ALTHOUGH I welcome a Christmas break, one really must question the timing (“Three families allowed to enjoy Christmas together”, The Herald, November 25).

We are given two days to travel to, say, stay with parents for Christmas, namely December 23 and 24, when public transport will be near normal, and two days to get back home, where the 26th is a Saturday (when there will be limited public transport); the 27th is a Sunday (when there is even less transport available) and, although outside the Christmas-break window, Monday 28th is a Bank Holiday, when who knows what public transport will be available?

For those travelling by road, heaven help them. I just can’t start to imagine what the roads will be like – on the 27th especially.

This is just another ill-thought-out plan by our First Minister to add to all the others she has been party to over the past few years and, in particular, the past year. Or maybe it is a ploy to ensure that the break-period won’t be used because people will find they can’t get transport home in the timescale.

At least the Northern Ireland Government has thought this through and has given a longer period for the break.

Instead of using time to think up something to say for her briefings every day, she needs to use that time to get a grip of what is going on and hold briefings when there is something important to say; maybe people will be more responsive to them.

This tier 4 lockdown is a farce. I didn’t realise just how many shops are ‘essential’ shops. Out for the first time shopping for food earlier this week, I didn’t see a closed shop and could not believe just how many people were shopping without a mask.

The First Minister needs to stop telling people what a great job they are doing keeping to the guidelines when they obviously are not.

The meeting-in-house rules are being broken, the travel rules are being broken. She needs to start talking to the minority, a large minority, who ignore the rules instead of just complimenting the ones who do go by the rules.

Henry B McColl, Cumbernauld.

SO with the announcement about the removal of the rules regarding meeting up for five days over Christmas, the leaders of the four nations of the UK have proved that they are totally incompetent to lead us, and that for them self-promotion rules the day.

Of course we know that already, with the antics of the Prime Minister and the First Minister, who both put themselves and their parties first.

The PM, to be fair to this bumbling buffoon, very rarely cares even about his own party, but continues to crave popularity, popularity and popularity.

I am so angry to think that the gates have now been opened for those in our population, wherever they may live, to meet, gather, celebrate together for five days, while pubs, restaurants and hotels look on in despair having successfully obeyed the rules which are now about to be broken with a vengeance – and “legally”.

And we all can now look forward to a January 2021 when total lockdown will be imposed, Covid rates will rise, and, God forbid, death rates will rise too – all because of the decisions of a few.

And all this happening when a cure, or cures, in the forms of vaccines, are very quickly arriving in the next few weeks.

If my prediction for the rates of infection escalating in January because of a five-day “holiday” in December is proved right, then surely all four leaders must offer their resignations immediately, and some form of national government be formed to take control of this country.

Walter Paul, Glasgow.

SURELY Ms Sturgeon has missed an obvious solution to what do about Christmas. Why not open up all schools, and allow family gatherings to take place there?

According to the government’s own advice, people from up to 30 different households could meet in each classroom in perfect safety, without any social distancing whatever.

J. Kerr, Glasgow.

NICOLA Sturgeon and the other three national leaders had a tough choice to make when it came to relaxing the Christmas guidelines.

They were probably damned if they did and damned if they didn’t.

People have put up with so much this year and they would have merrily ignored any tougher restrictions put in place for the festive season; so it was best to relax the rules while encouraging us to be sensible and not go overboard. (I wonder, though, how many of us, celebrating the festivities, will be tempted to throw caution to the winds and celebrate in the uninhibited manner we are accustomed to?)

The leaders’ handling of the Covid crisis has been far from perfect, but we have made it, one way or another, and with far too many deaths, through this year, and vaccines are at last on the way.

I do fervently hope, however, that the various governments will take everything they have learned since March and will be much better prepared for the next public health emergency, whenever that occurs.

Which it will, given the interconnectedness of the modern world.

W. Taylor, Glasgow.

IN the Covid-19 Christmas guideline instructions reference is made to three families meeting up but there is no specific information on the limitation of numbers applying.

Obviously each family unit varies in its composition and when aggregated could result in a sizeable group (say, 20-plus) meeting up in an average dwelling designed for perhaps a four- or five- member family. Such a gathering under the one roof would be unwise, albeit for a three- or four- hour period in the present lockdown climate.

With a vaccine solution on the horizon such relaxation of recognised safety procedures does seem counter-productive to the nation’s long-term health considerations.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.

I BELIEVE the vast majority of people in Scotland are sensible enough and willing to forsake over-hyped Christmas celebrations for one year, in the hope that this will contribute towards eradicating the coronavirus more quickly.

Think of the thousands of people who have sacrificed so much – some with their lives – in an attempt to combat this illness.

Why is the Scottish Government even contemplating relaxing restrictions at all, never mind for five days? Is it political, personal, practical or just pure popularism? Such a decision is not pragmatic. This could be by far the biggest mistake Sturgeon has made as First Minister.

Sandy Coghill, Sligachan, Isle of Skye.

I AM appalled that the Scottish Government is allowing admittance of hospitalised Covid cases without a negative test result into care homes for the elderly and disabled.

There is no justification for the two exceptions mentioned, i.e. those unable to give throat and nasal swabs, and those unable to give consent. For the former, saliva tests could be done, and for the latter, the person giving consent for the transfer to a care home can give consent for the test.

Care-home residents have been isolated in their own home for many months without relatives and friends being allowed to see them, other than recent weekly 30-minute garden visits when allowed.

I have nothing but praise for care home staff working tirelessly to combat the loneliness and anguish of their charges.

Ms Freeman confirmed that patients could be discharged to homes if it was in their “clinical interest”. (This can never be “proper and right” as she says.)

This should not override the “clinical interest” of existing residents. Their relatives cannot enter by the front door, so why should they risk Covid entering?

Any Covid infection in a home affects all residents, as they are confined to their rooms, and garden visits are stopped till the home is Covid clear for 28 days.

So why put existing residents at risk of illness and even more mental anguish that isolation brings? Is the reason to keep down the number of hospital cases and deaths?

Theresa Fairweather, Uddingston.

An ONS survey suggests that Scots have a higher incidence of corona virus that those elsewhere in the UK.

That will be why Ms Sturgeon is banning the latter from coming here.

I understood, from her pronouncements several months ago, that she didn’t have the power to (try to) close the border. It now seems that is wrong. Closing the border with England is, of course, part of the SNP agenda anyway, with or without coronavirus.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.

TO each his own, but I do not share Brian Beacom’s glass half-empty opinion on Hogmanay (“Hogmanay is most sobering, depressing time of year,” November 25).

I look back on very many convivial Hogmanays, with laughter, song, piano, accordion, and a libation or three, now depleted by location, infirmities, age, and friends no longer with us, but still enough left in the glass to forward to in 2021 when Covid will be less of a problem.

And I expect to begin the new year with a clear head and a clear conscience, and the resolution to look forward.

R Russell Smith, Largs.