Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon speaks for nation in wishing Boris Johnson well – leader comment

The UK’s leaders have been doing this country proud in the coronavirus outbreak – in contrast to some others around the world.

Boris Johnson in a video message posted online shortly before he went to hospital (Picture: 10 Downing Street/AFP via Getty Images)

Nicola Sturgeon surely spoke for the nation when she said, following the news that the Prime Minister had been taken into intensive care, “we are all willing you on Boris, get well soon”. And not just Scotland, but the UK as well.

The deterioration in Boris Johnson’s condition may bring home the seriousness of Covid-19 to anyone who still doubts it or treats the lockdown restrictions as a joke. For others, it could be a rather frightening development; if even the Prime Minister, someone with access to the best health advice and care, can be seriously affected by this disease, then anyone can.

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But we must not lose heart. The best way to get through this is with “self-discipline”, “quiet good-humoured resolve” and “fellow-feeling” as Queen Elizabeth said in her address at the weekend.

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Nicola Sturgeon: 'We are all willing you on Boris'

That Sturgeon would display such fellow-feeling towards Johnson is evidence that, when it really comes down to it, at a fundamental level we are united, regardless of our political differences, in caring for one another as individuals. And, when all of this is over, we would do well to remember this, both in political debate and in how we treat one another more generally.

While our leaders have been doing Britain proud in recent weeks, not all countries have not been so lucky, with a few politicians around the world attempting to ignore the science, the best health advice and the evidence before their eyes or attempting to turn this devastating disease to their own narrow advantage. Their shame will last long in history; indeed, it may well be their abiding legacy.

According to the latest figures, 6,169 people in the UK have now died after contracting Covid-19. But there is hope. UK Government adviser Sir Patrick Vallance pointed out there are signs that the lockdown’s restrictions are working with the number of infections not rising as sharply as would be expected without them. It is also clear from dramatic falls in public transport use and traffic generally that the vast majority of people are abiding by the rules. We are showing “self-discipline”.

This is a frightening disease and, particularly for those living alone, the isolation of the lockdown can be depressing. So it’s important for us all to do our best to keep our spirits up and help those we know who might be struggling do the same.

In other words, we should all will each other on.

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