IT is of major concern to me, and ought to be to politicians, that, in spite of the stringent measures currently being imposed, and observed, within the UK’s boundaries on the population, there appears to be relatively unfettered access to the country by air, particularly to Heathrow.

Often these flights are coming from virus hot-spots and, if reports are to be believed, there are no attempts made to social distance airline passengers while on the plane, no attempt to assess their health as they arrive, and no restriction on where or how they can travel onward.

The virus relies on people to transport it. It seems to me that the FIRST thing we should have been doing a long time ago was to immediately suspend all flights into the country, then within it People spew out of the mobile Covid-19 carriers (planes) then cram themselves into tubes, taxis, buses, trains and other planes to end up who knows where?

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I have a plane tracker app (many of these are free) and it tells me in real time how many planes are in the air all over the world. As I type there are planes destined for Heathrow from Mexico City, Zurich and Munich.

Earlier there were two from Rome and planes from Los Angeles, Chicago and Cologne, and there’s a plane on its way from Philadelphia to East Midlands. There are some flights to Scottish airports.

I live close to the rail line between London and Inverness and we still have two trains a day (the Highland Chieftain and the Sleeper) travelling between London and Inverness. Does anyone else agree this is total madness? Does anyone else agree that, thick though most of Johnson’s Cabinet are, at least some of them must be intelligent enough to know this is madness? We have government teams giving out daily bulletins about new cases and mind-blowing numbers of deaths. YET there is still movement of people – who presumably believe themselves to be immune, too important, or above mere mortals – travelling over seas and boundaries.

I believe, if we are serious about measures, that we should close the Scottish border and utterly restrict travel within the borders. If we don’t then frankly I can’t think we are serious about all of this, and while I believe that of Johnson, I like to think we’re better than that.

Jim Finnie

IT would appear that New York has become the coronavirus capital of the world. I have every sympathy for the New Yorkers being stuck with a president who has demonstrated no sense at all since the crisis began.

However, it would appear that there are still regular flights from New York to the UK. This is a clear decision to import loads more virus into Britain in spite of the inevitable cost in British lives. This has gone beyond incompetence and well on into wickedness.

K Howells

A FEW thoughts on the Covid-19 crisis. We live in a small country in a Union, the majority of whose population has consistently supported governments which allow some of its citizens (or “subjects”) to sleep on the streets while others are obscenely wealthy; where the privileged have quick access to medical treatment (including virus testing) while others have to wait for political promises to be honoured, even if they’re putting their lives at risk on the front line of the state health service. Why is a proportion of the wealthy UK suffering “third world” standards?

The simple answer is of course the triumph of neoliberal economics, whose need for global movement of long-chain-production goods, workers, multinational businesspeople and long-haul tourists has, just incidentally, been the one and only cause of the startling rapidity with which the virus has spread throughout the world. Isn’t it ironic, then, that the economic system which facilitated the spread of the virus is also, incidentally, the reason why our depleted state health services are so ill-prepared!

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Here, a series of Tory and New Labour governments have cut health service funding in real terms to the point where it had to struggle to meet immediate needs, constantly blamed and criticised, with no possibility of planning, preparing and rehearsing for predictable future disasters.

The future has come upon us and a few million pounds thrown at the problem, accompanied by vain promises, is not enough to compensate for those decades of neglect. Add to that the obscenity of the monstrous bursting sardine-can which is London (or New York etc) and what hope is there?

Some of our politicians have dragged out the old “all in it together” mantra, which I hope everybody can easily see through. But, you argue, haven’t Johnson, Cummings, and “Charles” (surname unknown) all caught the virus, just like ordinary people? In the present climate, I’d like to see signed and validated test results before I’d be convinced that (maybe) it’s not just another manipulative stunt.

And talking of manipulation, what’s all this wartime jargon about “fighting” the virus? A virus has no volition or evil intent. It blindly takes whatever opportunities it can find to propagate itself.

By contrast, we humans have been warned repeatedly of the possible consequences of our polluting and disease-spreading behaviour, and we have knowingly ignored those warnings.

Hundreds of thousands of Brits have had to be rescued from their jaunts abroad, and similar numbers are still waiting. They, and all of us, should be asking: is the coronavirus or homo sapiens more to blame for what is now happening? A nobler war to fight is the one against our human selfishness and exceptionalism.

Derek Ball

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