Scotland’s chief medical officer (CMO) has been photographed visiting her family’s second home in Fife during the coronavirus pandemic, despite herself issuing advice to stay at home.
Photos of Dr Catherine Calderwood and her family near a coastal retreat in Earlsferry were published in The Scottish Sun late on Saturday.
Just days earlier, the 51-year-old tweeted a photo of her family from their main residence in Edinburgh as they clapped for the frontline NHS staff working to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The paper says the home in the capital is just two-and-a-half miles from the Scottish Government building where Dr Calderwood delivers daily briefings on the virus with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Earlsferry is a drive of more than an hour from Edinburgh.
The images emerged amid continuing advice from the CMO and other leading medical professionals and politicians to stay at home in order to save lives and protect the NHS.
On Sunday, Catherine Calderwood issued a statement, saying: “I wish to apologise unreservedly for the issue reported in the media today.
“While there are reasons for what I did, they do not justify it and they were not legitimate reasons to be out of my home. While I and my family followed the guidance on social distancing at all times, I understand that I did not follow the advice I am giving to others, and that I am truly sorry for that.
“I know how important this advice is and I do not want my mistake to detract from that. I have a job to do as chief medical officer to provide advice to ministers on the path of the virus and to support the medical profession as they work night and day to save lives, and having spoken with the First Minister this morning I will continue to focus entirely on that job.”
Last month, the Scottish Government issued a travel warning criticising the “irresponsible behaviour” of people with second homes and campervans travelling to the Highlands in a bid to isolate.
‘I understand that I did not follow the advice I am giving to others, and that I am truly sorry for that.’Dr Catherine Calderwood, chief medical officer
On Friday, the First Minister said the upcoming Easter break would be “a holiday period unlike any we’ve had in our lifetimes”.
Dr Calderwood also stressed people should adhere to the restrictions, and said it was looking less likely summer holidays will take place this year as they have done previously.
A Scottish Government spokesman said on Saturday: “Since this start of this epidemic, the CMO has been working seven days a week preparing Scotland’s response.
“She took the opportunity this weekend to check on a family home in Fife as she knows she will not be back again until the crisis is over.
“She stayed overnight before returning to Edinburgh.
“In line with guidance, she stayed within her own household group and observed social distancing with anyone she was in passing in the village.”