I no longer trust people’s ‘common sense’ when dealing with coronavirus. We need real leadership

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Monday 13 July 2020 13:27 BST
'I trust people’s good sense': Face coverings will not be made in compulsory in shops, Michael Gove says

It’s reassuring to hear from Michael Gove that it’s always best to trust to people’s common sense on wearing face coverings in shops, rather than the government taking a lead and making it mandatory, as is the case in Scotland and many other countries. That is presumably the same common sense that led to half a million people packing on to Dorset’s beaches, leaving 33 tons of rubbish to be cleared up, and the thousands of people who crowded together in the streets of Soho on the first day of pubs reopening. The Westminster government really needs to get a grip and show some leadership, or we shall have a second wave as sure as night follows day.

John Coppendale

Check your hygiene

Someone who wears a clean mask properly will help stop the spread. Someone who wears the same spittle-soaked unwashed mask every day, touching it then touching door handles etc, not so much.

Forcing unwilling folk to wear masks may well be counterproductive.

Barry Tighe

Face covering confusion

We have, as result of this unprecedented pandemic, some 45,000 (going on 60,000 or more) deaths in the UK. While some people, including scientists, inexplicably suggest that wearing face masks in public spaces will stop us washing our hands or encourage us to stand too close together, and while some people, including scientists, consider us unable to absorb more than one message at a time, it is widely acknowledged (even by scientists) that face masks reduce transmission of the virus.

If transmission of the virus is reduced, then “it must follow, as the night the day”, that contracting the virus is reduced. Yet Michael Gove says that wearing face masks is “a courtesy” or “good manners”. I humbly suggest he should look down the back of his sofa for a plot and reconsider. Oh, and save lives.

Beryl Wall
London W4

We have no control right now

The conceit in the most prosperous countries is to believe that we have developed to a point where we can control our destiny. We quickly grasped that the threat posed by Covid-19 lay in its being a new form of coronavirus against which we have no immunity and no effective vaccine. So we accepted that the kind of measures we have seen were a necessary inconvenience. A couple of months would probably suffice – except that they didn’t, and now people complain about restrictions that get in the way of a “return to normal”.

The Black Death ravaged Europe for four years. Of course, public hygiene and medical practices contributed and that didn’t help matters. On the other hand, travel was more difficult whereas now we can be at the other end of the country in a few hours and on the other side of the world within 24 hours. So the idea that we are on top of the virus and that restrictions can be lifted by the autumn may prove optimistic despite the soothing words from government.

We should maybe ponder how we will protect ourselves for the long haul and an inexorable culling of the population and the economy if that is what lies ahead.

Ian Hurdley

Domestic Hellcation

We are being urged to holiday at home as it is safe and will support small businesses. I thought I was happy to do so, trying to book a countryside cottage in Northumberland with a couple of days city break tagged on. We would be driving ourselves.

I am staggered by two things. One is the cost – why do three days in a cottage cost more than a week could in Greece or Spain? In Europe, breakfast would be included. Second and possibly more important, I’m staggered by the approach of the British businesses I have encountered. They are rude and unhelpful, even if you spend an hour waiting to speak to a person on the phone. I have been told I have to wait to confirm a booking I have booked and paid for online, so cannot make other arrangements until this happens. I have had an internet booking cancelled after confirmation and paying in full.

I have so far spent close to £1,000 for six days of accommodation, split between hotels and self-catering. That does not include any travelling or food. The stress associated with getting this far has been high. Is it a surprise I feel ripped off?

Anna Taylor

Staycation please

No trips to Spain for us in Scotland whilst the quarantine rule applies. I agree Valencia is an amazing destination with culture, amazing food and beaches but it’s not a viable option for us at the moment.

Whist I agree with most of Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership decisions, the inconsistent application of scientific reasoning meant that Spain as a whole country was not deemed “safe” whilst areas such as the Balearics were much less Covid-impacted. The result will mean more pain for Spanish tourism and less travel options for Scots. It’s a small frustration I know – however, with hope a rare commodity, it was a small ray!

Eileen McCulloch
Address supplied

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