HELENSBURGH’S first asymptomatic Covid testing centre ­– that is, for those not showing any of the symptoms of the disease – opened its doors at Helensburgh Parish Church on Wednesday.

Testing is available five days a week, from Tuesday to Saturday, and you don’t need to book – just turn up, take a test, wait for 45 minutes, and you’ll be told whether you have Covid or not.

I wrote this on Tuesday night, so I have no idea how many people turned up on the centre’s first day. But I’ll be interested to find out the numbers. Because if you’ve been muddling along for the last year, relatively healthy and happy in all the circumstances, without showing any of the symptoms, and as we inch our collective way towards something approaching normality, would you want to know – especially if you’ve had one or both doses of the vaccine – that you had the disease?

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And that even if you feel fine, you’ll have to spend the next two weeks self-isolating, and possibly missing out on work and a wage?

I’m not entirely sure that I would. As far as I know, I’ve made it through the year-and-a-bit since the first UK-wide Covid lockdown without getting the disease, completely ignorant as to whether I’ve had it or not, and without any major disasters.

We can all be forgiven – especially now – for wanting to put the past behind us and focus on the future. We’ve all given up so much in the past year for the greater good.

We have travelled so far that nobody wants to be derailed by bad news now.

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But think of it the other way. Imagine you are a carrier and you don’t know it. You’ve followed all the rules, as best you can, but somehow you’ve become infected. You might not be suffering any of the symptoms, but what if those close to you aren’t so lucky? Would you want it on your conscience if you knew you’d infected someone particularly vulnerable?

Ah, but there’s the vaccine, I hear you say.

Well, yes, but the vaccine isn’t 100 per cent effective. And we know that this virus will, as viruses do, make the most of every gap it can find in our armour. So we are not out of the woods yet.

And given all of the sacrifices we have made over the last year, would a few days self-isolating not be worth it if it was the price you had to pay to save the life of a loved one?

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