I AGREE wholeheartedly with Professor Richard Ennos (Letters, May 15) that the Scottish Government keeping us in lockdown somewhat behind England is the dictat of a timorous administration hiding behind “its own flawed propaganda and ignorance of risk”.

Boris Johnson’s outline for a cautious easing of the lockdown, while proactively "staying alert" rather than just passively "staying at home" and cowering in fear, is a reasonable proposition towards eventually getting the UK to a "new normal" – widespread recognition by government and the public that we can be hit by a Corona-type event any time, and therefore must organise our daily lives, both structurally and socially, to minimise what, from reading the science, appears to be a constant risk.

It seems that we got complacent; always making rote plans for a pandemic, and always putting them on the back-burner; now we’re paying for this.

At the same time, we must not succumb to fear of the unknown (obvious in many quarters during this outbreak).

In the midst of another disaster at another time, US President Franklin D Roosevelt urged his nation to begin climbing out of the Great Depression of the 1930s: “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance ... restoration calls however, not for changes in ethics alone. This nation asks for action, and action now.”

It seems that the Scottish Government is not up to this challenge.

Philip Adams, Crosslee.

I WOULD hesitate, in normal times, to criticise a professor, but I read the letter from Professor Richard Ennos with growing astonishment.

His implied criticism of the Scottish Government for failing to supply "scarce testing and PPE resources" ignores the question of why they were scarce. He then fails to make the connection between lack of these scarce resources with "draconian laws to enforce an ill-advised blanket lockdown". The lockdown followed the scarcity as night follows day.

There is no mention in the professor's letter of the elephant in the room, which may well have been peeking over his shoulder as he wrote. The complete lack of preparedness within the NHS and the private care home sector to handle a surge of infections was the driver for the lockdown. The question which must be answered is why we were so badly prepared, and the answer is staring us in the face, or perhaps even standing beside us in the room; 10 years of Westminster-driven austerity left the NHS so stretched that our resources in every area, PPE to ventilators, were lacking, that is why "the draconian laws" to enforce lockdown were required.

At least Prof Ennos eventually comes to a cogent solution, and I make no apologies for quoting him: "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."

Quite so. The only question which remains is: can Prof Ennos suggest a strategy to achieve that aim?

John Jamieson, Ayr.

I MUST take issue with Neil Mackay's article ("No matter how much Sturgeon denies it, the Edinburgh outbreak looks like a cover up", The Herald, May 14). I have no means of checking the figures and dates he gives, but he will (surely) be aware that the incubation period for Covid-19 lies somewhere between five and 14 days. Aside from the index case(s) who brought the virus to the conference, anyone exposed on the 26th or 27th of February would be expected, therefore, to exhibit symptoms at the earliest around March 3and, at the latest, about March 11. Most likely, many cases were presenting somewhere in between, so it is highly likely that, as early as March 2 (and this may be an outlier), only a suspicion of an outbreak could have been forming, given most cases would have developed later. Maybe the early contacts were colleagues who had journeyed to the conference with the index case and who, thus, were exposed earlier. Mr Mackay doesn't know and neither do I, but the recognition of the fullness of the outbreak would not have happened until much later.

As a retired consultant in microbiology/infection control, it irritated me back then when dealing with infection outbreaks, and it still irritates me now, to read such speculative nonsense spouted in the press, usually nowhere near the truth, when the actuality is that a dedicated team will have been working their socks off to control this incident and protect the public. To politicise it, is way wide of the mark.

I have been in tow with Mr Mackay's writings for much of the time, but his recent musings leave me open-jawed.

Ken Liddell, Glasgow G43.

JAPAN is the latest country to join Spain in easing Covid-19 restrictions across most of its territory while maintaining them in its capital and other big cities. Why doesn’t Scotland do the same? It would throw a lifeline to many businesses and communities in more rural areas where the pandemic is surely less of a risk.

Our government has often appeared metro-centric in its approach, as with the drink driving regulations which have been far more damaging for rural hostelries and the often-scattered communities they serve than for their counterparts in areas where there are more affordable transport alternatives. This is a chance to correct the balance.

Fiona Robertson, Kippen.

TAKING account of the recent drastic reduction in attendances to A&E departments across the country, we are being actively encouraged to attend A&E if we have an emergency. Although I don’t have the exact figures to hand, I suspect that a significant proportion of A&E attendances in pre-lockdown days were attributed to alcohol-related incidents. Perhaps the ongoing closure of pubs and nightclubs, together with the assumed drop in sport injuries, road accidents and the like would explain many of the absences, rather than serious life-threatening illness being ignored?

Susan Ross, Stirling.

Read more: Letters: Time to stop the blame game and pull together