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OPINION: Support the magnificent NHS: it is our army, navy and airforce right now

A message of support for NHS workers hung near Ninewells hospital in Dundee.
A message of support for NHS workers hung near Ninewells hospital in Dundee.

At times in the past few days it has felt as though our entire world has shifted on its axis.

Everything we know and love has changed.

And if you are not punch drunk, discombobulated, woozy, anxious or stressed then you must surely be an ox. Because that is a constitution and a half that you have got right there.

Nurses on the frontline of the original coronavirus outbreak in Wihan, China

A month ago coronavirus was China’s problem. It is not any more. It is ours.
When television screens showed parts of sub-Saharan Africa in crisis in the late 1980s we responded.  We did more than just sympathise and offer platitudes.

Globally society came together to address the issue and raise a huge amount of money to try to improve the lot of those with nothing. It was a magnificent effort.

But once that initial frenzy of activity subsided, it was the few rather than the many that continued to fight on behalf of those who could not fight for themselves.

That is entirely understandable. People are busy and, not to put too fine a point on it, it is easy to lose sight of things happening in faraway places when dealing with the regular priorities of day-to-day living.

That is why this current crisis is different. Not since the Second World War has every household in the UK faced an immediate threat.

We know coronavirus knows no boundaries and it spreads quickly.

In one day alone last week – the same day it emerged that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had tested positive for Covid-19 – the chief medical officer’s estimation of the number of cases within Scotland jumped by 15,000.

That uplift is roughly equivalent to the entire population of Forfar – in a single day.

This invisible killer is cutting a swathe through our communities and spreading fear as much as it is infection.

No longer are we able to sit back in our own homes – and that is exactly what we should all be doing right now – comfortable in the knowledge that whatever bad thing is happening in the world right now it is happening somewhere else to someone else.

We have no option but to address it. It is a frightening and sobering thought.

But we must try to remain positive and, just as our forebears did by Digging for Victory, we must do our bit to help support those fighting on the frontline.

‘Thank you to all NHS staff’. A banner close to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee says what we all are thinking.

The magnificent NHS is Britain’s army, navy and air force right now.

Huge sums of money are being ploughed in by government to ensure our hospitals have the resources to cope with whatever should come their way in the weeks ahead.

Our role in this is to sit tight, keep away from others as much as possible and wash our hands thoroughly.

It is a small ask. Please just do it.

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