BEING in the over-70s group I should perhaps be worried at the suggestion I may soon be required to self-quarantine because of the coronavirus. I recall that in 1964 around 500 people had to be quarantined in Aberdeen during the typhoid epidemic but thankfully only three deaths were confirmed.

It is often helpful to put the scale of such emergencies in a historical context. When cholera visited Paisley in 1832 it claimed the lives of 446 people. In Ayr that year it took 205. Between 1832 and 1849 cholera killed 380 in Kilmarnock, including, from family records, five members of my own ancestry.

While it is obvious that the state of medicine in the 19th century had little hope of curing anyone with the illness, it is obvious that for people living during that period there must certainly have been panic similar if not very much greater to our current experience.

The economic consequences were also felt by everyone during such epidemics of the past in Scotland.

I feel that our Government leaders should take a less Old Testament fatalism approach to this virus and encourage us to have positive faith that a vaccine is being worked on and we will fight it to the end with every medical and scientific resource we have. We need more Winston; less Boris.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

HOW sad, but predictable, to see Councillor Alex Gallagher, and other Unionistas, using the coronavirus panic to "prove" we are Better Together (Letters, March 16). We might expect Scottish Tories to grit their teeth and "think of England" when their lemon-haired Great Panjandrum waffles on (pinching himself as he gets to be Churchillian, and Brexit forgotten about, so soon), but for Scottish Labour to be so quick, and happy, to join in the Nat-bashing is shaming.

Of course cooperation and sharing of information with England, Europe and the rest of the world is crucial, but Boris Johnson has been shown to have put us at more risk by clinging to British exceptionalism – '"we've taken our country back and we do things differently from Johnny Foreigner now... "– and delaying implementation of protection measures. The nastiness and spleen displayed by Mr Johnson and some of his ministers because the First Minister ("effing Wee Jimmy Krankie" as Mr Johnson called her) had the temerity to decide on what and when is best for Scotland, says so much about this Tory Union.

I doubt Scottish doctors, scientists and engineers – traditionally amongst the best in the world – need many lessons from south of the border, nor should Scottish socialists be gagging to prove London knows best in these, indeed any, matters pertaining to Scotland.

David Roche, Perth.

LABOUR councillor Alex Gallagher grabs at the coronavirus pandemic which he contends is "negatively influencing the nationalist cause" and suggests that "the best way to address our national problems is by internal cooperation". However, Councillor Gallagher neglects to mention that at this time of stress and strain Nicola Sturgeon has demonstrated decisive and responsible leadership (just as she did in the chaotic days after the Brexit referendum) and is doing the right thing in working positively with the Westminster Government. When Scotland is an independent nation there will undoubtedly be several areas where the Scottish and Westminster governments will be able to find common ground and work constructively together for the common good.

I have an underlying health condition and have family and friends who have underlying health issues; I suspect most of us are in a similar position. This is a worrying time for individuals and communities and a tragic time for the entire world. But it will pass, and when it does, Scotland will still be governed from Westminster by a Government we didn't elect and we will still be out of the European Union against our will. And Scotland will still have the right to decide our own future; coronavirus won't change that.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

AS the opposition parties in the House of Commons begin to raise objections to the Government's approach to the current virus problem a major danger developing for the country is that the Government's policies will be formed by political as much as scientific and medical considerations. Using the NHS as a political football has caused much damage to that institution and steps must be taken to ensure that the same does not happen in the handling of this national crisis.

A process has to be put in motion in Westminster to form a coalition government which will act under the direction of a panel of the best scientific and medical advisors in the country. Such a government would dissolve itself as soon as the crisis has been satisfactorily resolved.

An additional benefit of this exercise would be that it would produce a working model on which the future non-political operation of the NHS could be based.

Ken Nicholson, Glasgow G43.

PRESIDENT Trump has joined the fight against coronavirus and closed his air space to “foreign germs”, also reportedly trying to buy a German vaccine for the sole use of Americans. Countries all round the world are taking serious measures against this pandemic: closing public spaces: closing or partially closing borders: quarantining arrivals at airports etc. Scandinavians working in concert, though most others doing their own thing.

