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The Coronavirus pandemic has led to the shutdown of economic activity on a scale we could not have imagined only a few weeks ago. ‘Social distancing’ and calls for the population to remain at home have rightly been called unprecedented.

Have we ever experienced anything like this in our lifetimes? Not quite.

However, daily press briefings from Downing Street, which bring many of us together around our TV sets before reaching for a stiff G&T, do remind me of news briefings during the 1982 Falklands War. These were also required viewing. In the days before global media coverage and mobile phones, they were the nation’s only insight into events unfolding on the other side of the world.

We watched in fascinated horror as ships were sunk, with horrendous loss of life and injury, and our troops landed at San Carlos Water and ‘yomped’ across the island.

These were delivered by a career civil servant, Ian McDonald, with the most extraordinarily lugubrious and deadpan delivery which was supposed to keep the nation calm in the face of such a risky venture, undertaken to recover islands in the far South Atlantic that most of us had never heard of before.

Nearly 10 years earlier, we experienced ‘The Three Day Week’ as a country dubbed the ‘sick man of Europe’ struggled to come to terms with oil shortages, crippling inflation and the miners’ strike which led to power stations closing and the nation grinding to a halt.

I remember huddling around an open fire by candlelight during power cuts several times a week and queuing to collect petrol vouchers, which fortunately were never used.

These, of course are not comparable with our current situation, but do give me solace. We survived these extraordinary times and will survive and prosper again.

Guy Schooling, chairman, Sworders