SELDOM do I disagree so vehemently than with the perspective of your correspondent Christopher H Jones (Letters, March 27).

While Boris Johnson is indeed Prime Minister of the UK, I don’t want to hear from the Chief Medical Officer and Health Secretary for England. I appreciate learning and taking advice from those who have responsibility for the part of the UK in which I live, who speak to me in plain language, understand the geography and take an approach that fits our stage in the pandemic.

The decision to set up a Scottish expert group will pay dividends in the coming weeks, recognising that varying approaches will be needed in different parts of Scotland ("Scottish advisory group set up as patient numbers soar", The Herald, March 26). One-size-fits-all is simply not the right approach here. On STV on Thursday evening a woman asked the First Minister for a stronger focus on mental health during this crisis. At Friday’s lunchtime briefing the First Minister announced additional funding for mental health and additional advice on the NHS Scotland website. This is exactly what a nimble government should be capable of doing and illustrates my point precisely.

While commendable, I fear that the call for volunteers on the scale of NHS England could well prove too cumbersome to move quickly and may grind under its own inertia. The Scottish Government has indicated that it will support health boards in running their own volunteer networks. Having had some experience in drafting a Bird Flu pandemic plan in 2006 I can say that this approach fits well with the already-established volunteer networks within each local authority area.

On the other hand I agree with the views of Nick Kempe (Letters, March 27) and would similarly cite Taiwan, which to date has had 267 confirmed cases and only two deaths in a population of 23.8 million. I note that its government feels that it is past the worst in this wave. It had learned a great deal from SARS, so it traced and tested those who had travelled from mainland China in the three weeks prior to its first case and followed up by checking those parties’ contacts. There is widespread testing. As a matter of routine since SARS, school and college classes are photographed to be able to trace those who are closest to infected persons should there be an epidemic and they are confined. At the time of the first reports from China those arriving in the country were quarantined for 14 days. We might object to the state enforcing our movements through mobile phones and merging medical and travel records but, on many other aspects, Taiwan can illustrate the effectiveness of how they have handled this.

Your headline mentions a judicial review and I am sure that in time it will be clear that the UK should have closed down much earlier.

John C Hutchison, Fort William.

IF I may add to your report of shortcomings in the British government's attempts to obtain an adequate supply of hospital ventilators ("Brexit row in EU race to secure emergency medical supplies", The Herald, March 27), according to (Irish) Industrial Development Authority as reported recently in the Irish media, about half of the ventilators manufactured in the world are made in Ireland, mainly by Medtronic of Galway.

Read more: Coronavirus in Scotland: Online therapy part of £3.8m of mental health funding

During the present Coronavirus crisis the EU is restricting the export of certain kinds of medical devices, a restriction from which the UK is exempt unti the end of the transition period of leaving the EU – that is, December 31. People in Scotland, expecting to be forcibly taken out of the EU fully on that date, have more reason to wonder whether the crisis will be over by then.

It would not be out of place here to mention that Sir James Dyson was one of the very few high-profile British-born businessmen to advocate Brexit and that most of his manufacturing is no longer in the UK but in Asia.

CJ Woods, Co Kildare, Ireland.

WE have arrangements in place to help businesses, employees and now most of the self-employed. There is one significant group now not covered by the present arrangements. The OAP. We over the years paid our tax.

Over the years we have saved for our retirement in the form of pension schemes, direct savings or the stock market. Now with minimal interest rates on savings and the total collapse of the stock market and resulting dividends many will be left in real hardship. Pension schemes will be struggling to preserve incomes.

Couple this collapse in income with the increased cost of having to self-isolate and the increased cost of heating homes; the problem is real and now. The bigger bills are coming.

Banks and credit card companies are still charging huge interest rates when the bank rate is 0.1 per cent. Where is the humanity in this practice? OAPs who will have to borrow with overdrafts or credit card interest payments to meet day-to-day living expenses or energy bills will be at the bottom of the pile for government assistance.

Dave Biggart, Kilmacolm.

PERHAPS the time is ripe to revise the old wartime poster showing a couple with a small dog or with a serviceman asking "is your journey really necessary?" Whilst that was in relation to rail journeys something similar could be drawn up by a good cartoonist.

The fact that the soldier has a .303 Lee Enfield rifle with bayonet attached would have no difficulty in ensuring the two-metre personal exclusion zone was adhered to.

Ron Oliver, Elie.

NEVER in my lifetime have the following lines, from Adam Lindsay Gordon’s 1880 poem Ye Weary Wayfarer, seemed more resonant:

“Life is mostly froth and bubble,

Two things stand like stone,

KINDNESS in another’s trouble,

COURAGE in your own.”

Iain Stuart, Perth.