Covid Scotland: Why it's time to start living our lives again instead of existing in fear – Susan Dalgety

Much as I cherish Edinburgh, I love the adventure of new places.

Monday, 14th February 2022, 12:30 pm
Scotland's clinical director Jason Leitch, right, seen with Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, is right that Covid is not over (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Scotland's clinical director Jason Leitch, right, seen with Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, is right that Covid is not over (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/pool/AFP via Getty Images)

One of the worst aspects of Covid was being largely confined to home, with little opportunity for travel.

There were some dark days, especially early on in the pandemic and again when the Delta wave hit, when I thought I would never again enjoy exploring the world.

So it was with great excitement that I set off for Malawi three weeks ago. Until the pandemic, I had visited the southern Africa country every year since 2005, when I first went with the-then First Minister, Jack McConnell.

I didn’t even mind the two PCR tests I had to pay for, or wearing a mask for 31 hours straight on the long journey home. I was happy to follow every rule if it meant I could once again spend time in a country that has become my second home.

While there, news broke that Malawi had possibly reached the endemic stage of the virus, with most of its 18 million population already infected with Covid.

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Researchers found that as early as last summer, long before Omicron struck, as many as 80 per cent of people had had the virus, and even though only five per cent of people have been vaccinated, the country could be out of danger.

Surely we must be at the same stage here? Every adult who wants to get vaccinated will have had at least two, probably three jabs, by now.

Covid will always be with us, but the time has come when we have to learn to live with it, just as we live with seasonal, potentially deadly, infections like flu.

The national clinical director, Professor Jason Leitch, who has rarely been off our screens since February 2020, warned a few days ago that the pandemic is far from over.

He said: “We’re not close to after the pandemic. The World Health Organisation thinks we’re about halfway through, so this pandemic won’t end in February.”

He’s right. It won’t end this month. But the bulk of the restrictions that have so affected us must come to an end soon, hopefully when the government publishes its ‘return to normal’ guidelines next week.

We all need to start living our lives instead of existing in fear – and that includes Prof Leitch.

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