In the UK we await the daily despatch from London (often a leak to a Boris-friendly newspaper) – herd immunity; isolate the oldies; no ban on mass gatherings usually the opposite of World Health Organisation recommendations (and common sense) and all amended within hours as more serious people take aim (“I thought 'herd immunity' plan was a satire” says respected epidemiologist) at Boris Johnson and his motley crew. But hey, somehow the pandemic “proves” Scotland cannot be a self-governing country, as rabid British nationalism turns viral, and claim Scotland must stay isolated from the world – just because.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

PROFESSOR Jason Leitch, the National Clinical Director of the Scottish Government, was lambasted by Piers Morgan (Marcj 16) for not following the example of other European countries in tackling coronavirus by banning public gatherings. Bavaria and France have done exactly this and also closed nurseries and schools but then perversely allowed municipal elections to take place at the weekend in both France and Bavaria. Where is the logic in this?

Morag Black, Houston.

I HAVE just returned from a supermarket and could not believe how so inconsiderate many of my fellow shoppers with overflowing trolleys were acting in terms of bulk buying certain items: you know what they were, as they are well documented.

Surely this type of selfish behaviour can be stopped quickly and easily by a store's policy of only allowing a certain number of items to be bought at any one time per shopper – for example, two toilet roll packs, two packets of pasta, two hand gel dispensers and so on.

We really do make things that are easily remedied seem so difficult at times.

James Martin, Bearsden.

TO all those idiots who have been unnecessarily panic-buying, thereby creating shortages for the rest of us, good luck combating Covid-19 by trying to batter it to death with toilet rolls, or chucking bits of pasta at it while shouting "Go away, nasty virus!"

Brian Johnston, Torrance.

I WENT for my usual big shop with my daughter in Erskine on Sunday and noted some strange shopping behaviour by customers. Usually there are considerably more small trolleys lying idle for me than the bumper big ones, so were the majority of shoppers in for small stockpile top-ups?

The pasta shelves were bereft of stock, yet cooking sauces, tinned tomatoes and cheese lay near-abandoned. Fresh whole chickens, breasts, thighs, wings and legs all gone, leaving the frozen variety fully stocked, so does fresh keep longer than frozen or has the white meat barbecue season come on earlier than usual, as red meat was freely available? On the tinned soup shelves, premium brands were near stripped clean, leaving budget and store brands to the proletariat. The strangest one to my mind was in the pet food isle where the cat litter bags, and trays, were almost all gone. I am still trying to work that last one out in my head.

George Dale, Beith.

IN these testing times, may I suggest the following new definition of an optimist – one who contributed to a large brochure (which fell out of my Sunday newspaper ) offering a wide variety of cruise holidays stopping off at numerous destinations all over the virus-ridden world. Good luck with that.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

MY wife and I are both pensioners. We shop regularly online at three local supermarkets, once every three weeks at each. With the present furore concerning the coronavirus, elderly people are encouraged to shop online for foodstuffs and household essentials. Having spent an hour making up a normal shopping list, my wife has just tried to book a slot for delivery. There is no slot available, at any price, for the next three weeks from any local supermarket. So at an age of greater than 70, we shall be forced to leave our house and walk to local shops in order to buy basic foodstuffs. Commercial pressures are a wonderful thing.

Dr William L Maxwell, Newton Mearns.

WHEN governments stockpile in advance of anticipated shortages, this is described as "contingency planning". When individuals do so, it becomes "panic buying".

What next? Ration books for toilet rolls and tins of baked beans? Watch out for the poster campaign of "Keep calm and carry on".

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

SO here we are cruising towards our golden wedding in 2021. An almost 77-year-old who is a rather solitary creature and likes nothing better than a 40-mile cycle ride or a 15-mile walk and an almost 72-year-old who is much less active but extremely gregarious. Not a pill or potion between us. Risk assessment for continuing as normal taking reasonable precautions: probably get the bug, probably make a full recovery. Risk assessment for isolating ourselves: depends who gets to the steak knives first.

Rachel Martin, Musselburgh.

Read more: Glasgow could become Covid-19 'hub'