We long for the day when we are not publishing daily death tolls - leader comment

It has become the grim daily marker of the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Edinburgh in lockdownEdinburgh in lockdown
Edinburgh in lockdown

The daily statistics which are published each lunchtime have almost become run-of-the-mill, often even passing without comment.

The Scotsman reports them every day – without fail.

These are not just numbers. No-one should ever forget what they represent – they are the lives of neighbours, relatives and friends taken too soon.

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Yesterday, the statistics showed another 559 positive coronavirus tests in the previous 24 hours in Scotland, but no new deaths for the first time in a month. Even with the caveat of a weekend reporting lag, zero deaths has to be positive news.

As vaccinations continue, and amid talk of staycations back on this summer, brighter days certainly seem to be within our grasp.

But caution has to continue to be the watchword in the weeks ahead as our thoughts turn to relaxing restrictions.

It is natural to want things to return to a semblance of normality as quickly as possible, we all do, but this cannot be at the risk of infections – and the inevitable death toll – rising again.

Boris Johnson yesterday pledged a “cautious but irreversible” approach to easing lockdown in England.

All the evidence suggests Nicola Sturgeon will be even more cautious north of the Border, as demonstrated by the current quarantine row.

Neither leader will want to damage the progress that has been made as the route out of this nightmare is weighed up.

Importantly, no-one in Edinburgh or London will want to risk easing restrictions simply to have to later U-turn and plunge the country into another devastating lockdown.

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When Scotland and the UK emerges from lockdown it has to be for good, giving business certainty and the population confidence in leading their daily lives. That will be a long and delicate process, but cannot be rushed.

Everyone on The Scotsman longs for the day when we will no longer be reporting the Scottish Government’s bulletin every lunchtime, and when reports of dozens of deaths can never again seem ‘normal’. We will continue though until that number is zero – every day.



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