I SEE that a colossal new emergency hospital is being opened in London, in the ExCel Centre in the Docklands area. It is beyond irony that that is the very place where along with fellow Catholic Workers from Scotland, I joined protests against the world’s largest arms fair last year.

The Defence & Security Equipment International arms fair (DSEI) sells everything that can kill from bullets to bombs. 116 people were arrested during a week of peaceful protests last September.

READ MORE: Police given power to detain those breaking lockdown rules

Now this venue is being transformed into an emergency hospital for coronavirus patients, and is being used to save lives, not to make money from killing people.

Can we not keep this conversion going by turning our swords into ploughshares across the country? We could start here in Scotland by closing Coulport, Europe’s biggest arsenal of hydrogen bombs, and emptying the silos in Glen Douglas. What disaster would befall us if we made this constructive and courageous move? Why don’t we give peace a chance?

Brian Quail

EACH day history is made and thereafter it remains immutable, there for everyone to see and learn from. We all know that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, so what history did our beloved Boris make while coronavirus was spreading, frighteningly rapidly, in China and later in Italy?

Truly important history! He grabbed the headlines with the wonderful news of his engagement to his bidie-in, and the fact that she was expecting his baby, his ?th child. He had celebrated with a relaxing holiday on a wealthy friend’s private island. Being Prime Minister is indeed a weighty burden to bear, with the only certainty a place in history as reward!

Not for Boris the trivia of ordering the manufacture and stockpiling of lots more ventilators, or the sourcing and distribution of adequate protective equipment to all hospitals and GP practices, well in advance of the virus reaching the UK, so that our previously under-resourced NHS would be able to cope with any eventuality. What matter that the virus might spread before everything was in place to deal with it, and consequently an extra few tens or even hundreds of folk might die of it? Time enough to start planning and making provision once we know for sure that it has reached our shores.

No wonder the rest of the world thinks the UK is “at the coo’s tail”. But this history, for Boris, is already set in stone. How will future generations judge it?

L McGregor

MUCH is being made about who is in the front line and at extreme danger of contracting Covid-19. Little is being said about the legion of retail workers serving the general public. These workers can’t work from home, can not have fully protective clothing and mask, must have close proximity to potential carriers of this disease.

Many of the big businesses should be doing everything they can to protect their workforce. There appears to be little being done to enforce the two-metre rule – queues form cheek by jowl. A checkout assistant has to handle money, take flack for shortages in the stores, spend several minutes checking through customers’ goods. This for hours over a shift. Surely very high risk of being exposed to and contracting the disease. Retail workers, like NHS workers, are doing a very important job – keeping us in food.

Great that testing is being ramped up, lockdown has been enforced, more personal protection is being supplied to NHS workers – who in my opinion are heroes – but come on, let’s see some positive action by the government to enforce retail employers to take some positive and speedy protection for people who in some respects are just as much in danger of this virus as NHS workers. Profit above protection is not acceptable.

Frieda Burns

TO contradict Donald Anderson’s statement (Letters, March 24) where he says “if you can remain calm while all around you are panicking, you just dont understand the situation”. This is entirely wrong! People are panicking precisely because they do no understand the situation. And thus we get farcical situations like panic buying, leaving those needy, food banks and the more sane with nothing left.

It is ignorance that causes panic! Those who do understand it better (I studied immunology and epidemeology at uni and worked in NHS for years) do no panic, except when we see the insane behaviour and selfishness of those who do not!! Be cautious, be concerned – but don’t panic; you just make a difficult situation far, far worse!!

Crìsdean Mac Fhearghais
Dùn Eideann

I CAN only hope that plans for food rationing are well advanced, and that the Scottish Government is pressing the UK Government on this. There are of course good templates for this. I also hope there are immediate plans to deliver basic food rations to the vulnerable groups who have been told to stay at home as of now. The people need to trust that their governments are looking after them.

Jean Hall