IT’S time to get tough with those determined to show a callous disregard for the welfare of themselves and their fellow citizens in efforts to control the spread of Covid-19.

To date, the strategy to encourage compliance to control the spread of the virus has been well received and supported by the vast majority of our population. However, given that some have ignored the important messages of what not to do, the time has come to step up the penalties for this minority who choose to act irresponsibly, flout the rules, ignore advice and engage in risky behaviours which endanger everyone.

A fine and a criminal record should be the going rate for these who refuse to act responsibly and offend against the rules in relation to the coronavirus. A good talking to or a fine just won’t cut it, but I think the prospect of a criminal record AND a fine for an anti-social blatant disregard for the welfare of the community is a different matter.

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Grave matters of serious and enduring injury and even loss of life are what’s at stake for many citizens who become infected with the virus. We’ve all had time aplenty to own and internalise how we need to behave and conduct ourselves in relation to this deadly virus in our midst.

Many years ago I knew of a young man whose career prospects in a public office were destroyed in the selection process because of a violent fracas he had been involved in as a student. Regrettable as this was, it makes the point that silly careless behaviours can have devastating effects in the long term and this applies to all ages.

The threat of a criminal record for an offence which endangers life or risks serious injury is likely to deter the many, because they know it would not be looked upon favourably by potential employers.

Reports have suggested the organiser of the recent house party for 300 people is to face prosecution. I hope steps are also taken to recover the monies taken for tickets for the event.

In future, consideration should also be given to imposing penalties on attendees and those who let out venues for such events. Perhaps the prospect of fines and losing licences will affect the willingness of property owners to look more carefully at who and for what purpose they are letting out their properties.

If anyone thinks my suggestions are draconian I encourage them to think again about the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in. We need to deter the spread of the virus as much as we can, and to succeed in this we need firmer action.

Anne Thomson

I FOUND Robin MacLean’s letter (September 9) imploring FM Nicola Sturgeon to ease the lockdown restrictions to let him and his wife leave their “self-inflicted prisons” a little sad.

The FM and her team are trying to protect us from the coronavirus but they can only achieve this if the general public follow the Scottish Government’s guidance.

They are having to try and change the attitudes of people who believe in “me first”. In addition they are having to confront the fact that there are plane loads of healthy people, “needing a break”, flying to the Greek islands, with the same people returning a fortnight later “needing medical attention”!

Perhaps Robin MacLean, who lives in one of Scotland’s most scenic areas, should reflect on the plight of Nazamin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian national who is coming to the end a prison sentence in Iran only to find she could be facing another trial, and realise that he and his wife are not in prison but are actually in paradise!

I hope he would continue and also persuade others to follow the Scottish Government’s advice, “stay safe”, and enjoy their own piece of paradise.

Thomas L Inglis