NICOLA Sturgeon's denial that legal limits on travel would constitute "state over-reach" ("Sturgeon denies possible travel bans would be ‘state over-reach’", The Herald, November 5) is wrong in respect of people visiting the countryside for outdoor recreation.

Under human rights law restrictions on civil liberties need to be justified by evidence and be proportionate. Scientists established months ago that the risks of Covid-19 being transmitted outdoors is minimal as long as people stay apart. And the Scottish Government has accepted this. No evidence has been produced to substantiate fears expressed earlier in the year that Covid-19 might be transmitted by people going to the beach, visiting beauty spots or touching farm gates. This is not to claim there is no risk, only that it is tiny and under human rights law therefore it is not proportionate to restrict people's right to travel to and through the countryside in order to protect the health of the population.

George Dale (Letters, November 6) is also wrong to claim there is no point issuing advice on travel without legal restrictions. The legal restrictions imposed in March were based on when people could leave their homes, whether for work, physical exercise or to care for someone, not on which local authority area you could go to or from if you had a "reasonable excuse". This worked through consent not policing. Mr Dale fails to explain how the police, even if they had the resources to set up roadblocks between local authority areas, could be expected to determine why someone was travelling. Is everyone in Scotland now to be issued with an identity card and a letter stating where and when they can travel?

What the Scottish Government needs to acknowledge that is it is not travel in itself that spreads Covid-19 between areas, it is what people do when they arrive. And, more specifically, that having travelled from a higher-risk area people should not be mixing with other people indoors. Hence the need for people arriving from abroad to be quarantined. The Scottish Government would be far better to ask the police to help with enforcing quarantining measures. These are essential if contact tracing is to work, rather than attempting to restrict people's right to leave their council area.

The importance that access to green space and to the countryside has for physical and mental health has long been established by scientific research. The consequences of trying to confine people indoors in their homes during the first lockdown should have been obvious, but there is now increasing evidence of the terrible toll this had on people's physical and mental wellbeing. The Scottish Government and its advisers need to avoid repeating those mistakes. While there are undoubted dilemmas about where to allow people to mix indoors, the Scottish Government should at present be encouraging people to get outdoors for unlimited periods and wherever they choose, including overnight stays in tents or campervans. This would help relieve the enormous pressures people are under.

Nick Kempe, Glasgow G41.

YET again we see the arrogance of the SNP Government refusing to accede to the wishes of the Scottish Parliament. Nicola Sturgeon is failing in her statements about being accountable by trying to create a smokescreen over care home deaths ("SNP approaches other UK nations over combined care homes inquiry", The Herald, November 6). She alone is responsible and accountable for care home policy in Scotland, not the four nations that she is so desperate to be separated from.

There should be no election in Scotland until the electorate know the truth of the care home fiasco, the Alex Salmond inquiry is completed and the legal advice on carrying out an internal investigation into allegations against Mr Salmond is published.

The SNP is happy to berate Trump for lying to the American people but seem happy to avoid telling Scots the truth. Double standards indeed.

Bill Eadie, Giffnock.

THERE is a conversation that the whole country needs to have, indeed, one it can’t avoid having, about how we are going to pay for the huge costs of the lockdowns, the consequent recession and the rise in the national debt by more than £350 billion. (It now stands at a terrifying £2 trillion.)

The private sector of the economy and the tax base have shrunk, whilst the public sector is as large as ever. We cannot simply make up the gap between the demands for public expenditure and the shortfall in revenue by raising taxes, nor can we keep increasing the national debt.

Also, economists have long warned of the dangers of using inflation as a means of shrinking the national debt. Those of us who remember the 1970s can confirm the destructiveness of inflation.

No, there is only one way forward; the Government must make major economies. We should start by cancelling HS2 and so save at least £100 billion. If we don’t get an EU trade deal, then we should cancel the "divorce bill". We should greatly shrink the foreign aid budget of £15 billion per year, and restrict it to emergency aid for famines and war refugees. Nor should we forget the many smaller government budgets, the arts for example.

Westminster and the devolved governments must learn the benefits of strict economy; our children’s future depends on it.

Otto Inglis, Crossgates, Fife.

IN accordance with the laws of capitalism and the market, the first signs have appeared that the Covid economy has peaked, if not burst.

On March 19, twin packs of Dettol soap, retailing at £1.30 for an aeon, became £4.30 – shops claiming it was due to "distributors costs", despite being the same bars lying on shelves for months, untouched and unloved. This was but the beginning – at the peak, they cost an outrageous £8 for two.

Now in November, despite the impending "second wave", Dettol soap twin packs have mysteriously returned to £1.30 for two again. They have regained one customer.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone.