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Editor's Viewpoint

Restrictions on daily life there for a reason during coronavirus outbreak

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News that Prince Charles has a mild form of the coronavirus naturally made the headlines yesterday. (Ben Birchall/PA)

News that Prince Charles has a mild form of the coronavirus naturally made the headlines yesterday. (Ben Birchall/PA)

News that Prince Charles has a mild form of the coronavirus naturally made the headlines yesterday. (Ben Birchall/PA)

News that Prince Charles has a mild form of the coronavirus naturally made the headlines yesterday. At 71 the heir to the throne is in one of the greatest at risk groups but, thankfully, he is said to be in otherwise good health and continuing with his work. His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, is not infected.

Given his heavy list of engagements in recent times and the number of people he was exposed to, it is not totally surprising that he became infected and, unfortunately, many will shrug off his experience as the norm for the spread of the disease.

It is regrettable that coronavirus is often seen as a threat only to those in the over 70 age group or to people with underlying health problems. Certainly that is how younger people regard it. But the facts revealed yesterday should make them have a hurried rethink.

In England a 21-year-old girl with no history of health problems died from the disease; so too did an otherwise healthy 37-year-old British diplomat in the embassy in Budapest. And a 40-year-old pastor from Co Down who has spent the past week in intensive care battling the disease gave powerful testimony yesterday on its grip. It was, he said, sucking the life out of his lungs making him certain he was going to die.

All of the above should dispel any doubt that this is a deadly disease and its doesn't matter if you are royalty or commoner, young or old or in good health, it can strike at anyone at any time.

The unprecedented restrictions on our daily life are there for a reason - to try to curb the spread of the disease and save lives. As a relative of one elderly patient who died in Northern Ireland yesterday said, the virus is not spreading, people are spreading the virus. We can make a huge difference by simply sitting on our sofas, keeping our distance from anyone outside the household, even our children or grandchildren or our parents or grandparents, and observing good hygiene practices. If we venture outside again keep our distance from others, a minimum of six feet.

It is a message which is getting through with some workers protesting that not enough is being done to protect them. But we don't have to work in a factory or an industry where people are close together to run the risk of infection. All we have to do is ignore the advice we have been given. And believe it or not there are some who continue to do that. Do they not value life?

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