HOW would you feel if the Government announced that police would start patrolling our streets and fining anyone without a valid reason to be out?

This question will, without a doubt, divide our readers.

Many will say it the mere idea is absolutely outrageous; that such a total shutout of our society will do massive damage to the economy, which could potentially also damage people’s health and wellbeing in the long-term.

The reason we ask is that the idea of on-the-spot fines is one of the coronavirus restrictions suggested in a letter which we publish today from one of Oxford’s NHS nursing heroes.

The nurse in question actually works in one of our Intensive Care Units (ICUs) which, in terms of healthcare, are about as front-line as it gets.

Many of you will be lucky enough that you have never had to spend time on an ICU: some of us in the Oxford Mail team have, and we can assure you they are extraordinary places.

These are the places in hospitals where doctors and nurses work around the clock every single day, every week, all year long, to try to save the lives of people on the brink of death.

Sometimes they win, and sometimes they lose.

The fact that this nurse works in this extraordinary environment does not make her a public health expert. However, it does mean that she and her colleagues are the ones who have to literally pick up the pieces of the decisions the rest of us make during a pandemic.

It means that, when we cry 'outrageous' at the idea of having to not leave our house for a few weeks, and we march out into a busy town centre increasing the risk of spreading the virus, she and her colleagues are more likely to have to deal with another beloved grandmother who has fallen ill needlessly.

None of this means she is right, but we would advise that all restriction sceptics just think about what this pandemic means for our ICU heroes before they speak.

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