HINDSIGHT is a very useful tool in learning lessons and planning for the future. However, too many times, it is used by those wanting to score political points, air a professional grievance or lay down the foundations of blame. In doing so any lessons that should be learnt are in danger of being lost in the resulting arguments.

In all four home nations the current watchwords of a majority of opposition politicians, media and those experts not directly involved in government planning seems to be "could have, would have, should have". This virus took everyone by surprise by its virulence and contagiousness. It moved at such a pace that government departments and agencies for a long time could only play catch-up. In such a hectic and confused atmosphere, mistakes were made and vital decisions delayed, but that would have been the case no matter who was in charge. You only have to re-read newspapers back in January to see that little attention was being paid to the impending crisis by anyone.

Yes, at the end of this hold an inquiry as to what went wrong and in doing so learn lessons and plan for the future. But let us not allow it to be used by politicians for cheap political point-scoring and others to pursue their own grievance and blame culture agenda – something that appears to be gaining momentum now.

If we fail to learn those important lessons, then at some time in the future history will repeat itself. Now is not the time to look back at what might have been. Decisions were taken at the time in conjunction with the medical evidence available at the time. At this time we can only come through this crisis by putting differences and grievances aside and working together. Yes, questions can be raised but once a decision has been made, we should get behind it and take responsibility by whatever means and however small a contribution to make it work.

Paul Lewis, Edinburgh EH17.

EVEN before the present lockdown, the basic facts about Covid-19 were known; it is a viral respiratory disease, spread by contact and through aerosol, which poses little or no risk to the young and healthy, but is extremely dangerous to sections of the older population particularly those with underlying health conditions.

These basic facts can readily be understood by any Scot, and together with the simple procedures for reducing transmission – hand washing and distancing where necessary– can be, and were, imparted through education early in the outbreak. Beyond this the outstanding public health responsibly of the Scottish Government was to identify and shelter the most vulnerable section of society' for example, those in care homes, from the disease, concentrating scarce testing and PPE resources on this problem. It is now apparent that this was not done effectively.

Instead attention became focused on using draconian laws to enforce an ill-advised blanket lockdown on society and the economy to suppress the natural epidemic. This has been implemented through the use of mindless slogans – Stay Home, Save the NHS – of the type normally associated with control of the population by totalitarian states. Groundless fear has been engendered in the Scottish population, especially the vast majority that are at very low risk, through Government briefings that concentrate on numbers of dead taken completely out of context. This has been employed as a tool to micromanage the behaviour of Scots using a set of arbitrary rules that have little or no scientific basis. All trust in the pragmatic common sense of Scots to assess risk and modify behaviour as a result of Covid-19 has been lost.

Meanwhile the timorous Scottish Government shelters behind its computer screens, frightened into inaction by its own flawed propaganda and ignorance of risk, and in denial at the enormous economic, educational and cultural damage that its myopic focus on Covid-19 suppression is causing. The time has come for the Scottish Government to admit past mistakes, pluck up its courage and lead us out of this grotesque lockdown so that we can live in a Scotland where risk is present but pragmatically managed, and our economy, education, culture and individualism can thrive.

Professor Richard Ennos, Edinburgh EH13.

NICOLA Sturgeon has extended the lockdown in Scotland until May 28. Fine and good, Stay at Home.

However, we’ve had eight weeks of lockdown to figure out how we are going to exit lockdown, but all we’ve seen is meaningless framework document that says nothing. What happened to the adult conversations?

Surely it’s now time for the First Minister to tell us how, if not when, we are going to exit lockdown. Many countries are already well advanced in their easing of lockdown conditions but we in Scotland have not been given one iota of information. We are not even being told when such a plan will be announced, far less seeing a plan.

It is two weeks to May 28, and therefore 10 weeks to plan, so surely we are due to see a plan for exiting this lockdown, or is the plan to Stay at Home Forever? We really need to be told before the public’s patience and goodwill disappears.

Ian McNair, Cellardyke.

