For a little while longer, please just stay at home - leader comment

On the evening of Monday, 23 March, life in the UK as we knew it changed immediately and dramatically.

In announcing lockdown to the nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson took unprecedented steps to restrict personal liberty, the like of which had never been seen outside of war time.

Ever since we have all been force to face and adapt to the new normal, many have suffered the loss of a loved one, others financial and employment worries.

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But throughout it all, the resilience of individuals and communities, which we feature in these pages on a daily basis, has been astounding.

Public support for the measures and compliance remains high. Our NHS has been stretched but not overwhelmed as had been feared, and we now appear to be on the downward curve of the outbreak.

But the sacrifices we have all made in staying at home, being separated from our friends and family, and perhaps even being unable to mourn a loved one, cannot now be thrown away.

Many aspects of everyday life are tough but while the last 50 days have been difficult and trying, the next period may well define how easily the country can emerge from this crisis - and how quickly life can return to some semblance of normality.

There is a real danger in the mix of messages from north and south of the border, and it is the responsibility of all politicians and the media to ensure this is communicated properly.

Today after the Prime Minister moved to ease restrictions in England, the First Minister, correctly in our view, retains a stricter lockdown in Scotland. This is a simple message for us all to follow, no risk of ambiguity.

The slogan of “stay at home, save lives” should continue to be our mantra until the experts deem that the threat has passed. Confusing the message and leaving open the option of interpretation at this point threatens another spike in cases, and tragically the likelihood of more deaths.

A total of 1,862 people have already died in Scotland from coronavirus. That is not simply statistic, each is a father, mother, brother or sister; each with a family in Scotland left to deal with the pain of a loved one taken too soon. For the sake of staying at home, why risk any more heartache than there already is?

Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.

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