

In what has regularly been described as an unprecedented situation and a life-threatening one at that, both women have kept their composure and managed a really challenging rapidly developing scenario with explicit responsiveness. Little other can be asked of politicians. Far from emailing Ms Sturgeon and Ms Freeman and criticising their efforts as the wrongly attributed letter tells, had I sent them emails my message would have been instead one of encouragement in their applaudable efforts.

Ian Johnstone

I PROFOUNDLY disagree with Peter Thomson (Letters, March 21). I think Branson’s businesses should be given help from the taxpayer for the sake of all the unfortunate workforce. However, this should be done only after the businesses have been bought by the state for the princely sum of £1.

Jim Paterson