IN recent days the First Minister sensibly extended the lockdown in Scotland. However, if she thinks that it is working she is sadly deluded.

Road traffic is getting heavier and faster by the day and there seems to be little or no enforcement of the restrictions which became law at the start of the outbreak of Covid.

It appears from reports that most or all other countries in Europe are supporting lockdown by enforcement but there is little evidence of that happening here.

Some countries have issued tens of thousands of fines and made millions of stops but police here seem to be reluctant, why?

Surely the First Minister’s daily pleas and those of us who are playing the game deserve support from those who have the power to do so?

Bill MacIntyre, East Kilbride.

IT seems that some folk believe that, if no visitors or family are allowed in, a care home is an easy place to ensure that the virus cannot enter and spread. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am not connected in any way to any care home, except as a visitor to an elderly friend with dementia, who recently died after testing positive. She was a lovely, kind, caring person, but dementia had made her very stubborn and sometimes difficult to persuade to do as was requested of her or forgetting what she was told within minutes. I know that it became well-nigh impossible to make her, and many others in the same position, stay in their own room. Short of having one member of staff allocated 24/7 to each of these residents, it was simply impossible, however hard staff tried.

Then there are logistics to consider. Food must be delivered, laundry picked up and delivered and so on, while staff have to return home once a shift is over and be with close family, possibly having to shop, do washing for an elderly relative and other close contact tasks. However careful the precautions, it is a close-contact situation where perfect protection against transmission is impossible, in fact perhaps one of the most difficult to control.

Remember too, that the residents would in almost all cases not be there unless they had the underlying conditions of multiple, progressive, health problems as well as the age factor, making them more vulnerable. I personally admire the hard work and dedication of their unappreciated and underpaid carers.

Perhaps it would be better to consider how much more difficult a crisis like this is because of the profit motive of private care-home providers who build as many tiny rooms as can possibly be fitted into the size of the site. Difficult to isolate and avoid close contact in chicken coops.

L McGregor, Falkirk.

WITH the easing of rules in England regarding driving during the current Covid-19 Pandemic and, presumably the movement in that direction in Scotland once our restrictions are deemed safe to relax, I wonder about the lack of toilet facilities?

The days when you could pop into a cafe, hotel or pub are gone. All closed. Public conveniences likewise. Supermarkets are few and far between.

Perhaps it's my age?

John Ewing, Ayr.

SINCE the start of the lockdown, attendances at funeral services have been restricted to immediate family. Many relatives have indicated their intention to hold a memorial service when conditions permit.

As time elapses, and there is no indication as to when gatherings of larger numbers of people may take place, it is difficult to see how the numbers of such requests can be accommodated.within a realistic time frame.

The number of deaths, whether or not Covid 19 related, which have occurred since the start of lockdown will impose considerable stress on ministers of religion and secular celebrants in an effort to meet those expectations.

This will, in all probability, add to the distress of those who have lost someone close to them and is likely to delay the healing process.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

I HAVE to question whether or not Michael Settle watched the same version of Prime Minister’s Questions as I did on Wednesday, ( “Details man Sir Keir piles on the pain as tired Johnson pines for Jezza”, The Herald, May 14).

As an avid watcher of the Commons exchanges every week I was absolutely astounded by his version of events. Sir Keir certainly did not rain blow after forensic blow on the PM’s head, he simply asked a series of questions, as is his job, to which Boris Johnson gave considered and confident answers.

In addition his assertion that the PM was physically tiring as the pain was piled on, is absolute nonsense. In actual fact Mr Johnson looked more than capable of handling his opponent for the remainder of the 20 minutes or so allowed for the session. Instead he remained fully fit and alert during the time he was being questioned by other MPs.

If Mr Settle thinks the Prime Minister is at all cowed by the new Labour leader and that he pines for the return of Jeremy Corbyn, then he should tune into further Prime Minister's Questions as Mr Johnson continues to swat aside the so called rapier-like thrusts from his new opponent at the despatch box.

Christopher H Jones, Giffnock.

Read more: Letters: First Minister’s silence over outbreak raises serious questions