PERISH the thought, but if Jackson Carlaw had been Scotland's First Minister during this pandemic he would doubtless have followed his boss Boris Johnson's policy on early opening of schools to the letter, and look at the mess that turned into. As things stand, pupils in Scotland will return to school in a carefully controlled way in August, by which time we should have a clear idea of where we are in this health crisis, and what creases need to be ironed out so that children can receive maximum education at minimum risk.

Carole Ford (Letters, June 18) suggests we can learn from China's example, and on hand hygiene, I know of at least one local authority where compulsory hand washing in schools will take place on an hourly basis. However, on the subject of all children wearing face masks, I would suggest that might be a frightening experience for young children; and indeed for anyone, wearing a face mask for several hours can be very uncomfortable. In accordance with Government guidelines I've started to wear a face mask when I'm inside a shop and I find it suffocating, even for a short amount of time.

Elizabeth Marshall (Letters, June 18) suggests that Nicola Sturgeon should get the schools, pubs and shops open and let us all get on with our lives; the problem is, do all that too soon, and many people may not have lives to get on with. It is simply not worth taking chances with the health of the entire population which might undo all the good work of recent weeks. The First Minister is carefully steering us through very turbulent times; slow and steady will keep us on an even keel, haste could see us crash onto the coronavirus rocks.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

JOHN Breckenridge (Letters, June 18) says that “we must lift lockdown now and be prepared to accept that Covid-19 will take some more lives”. I wonder precisely whose lives he thinks it acceptable to lose.

David Clark, Tarbolton.

COULD the democratic decisions taken by the Scottish Government during lockdown have a detrimental effect on our public expenditure in future years, over and above increased unemployment?

For instance, only allowing essential work outside the home in Scotland, while England encouraged a return to work if it could not be done from home, meant that construction work (and its spin-offs) continued to operate for most of the lockdown. Now with retail and other facilities also functioning, a small but significant boost will have been made to the collection of direct and indirect taxes south of the Border. The actual sum will be available and open to comparison.

Governments must be answerable for their decision-making, which makes me wonder if next year's Barnett Formula could be adjusted to take account of the decisions taken by the Scottish Government during this time.

Iris Clyde, Kirkwall.