IT’S beginning to look a lot like last Christmas. If the past year was a game of Covid snakes and ladders then we’ve just been swallowed up by a giant anaconda and slipped down a soul-destroying 50 places.

It’s tempting to toss the board and all its pieces up in the air. We’re fed up, tired and just want to wake up from the whole coronavirus nightmare.

It really does feel like we’ve gone back to square one. Who isn’t weary of being a good little citizen and sticking to the rules after nearly two years with seemingly little progress? The pandemic has dragged on

and on. When will this end?

Promises have been made and broken, “freedom days” have been exposed as the shameful exercise in spin they always were and morale has hit rock bottom as mutant strains destroy our plans.

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Nothing can match the sense of betrayal and double standards on display when Hooray Henrys and Henriettas in Downing Street laugh in our faces and give our sacrifices the two fingers as they enjoy their lockdown knees-up.

We’ve been made to feel like fools by those who should be leading by example, yet choose to rub salt in our wounds instead. The national rage is tangible as the Tories found out to their bitter cost in North Shropshire.

And then just when it seems our patience has been stretched to the limit, along comes the Covid ghost of Christmas past, only this time dressed up in its shiny new outfit called the Omicron variant. The nightmare before Christmas we had all been dreading.

It doesn’t help when we are bombarded with mixed messages – one minute we’re told it has a milder nature, the next that it’s more transmissible and the NHS won’t be able to cope with the influx of Omicron patients.

Unsurprisingly, the Scottish Government is taking no chances and imploring us to get boosters, wear our masks, avoid too much social mixing and stay at home when you can.

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And if you listen hard enough, you can hear the nation take a collective sigh of “not again”, while the screams of those in hospitality and tourism who are already struggling to survive can be heard far and wide. It’s nothing short of heartbreaking.

Has the Government been too willing to dance to the Covid modellers’ doom-laden tune? Or is it a justified response to an unknown strain? Time will tell.

In the meantime, for the rest of us, if the season of goodwill means anything, then following the latest Covid guidance – whether you agree with it or not – has to be the embodiment of that sentiment.

In fairness, most of us have been doing our best to stick to the rules anyway. To drop our guard now will only prolong the agony. Sure, face masks are annoying, the self-isolation rules may seem a little strict while getting vaccinated is an inconvenience and isn’t perfect.

But, regardless of whether or not you agree with the latest curbs, we must comply with them. If we want to save lives, prevent more businesses from going under and protect our NHS, there’s no other alternative. Do the right thing.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.