THIS morning I heard a politician stating that shops and supermarkets should enforce social distancing and one-way systems. On entering a supermarket I met a man exiting the “Entrance only” door. Last week I asked a bare-faced gentleman in a small shop if he could not afford a mask, despite the fact that he had arrived in a large BMW. He claimed that he did not need one (so I assumed that he was a relative or colleague of Boris Johnson).

Every day I pass through a small shopping mall which has face-covering notices, a one-way system, and which is staffed by security and cleaning employees all with face masks. However at least 10 per cent of the public walk bare-faced and in the wrong direction.

On pavements I frequently have to step aside from adults and/or older schoolchildren in pairs or small groups who will not allow easy self-distancing.

It would be helpful if public health officials or policemen were on hand to guide the miscreants in the first instance or to fine them for repeat offences.

In our town the parking wardens and police have disappeared from streets. Perhaps the wardens are working from home? Any police presence is limited to speedy flashing cars.

Never mind moaning about the new lockdown regulations which are less than those in March. To help the NHS again, let's get some positive official action at street level instead of hoping that shop assistants or the general public will confront those who ignore FACTS or lockdown requirements.

JB Drummond, Kilmarnock.

RECENT news headlines have encouraged people to refer themselves to the NHS. Really? Which NHS are we talking about?

The NHS that doesn't allow dentists to carry out routine processes such as filling teeth, offering only extraction as an alternative? Or the NHS where surgeries are no longer providing routine (but essential) services such as syringing ears with the resultant discomfort and deafness? Or the one which has delayed by more than six months an assessment by a specialist movement disorder team and delayed a regular check-up for a post-cancer surgery patient? Or the one where a hearing and tinnitus assessment has been delayed by more than five months?

These experiences have all occurred within my close family, resulting in discomfort, distress, lack of support and additional expense when having to resort to private alternatives, something that would certainly not even have been considered in pre-Covid times.

As I write I have received a call regarding a relative who has been informed that surgery is needed for a distressing and painful ailment but who has been told that there will be a delay.

And what about all the people we are told are waiting in considerable pain for hip or knee replacements?

So exactly which NHS are we avoiding approaching?

Kay Gall, Newtongrange.

YOUR front-page headline about GP phone consultations ("Patients’ fears as GPs still rely on phone consultations", The Herald October 12) reminded me of a time many years ago when I called out the doctor at night to attend our sick child. As I apologised for disturbing him at night he replied: "Don't worry about it, he said, you can't diagnose over the phone". Wise words indeed.

Shaun Murphy, Kilbirnie.

THE First Minister appeals to us to understand the difficult choices she has to make balancing health and the economy. I suggest that her primary motive is balancing health with ballot box predictions.

You do not have to be a health expert to have been able to predict that the return of schools and universities would increase the incidence of Covid-19. Indeed, the Scottish Government was initially of the same opinion when proposing blended learning for schools, whatever that meant. However that was soon dumped for fear of a voter backlash. Similarly, not allowing students to return to universities and colleges would have gone down like a lead balloon with consequential damage at the polls, albeit I concede it would have probably caused financial meltdown in the tertiary education sector.

As a result, and in a need to be seen to do something to show her leadership qualities, Nicola Sturgeon again targets hospitality and her Government-employed experts rake over the figures to find a connection to hospitality to demonstrate that she is following the science.

From my experience, many people are now making their own risk assessment regarding how they intend to live, as they are losing respect for Ms Sturgeon's leadership.

Duncan Sooman, Milngavie.

MUCH as Fidelma Cook is my “go to” Saturday morning reading and much as it hurts to say she is wrong, but a First Minister with a legal background who is unable to define the Covid risk difference between alcohol-free restaurants and alcohol-free cafes is not “reasonable and adherable to” ("Our day is enlivened by the warrior cry of a man getting back on his feet", Herald Magazine, October 10). Keep well, Fidelma.

John Dunlop, Ayr.

IT is a regular theme of many of your contributors to compare the performances of Denmark and Sweden with the UK and Scotland in their handling of the Covid pandemic, suggesting that the more severe methods used here don't justify the outcomes. We shouldn't ignore the fact that both Sweden and Denmark spend considerably more on their health services, as a percentage of GDP, than the UK and this effect is multiplied when their much higher GDP figures are taken into account.

Add in other factors such as Sweden and Denmark's much lower obesity rates, a key indicator of Covid mortality, then it doesn't follow that we in the UK should follow the same path. In short: Denmark and Sweden have healthier, wealthier, more resilient and less susceptible societies in the first place.

John Jamieson, Ayr.

I APPRECIATE that it is not within the DNA of most politicians but it really is about time they admitted that they haven't got a clue about how to stop this virus, short of making everyone wander around in a deep-sea diver's suit.

Nothing they have tried has worked and the latest round of restrictions will make no difference whatsoever. Time to admit that all these initiatives that are wrecking our economy and disadvantaging our young are based on nothing more than "try and see" and the following-the-science mantra which is spouted any time a journalist asks an awkward question is smoke and mirrors, as everyone knows that scientists, much like economists, cannot agree on anything.

It's obvious surely that until such time as a vaccine comes on stream we are going to have to live with Covid-19 and accept that just as the risk of a heart attack, stroke or cancer is a risk of life, so it is with Covid.

In the meantime by all means continue with masks, social distancing and other sensible hygiene protocols but enough of lockdown and mothballing the NHS to the extent that the number of preventable non-Covid deaths outnumber the pandemic deaths, not to mention cancelled surgery for painful joint replacements and dentistry and of course the toll on mental health.

The Government approach – including the devolved administrations – has been proven to be ineffective and it's time now to get back to as normal as possible for everyone's sake.

James Martin, Bearsden.

COULD someone ask Jason Leitch: if only one-fifth of detected Covid cases come in some tangential way from hospitality where are the other four-fifths coming from?

It would be of benefit to know why an industry with such a low proportion of cases is being punished in such a drastic manner. It would also be of use to know what if any action is being directed – and successfully – at the other 80 per cent of cases that are outwith hospitality.

If the good dentist can explain that one and indicate the same punitive action against the 80% as against hospitality I’ll raise a glass (or maybe two) to him.

David McMillan, Paisley.