WHAT do you most want to be able to do when coronavirus cases are low enough and enough people are vaccinated for restrictions to start to be eased?

Everyone will, understandably, have different priorities depending on their circumstances.

Many people will want to see children back into school full time.

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Others will want their workplace to be able to open up again to give them the best chance of staying in a job.

Visiting in care homes and hospital and lifting the restrictions on household mixing will be a priority for many people.

Being able to travel to other parts of the country to visit family and friends will be close to the top of other people’s list.

How many of us can really say that going on holiday for a week or two weeks abroad is a priority?

Of course, it would be good and many people will feel they are desperate for a break after the last year and with the current weather, the thought of sunshine and warmth is attractive.

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But is it necessary and more importantly is it worth it given the danger it poses of putting us right back where we were last summer?

There have been many mistakes made in dealing with the virus and trying to stop it spreading after it was suppressed last summer.

How residents in care homes were treated is one, allowing students to return to campus was another.

Hopefully, those making the decisions have learned from those as we see the number of cases go down and the number in hospital and intensive care also fall.

One of the wrong decisions last summer, was to allow foreign travel.

Glasgow Times:
It has been identified that one of the main drivers of the second wave of infections was allowing it to be re-imported into the country from abroad when it was driven down low enough to start to lift some of the lockdown.

The quarantine system will take effect on Monday and there will be two different systems in place in the UK mainland.

For people travelling to England there will be a list of countries (the Red List) where those travelling from will have to book and pay for 10-day isolation stay in a quarantine hotel.

But the list is pretty small and the only European country included is Portugal.
In Scotland, the system is all travellers outside the UK and Ireland common travel area will need to isolate in a quarantine hotel.

No-one should really be travelling in and out of the country at all and as an island we should be able to manage the borders effectively.

It is not only about holidays, though as, in a globalised world there are people living in other countries for whom travel from one country to another to see family is as important as it is for someone here to want to travel to another part of the country for the same reason. 

There may be some who need to travel for work or business purposes as well.

So, if, as the virus is suppressed low enough to begin some careful easing and there are to be gradually introduced exceptions to the no travel rule there has to be strict isolation and quarantine.

The alternative is for a small number of cases to be brought into the country which then, because we are mixing more as lockdown eases, will spread rapidly just as they did last year.

The ideal situation has to be that we all agree not to travel abroad for the rest of the year.

It will be hugely difficult for those industries that rely on foreign travel but the alternative is perpetual lockdown until the whole world is vaccinated effectively and there are next to no cases of Covid-19 in existence anywhere in the world.

There is no scenario where everyone returns to life as it was before March 2019. So many parts of life that have changed in lockdown will remain for a long time and some for good.

The ability to travel freely, quickly and without many restrictions is one of the great changes of the last half century.

It will need to be curtailed for longer to allow life to be more normal for more people.

So, like in the way the governments and their advisers prioritise what will be relaxed first when it is possible, we need to prioritise our expectations.

What we, and others, need, must come first and that means for some of the things we want and would like, we may have to be prepared to wait even longer for.

Education, jobs and health have to come first. 

Glasgow Times:
We are going to come out of this pandemic and lockdown slowly.

The last thing we want is to be pushed back into it quickly.

In other countries, notably New Zealand and Australia, strict no travel policy has helped control the virus effectively.

Obviously, their geographical position is different from Scotland and the UK.

But if we are going to control this virus and stop new cases coming over our borders as we reduce its spread within the borders, we need to manage movement of people more effectively.

Foreign travel for now, is something we need to forego to allow life as we know it at home to return.

Stay at home will take on a new meaning.