I PERSONALLY made the decision to start social distancing weeks ago and stopped going to meetings. When I did go out and was walking along a street, I made sure I was aware of the wind direction and did my best to stay upwind of anyone I passed. As a non-smoker I’m very aware of how far downwind I can smell someone exhaling cigarette smoke, and viruses will spread just as far!

The two-metres recommendation when social distancing is as flawed as most other advice. Do you remember “it’s no worse than a mild flu”, and “this is an older person’s problem as young people are immune” – that’s not true. Young people may well not develop symptoms but they can be carriers and help spread it more quickly. Last week a baby was born in the UK already infected with Covid-19 – you don’t get much younger than that! We are all in this together.

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Last Friday Boris Johnson announced that all pubs, clubs and restaurants were to close that evening. An hour after he made that announcement (which I hadn’t heard at the time) I was driving home through the town where I live and wondered why it was like a public holiday in mid-Summer with groups socialising literally everywhere – the same was being repeated all over the UK as people had to get that last chance drink or meal.

The likelihood is that some of those people would already have had Covid-19 but not realised it at the time, and many around them will now also be infected and passing it on. This is what’s making Covid-19 so difficult to control – people contract it and pass it on long before they realise they have caught it.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Holyrood will enforce coronavirus lockdown if necessary

This letter was prompted by an article I read on the situation in the USA, where of course Covid-19 is a Democratic Party plot to undermine the president. There, the genie was already

out of the bottle by mid-February but was being ignored or or warnings suppressed. If it’s any consolation, by comparison we were in a far better position with our incredibly clean hands, and we still believed the myth that our NHS was “well placed” to cope – we should all know by now it’s anything but.

The NHS staff are already on their knees with inadequate supplies of protective gear, and the worst is yet to come for them. Doctors from two separate London hospitals who were interviewed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday morning said their frontline nursing staff were being endangered with inadequate protective gear that doesn’t meet World Health Organisation recommended standards.

It’s not a time for political point-scoring and in the circumstances I have to admit Boris appears to be doing his best. When this has all passed though, things must change – years of underinvestment in the NHS is coming home to roost and many more people will die as a result. We will owe it to them to ensure this will not be allowed to happen again.

For those of you in critical jobs in the NHS, teaching, national and local government, food distribution and other essential services – thank you!

Stay safe please!

Geoff Tompson
via email

FOR the UK to prevent devolution, it needs to be less London-centric. Obvious, you may say. And yet while we are all fighting the coronavirus here in Scotland, most of us religiously following Nicolas’s directions, what do we see in the news? Passengers crammed in London’s underground carriages! Mind-boggling! If those people are essential workers, why aren’t there more carriages? It’s no wonder people are heading north in their campervans. If I was there I’d be doing the same thing!

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus