Covid: Don’t be one of the selfish idiots putting us all at risk – Christine Grahame MSP

Covid ‘deniers’ and thoughtless people who are failing to wear masks and socially distance need to get the message that the coronavirus threat is still very real, writes Christine Grahame MSP.

The Test & Protect App is a vital tool in the fight to contain Covid-19
The Test & Protect App is a vital tool in the fight to contain Covid-19

In Parliament this week I listened as the rules were tightened for Covid security: pubs and restaurants closing by 10pm, no mixing of households indoors, though if you are in a “bubble” like me, living alone, you can mix with your extended family and other exemptions, all on the Scottish Government website. Six from two households can meet but outdoors and the key here is social distancing. That two metres which has been drilled into us.

Why all this grief after six months? Well it seems some folk just don’t care about Covid and couldn’t give tuppence for the scary rise in the number of cases, whether they infect some or the rise in hospital admissions.

I take you back to the dark days of March, when like many I was isolated for 12 weeks, ordering groceries online and wiping every item down with a bleached cloth, not cuddling my grandchildren.

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My staff and I were inundated with emails from folk stuck in flats with fractious children, isolated elderly people.

Then came the economic fall-out, the job losses, businesses large and small on the edge.

Today I, like you, can shop with my face covering, sanitise my hands and, being in that “bubble”, cuddle my grandchildren. Schools are back and shops, restaurants and pubs are remaining open (though some businesses still cannot open at all). Such has been the hard-won progress.

Support for businesses both from the Scottish and UK governments has saved jobs, and though the UK furlough scheme stops at the end of October I welcome the recent new wages subsidy just announced to replace it as far as it goes but not far enough. There will now be job thousands of losses. Extending furlough was the right thing to do.

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Weddings and funerals still have limited numbers. Loved family members died alone in a stark hospital bed.

But what do some folk do? They have house parties, don’t wear face coverings with no excuse – in fact some boast of it on camera – and don’t socially distance.

Some have even become Covid “deniers”. Do they think those images of poor souls in ICU, those tens of thousands of Covid deaths, are a fiction?

The Test & Protect App is important and easy to download if you can. One million of us have done this to date.

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If you can’t use it, you will still be contacted by phone if you have been close to someone who has tested positive and, of course, if you have symptoms you must self-isolate and call for a test.

But Test & Protect only comes into play when someone somewhere has not kept to the rules. So, it is time to get tough with the law-breakers and not just for tough words.

I can’t forgive Boris Johnson for saying once, in his casual unconsidered way, that it might all be over for Christmas. A phrase with an unfortunate history. He is our very own Donald Trump.

The First Minster has been much franker and sterner and we need that. Her BBC broadcasts are essential to hammer home the message that Covid is out there, on surfaces and in the air. It has not gone away. It is just held at bay by our individual actions.

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I need to hear that just as much as the next person, but most important, so do those selfish idiots – or, to be kinder, thoughtless folk – who put us all at risk. Stay safe and we will get through this together.

Christine Grahame is the SNP MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale

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