I WORK in professional sport and over the past few months as part of a group of administrators I have been closely involved in reviewing the impact of the coronavirus on elite athletes from sports throughout the world. This has included being part of discussions with medical directors from governing bodies internationally as well as senior medical staff from WHO and on one occasion the Head of Performance Medicine at Harvard University.

While I am not medically qualified, I do consider that it would be reasonable to say that I am rather better informed than the average person who is reliant on the media for their information. From my involvement I can confidently state that the one constant in this situation has been the rapidity by which the volume and quality of data relating to the virus has increased and knowledge and understanding of its impact has informed the need to adapt our response to reflect this.

At the outset each country took its own stance relative to the scientific evidence available at the time. Inevitably this stance was clearly informed by politics and we can see the results of that by a comparison, albeit simplistic, between, for example, New Zealand and the United States.

The situation in which we now find ourselves across the UK reflects this. At the outset the available science within the UK led the Westminster and the devolved governments to the same starting point. However, as the scientific evidence grew, Westminster chose one path while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland took a different approach which reflected the same principles as those countries throughout the world who sought to eliminate rather than contain the virus.

The evidence now clearly suggests this path has been the more circumspect, while only time will tell whether it proves to be wholly successful. What is clear, however, is that the actions of the devolved governments have been taken based around a structured and strategic response to evidence rather than, as appears to be the case, a series of ill-considered reactions to prevailing political dynamics that seems to characterise the Westminster administration.

It has also been the case that far from relying on "common sense" as promoted by the politicians, those tasked with returning the athletes to training have been extremely prescriptive about what constitutes good, and safe practice leaving no room for doubt as to what is required. While that may appear to be dictatorial and imposing on an individual's freedom, in reality one individual not complying with protocols can have a serious effect on everyone else around them.

These are unprecedented times, calling for clarity and effective governance. I leave it to others to determine the degree to which this has been achieved across the UK.

Bill Mitchell, Kyle of Lochalsh.

I HAVE had asthma all my life, and contrary to what you're told, after five decades it never gets any easier. I also have difficulty wearing the now-mandatory facemask for a prolonged period - after two hours I am struggling to breathe, and am obliged to head home to take it off.

But the crux of the matter is none of us should be staying out longer than necessary anyway. To paraphrase the old rabies adverts, Covid-19 is still a killer.

To those bleating about their "freedom", would you sooner have "cabin fever" or Covid-19 fever? Until there's a reliable cure, that's the gamble you take with your own life and everyone you come into contact with.

Israel and the United States are now paying horrific prices for their complacency and hubris - let their fate be our warning.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone.