I AM certain I am not alone in thinking that the UK Government’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak has an air of Dad’s Army about it. The needless letter I will receive from Captain Mainwaring in 10 Downing Street, which apparently represents more than £5 million of taxpayers money is unwelcome at a time we have so much variety in media, and I feel the money should have gone to the NHS. I would rather he sent me a Covid-19 testing kit.

No, Boris Johnson, you can’t laugh your way out of this one. There is a world of difference between having a notional plan for medical emergencies and being fully prepared for one. In this case our sentries seem to have been asleep on duty and never had bullets for their rifles anyway. Since we abandoned a manufacturing-based economy for a service-based one we cannot respond quickly in scale to emergency resource needs. Ventilators? Aprons? Masks? Everyone in the UK seems to have discovered panic buying and now finally our Government is at it. I would have expected more foresight.

The problem with a parliamentary democracy is that investment in the mythical secret warehouses we used to think existed for emergencies does not win votes.

Considering the millions we provide through government agencies and charities to research into cancer, strokes, heart disease and so forth, we have to ask ourselves how much we commit for research into combating viruses which we now know can bring the whole country to a halt and also for provisioning the processes required for testing and immunology.

But the fact remains that we knew since early January the genetic code for Covid- 19 and we could have been geared up to test everyone and isolate the positive. Instead we have adopted a universal “ keep away” policy which has been used since biblical times to stop contagion. A cheap solution now, perhaps, but I expect more costly in the long term.

A democratically elected government’s prime directive is to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its people. If this Government has been so unprepared for the current crisis, I believe we must ask ourselves what other emergencies are it also not prepared for?

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

I AM not a virologist, but cannot help expressing surprise and concern over official statements concerning the test for antibodies (Ab) against Covid-19. At least one Cabinet minister has described the test as a "game changer", and even more worrying, test-yourself-at-home kits are becoming available on the internet.

The test, if shown to be reliable, may be a useful epidemiological tool with which to map where the virus is, and has been, and of use in vaccine development, but it surely cannot be used as a signal of readiness to return to work or to abandon social distancing. A positive test for Ab means a person has immunity due either to a recent or current Covid-19 infection, it does not mean that person is no longer shedding infectious viruses. Used indiscriminately as an all-clear, could it not lead to a dangerously false sense of security and an actual increase in population exposure to virus particles? I would be delighted if one of your readers were to correct me on this.

Professor Angus Mackay, Ardrishaig, Argyll.

MORE than two weeks ago, when I saw how Covid-19 was spreading from China, I made the decision that I would not go to hospital if I became ill. Although I am frequently told how fit I am for my age I only have to look at my birth certificate to confirm that I am no longer in the first flush of youth. I feel it would be better that a younger person make use of a ventilator and the services of the medical staff. Our planet’s future lies with the young. I was therefore most interested to hear similar ideas being expressed on BBC Radio 4's Any Answers on Saturday.

I told my family last week who are, of course, not happy, but they know my opinions as I have a Living Will, written in 1998, and a DNAR. They have their own families and I had 57 happy years of marriage with my beloved late husband.

Obviously the worst feature of this decision would be that one could be alone at a time when family would normally be coming from far and near to provide support. One contributor on Saturday had a suggestion for those of us who are making this decision. There would be a dedicated telephone line which would lead to someone “medical” (in the widest sense of the word) coming to be there at the end.

Perhaps a Herald reader has a different solution.

(Mrs) Kathleen Gorrie, Helensburgh.

WE are in the grip of a deadly virus that is robbing our children of both normality and an education. It may require a lockdown that extends for months – perhaps a year until a vaccine is widely available. However, while toilet roll is in short supply, we have an abundance of television channels, several of which could be utilised for social purposes in the interim.

Scotland’s Government should be arranging for a full education curriculum to be broadcast daily, with groups of leading ( and charismatic) teachers in each subject, contact numbers for guidance for children and parents, and course work which can be down-loaded or sent through the post. None of this should be difficult to arrange, and we don’t want children to lose a year in their educational lives. Plus, it will give them a semblance of normality, and relieve parents of the burden of “entertaining” their delightful progeny.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

I ENTIRELY agree with Sheila Duffy's point about cancelling Trident and diverting the money to the NHS (Letters, March 30); however, I don't agree with her comment that standing on our doorsteps last Thursday clapping NHS workers was a "meaningless gesture". It was a very small thing to do and took up only a minute of our time, but it was an act of solidarity to show our appreciation of dedicated, brave people who are working hard under difficult circumstances to care for people who are at their most vulnerable.

I suspect that many people who stood on their doorsteps or at their windows, clapping, may never have actively supported a cause before. Making this gesture might just encourage them to join campaigns in the future; after all, every journey begins with a single step, and I am reminded of the 2014 independence referendum when people who had never before been politically involved found themselves joining in with the campaigns on either side of the debate.

Like Thelma Edwards (Letters, March 30), I too heard neighbours clapping in the misty night last Thursday, and felt comforted. This Thursday, I hope others will join us and let the clapping be heard even louder.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

NHS staff have received tremendous praise from all members of the general public and rightly so. Once the crisis is past, I would like see places of entertainment – football clubs, theatres and the like – give any unused seats to local hospital staff as a way of showing our appreciation of the great work they are doing.

John Connor, Dunfermline.

I DO so agree with the expressions of thanks to the various health workers who are doing such a wonderful job of caring for the victims of this virus, but would also like to thank the many legions of frontline home carers who are coming and going and are at particular risk when carrying out such close-up work as washing, dressing and the like amongst the elderly and disabled.

Alan Stephen, Glasgow G44.

AN Englishman's home is his castle. However, the virus crisis has made it his prison and for many a place of solitary confinement, which should open the eyes of all to the misery of prison sentences and the punishments within.

Perhaps more will now take an enlightened view about the prison conditions the inmates experience and come to regard the purpose of such incarceration to be rehabilitation rather than punishment.

What the virus has also done is to convert us all to a Cyclops limited to our own little islands and kept amused by the one-eyed idiot in the corner of our homes, being liberally brainwashed by the innumerable public announcements.

We will all welcome our release from this bondage but it may take us a bit longer to recover our freedom of thought after the deluge showered upon us from this public platform.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

I MAY be locked in but I can still look out to a ruined building where a bunch of daffodils are nodding their heads in the breeze. Wordsworth watched the daffodils, and sitting on his couch years later he sat back closed his eyes and saw the scene again with his inner eye. We can all do that.

Kay Murray, Largs.

I SEE that Prince Charles is out of self-isolation. Jings, crivvens, help ma boab. If that was a fortnight it'll be the end of June in nae time.

Rachel Martin, Musselburgh.

YOUR headline "Six months before life in Britain 'returns to normal'" (The Herald, March 30) made me remember that those of us who lived through the war had six years of it: six years of grey-coloured breakfast cereal, toilet paper you could see through, no holidays, children – including me – evacuated to places far from home, air raid warnings in the middle of the night, austerity everywhere.

So, let us get this "six months" threat into proportion. We can keep in touch and do many sociable activities with the help of the hitherto-despised, electronic devices.

We can weather this storm – so long as we obey the rules – for six months at least.

Alison Lambie, Stirling.

COULD someone please advise me if I have missed an announcement that speed restrictions have been lifted during the current crisis?

The A741 between Paisley and Renfrew seems to have become a race track rather than a dual carriageway with a 30mph speed restriction.

As we have been advised to limit our travel unless essential, I wonder if these vehicles are unmarked emergency vehicles using the reduced volume of traffic to speed to someone's salvation, or is this the hooligan element in our society showing their complete disregard for the laws of the land?

Allan Halliday, Paisley.

Read more: Now we know for sure that austerity was not necessary