Keep calm on coronavirus: We owe it to the wartime generation

Every day seems to bring even more incredible headlines around the coronavirus outbreak. Troops on the streets, over-70s being asked to isolate within weeks, police being given powers to arrest and forcibly quarantine people who are sick and not following the guidance...

The media is often accused of whipping up panic but in this case the news needs no exaggeration. Reporting the bare facts is grim enough.

This is real, it is here and we are all going to have to get used to our lives being disrupted significantly over the next few months at least.

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No-one can predict how bad this is going to become but we can be certain things are going to get worse before they get better.

Much has been written about the “war-time” spirit.

The sad fact is that those who remember that spirit and sense of community will also be those most at risk in the coming weeks.

It is everyone’s duty to follow the official guidance, accept the disruption and do what they can to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday that “our generation has never been tested like this”.

That is true but our grandparents and great-grandparents were and we owe it to them to meet this challenge head on.

The inconvenience which we face is clearly major and like nothing we have ever seen. However, it is also minor compared to that which the older generation were forced to contend.

Already, we are cheered by fantastic examples of communities rallying round, for example the shop owner in northwest Edinburgh who has been handing our free packs of toilet roll, anti-bacterial handwash, tissues and paracetamol to his elderly customers.

Some streets have set-up WhatsApp groups to make sure elderly and vulnerable residents are being cared for and have everything they need. There will be many examples up and down the country as the crisis brings out the best in humanity.

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best seems like a good strategy for everyone to adopt at the moment. And amid it all, keep calm, stop the panic buying, phone elderly and vulnerable relatives, and listen to the experts and trusted sources for guidance.

It is a grim situation but this will not last forever. We will emerge stronger.


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