With the UK on lockdown and everyone asked to stay home as much as possible, it’s a tense day around Scotland as families work out their situations and those with jobs that depend on human interaction worried about their futures.
Newspaper writers are in full contemplation mode, with leader writers and columnists trying to figure out what this all means for the country. There aren’t any easy answers, but there are no shortages of opinions.
By the numbers
Fewer people are to be tested for coronavirus, so it makes sense that the number of positive tests would decline. The official count is now at 171 cases, compared to 153 the day before. The government will no longer test everyone it suspects of carrying the virus, instead using data from 200 GP practices and information from the hospitals which carry out their own testing.
Mum, meet Facebook
Catriona Stewart at The Herald wonders if the crisis may return us to the innocent days of social media, when cat videos were still a novelty and whispering a keyword into the night didn’t lead to a slew of related advertisements on your social accounts. She’s so hopeful that she set her mother up with a new Facebook account to keep in touch with friends and family, a true act of hope given the disastrous state of online discourse. Stay safe, Ma Stewart.
Lock them up?
The leader writers at The Scotsman believe the “measures designed to fight coronavirus may be draconian but they are necessary to save lives.” The piece argues that the government’s job is to tell us what to do, and our job is to do it. And in this case, that means staying away from other people and doing what we can to help the vulnerable. The paper would also like to see the government impose penalties for those who fail to heed its advice – a tricky proposition in a well-intentioned democracy.
Over in the New York Times, Jochen Bittner wonders if the crisis is an opportunity for Europe to “be reminded of higher values.” He presents a fascinating scenario unfolding in Germany, where the country possesses more ventilators than average and has the capacity to build more. Should it stockpile them for domestic use or share them with its EU neighbours as an act of solidarity?
Coronavirus – the new Brexit
Meanwhile, the Guardian’s Joel Golby writes what we’re all thinking quietly in our heads but not saying out loud just yet. Basically, we’re all a bunch of bozos who are going to replace our Brexit bickering with virus arguments. “Brexit is done now – in that we have exited Europe and ruined three consecutive Christmases by arguing about it. But just as we were going to get down to the nitty-gritty of actually going into free-trade freefall, coronavirus happened. And – seamlessly – the point-scoring back-and-forth of domestic Brexit arguments has moved on to that.”