Greenock Telegraph 10th April 2020

I remember at primary school part of the English curriculum was ‘interpretation’. I was given a written piece of work and the lesson included reading it and explaining, in my own words, what I had just read. During these times, it would appear the skill of interpretation is being pushed to its limits. Advice, which is blindingly obvious to many is completely missed on others. The nuances of working conditions, self isolation, social distancing and furloughing are debated and discussed at length but often interpreted differently. Whether that is to enable an easier outcome born from selfishness or a genuine lack of understanding is hard to say. The situation is not made easier by constantly changing information but as the crisis unfolds and our understanding grows then the advice will change.  

The number of people contracting COVID-19 will increase as will the number of people who will die from it. We each have a duty of care to ourselves our family and friends and to the wider community to do everything we can to stop the spread. The health professionals as always are on the frontline and there are many council workers that are continuing to do their job to ensure continuity of much needed services. Companies that are doing critical work are open but must ensure employees health is to the forefront of their working practices. Volunteers continue to provide a much-needed safety net, often for the most vulnerable people in our society. 

I would once again plead to those companies that remain open and are asking their workforce to continue, to take a long hard look at themselves and ask if they are putting profit over people. We are all being challenged by this pandemic and as individuals we must take personal responsibility for our own behaviour. There will be nothing new in that for most people, but it is worth reiterating. It’s good that we show our appreciation of the NHS staff and beyond by clapping but the best thing we can do is stop the spread. The solution is not dramatic, stay at home, only go outside for essential food or health and work reasons, stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people, wash your hands regularly and wash your hands as soon as you get home. Failure to observe these basic rules will create the sort of drama that we really don’t want to be part of.