DOMINIC Cummings's breach of lockdown rules is distracting from far more serious failures by the entire UK Government which have cost tens of thousands of lives. If lockdown had begun seven weeks earlier, at the beginning of January, when the first UK cases were confirmed, and included limits on flying in, and quarantine and testing for all British citizens returning home, many people might still be alive, rather than being grieved for by their loved ones.

Instead millions flew in with quarantine or testing of just 273 of them.

Germany brought in 14-day quarantine for people entering the country from March 17.

Sir Patrick Vallance’s predecessor as Chief Scientific Officer, David King, is quoted in The Sunday Times condemning Sir Patrick and Boris Johnson deciding football matches, festivals, concerts, pubs and clubs wouldn’t spread the virus.

On February 3 Mr Johnson made a speech warning of the risks of over-reacting to coronavirus and doing “real economic damage”. On March 7 he was at an England-Wales rugby match, cited by Cheltenham Festival organisers as a reason their event would go ahead.

An utterly cavalier “herd immunity” strategy without vaccines or treatments available was outlined by Sir Patrick in his March 12 press conference with Mr Johnson.

Nor had the Government prepared in advance, despite advice from experts in 2017 and 2019 to stockpile PPE and decades of experts warning another respiratory virus pandemic was only a matter of “When? And from where?”.

Almost six months after the first cases, with lockdown already eased, there’s still no effective contact tracing app, and there still aren’t enough people tested. Radio 4’s More Or Less reported on May 20 that the 100,000 tests per day target has not been met on any day, let alone 100,000 people. Official figures count research tests by universities and others giving no results to those tested; and tests delivered or sent that day. On May 15 only 43, 268 people were tested.

We can’t continue lockdown indefinitely, but aren’t close to having an alternative in place. The whole Government and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) should resign.

Duncan McFarlane, Carluke.

WHY doesn't the PM just give those in the slavering press and the sanctimonious brigade who are so sure of their purity that they would "cast the first stone " what they crave and get Dominic Cummings to resign.

The PM could then rehire him as a personal advisor and have his salary paid by a supporter ,thus keeping him a trusted sounding board whom he obviously rates so highly ... he did after all mastermind the Leave vote and an 80-plus majority at the last election.

This would result in this pathetic, overhyped circus ending with both parties thinking they had won. Then the Government could get on and deal with the very serious problem that is Covid-19 in terms of mitigating the horrendous pain and loss to so many of our number and dealing with the economic Armageddon coming over the horizon.

Get it done.

James Martin, Bearsden.

HAVING listened to Dominic Cummings give an account of his actions as we were led down the Downing Street garden path, and having read the letters and articles in The Herald over recent days both for and against Mr Cummings, it seems to me that the fact that Mr Cummings was able to drive 260 miles from London to Durham without stopping, and with his sick wife and young son on board, was more good luck than good judgment. In addition, the fact that he drove to and from Barnard Castle to test his eyesight, which had been giving him problems, again accompanied by his wife and child, and drove the 260 miles back to London, without any mishap occurring, was also more good luck than good judgment.

Given that Mr Cummings would appear to trust more to luck than judgment, is he really the kind of man who should be in charge of running the country?

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

WHILST the First Minister has accepted that mistakes have likely been made and – when this is over – it will be necessary to undertake a review on all aspects of its handling, I have yet to see such contrition or indeed any such constructive comment from the Prime Minister.

What is simply not acceptable, as he is currently attempting with his Dominic Cummings difficulty, is to "move on" to address other issues in which he is interested – EU withdrawal and more.

As a member of the public, I am certainly not content with applauding the heroics of the NHS staff and yet see them being deprived of the tools to do their job.

This has been an early warning of what might come at a later date. We need – no, we demand, that future investment in the NHS will enable its staff, without placing their lives at risk, to safely do their job.

Alan McKinney, EH16.

ACROSS Europe, and beyond, Covid-19 has been a devastating tragedy for care homes. Wherever the coronavirus has achieved significant infection rates, grim death rates in care homes have followed, often accounting for 50 per cent or more of total deaths. On cursory examination England currently appears to be exhibiting a lower rate but when "excess deaths" are fully accounted the rate there will not only likely be comparable, as indicated by the recent LSE study, but the overall death rate per head of population looks like it may be the highest in Europe, and possibly the highest in the world, through this first phase of the pandemic.

Jackson Carlaw and Richard Leonard have now both decided to point their political fingers at the Scottish Government for embarking on a UK-wide approach of accelerated early discharge from hospitals, especially of the elderly, at a time when hospitals were expected to be overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients ("Pressure on Sturgeon to back inquiry into deaths at care homes", The Herald, May 28). Following the advice of clinicians some were discharged into care homes subject to Government regulations and guidelines. Certainly at the time none of these politicians was disputing this logical action, but perhaps everyone has been naïve about the day-to-day functioning of care homes, especially those governed by the aims of private investors. Staff moving in and out of care homes, many of which were not properly prepared for a pandemic and initially not fully supported by their management in the purchase of appropriate PPE, may have been the primary carriers of Covid-19 into these homes.

How many were\are in the unenviable position of effectively working under zero-hours-contracts with little or no income should they suspect they may have the virus and feel compelled to work on, especially in situations where residents in their care are already suffering because of reduced staffing numbers and the torture, for some, of isolation?

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.

I AM in complete agreement with David Stubley (Letters, May 26). If folk think that this crisis is going to changes attitudes, they are living in a dream. Many little people are going to emerge much sadder, but I doubt if many of those in power will emerge any wiser. The Prime Minister’s blustering performance of avoidance last night (May 27), in the face of measured and reasonable questions from his colleagues was simply cringe-worthy.

The Rees-Moggs, the Goves, the Johnsons of this world, in their vanity, their arrogance, their greed and their disdain only see the current situation as an opportunity for profit, be it financial or political. The offshore accounts will remain, as will the tax-evasion schemes, but oh, what a shame for those who have lost their jobs or businesses.

Does anyone remember the Panama Papers? Were there any significant repercussions? No.

John NE Rankin, Bridge of Allan.

Read more: Letters: It is no wonder the people are baying for blood