Police have warned Scotland’s chief medical officer ‘of her future conduct’ after she was photographed visiting her family’s second home in Fife, despite issuing advice herself 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.
The paper says her home in Edinburgh 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, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone issued a statement, saying officers had spoken to the CMO, warning her about her future conduct.
He said: “Earlier today, local officers visited Dr Catherine Calderwood and spoke to her about her actions, reiterated crucial advice and issued a warning about her future conduct, all of which she accepted.
“The legal instructions on not leaving your home without a reasonable excuse apply to everyone. Social distancing is the key intervention to curtail the spread of coronavirus and it is essential the instructions are followed to protect each other, support key workers, take strain from the NHS, and save lives. Individuals must not make personal exemptions bespoke to their own circumstances. It is vital that everyone adheres to these requirements.
“Police officers and staff are putting themselves in harm’s way day and night to explain these instructions to our communities, encourage cooperation and, where necessary, enforce them.
“I want to thank the overwhelming majority of people across the country who are doing their duty during this public health emergency.
‘Individuals must not make personal exemptions bespoke to their own circumstances. It is vital that everyone adheres to these requirements.’Chief Constable Iain Livingstone
“Our fellow citizens are observing the guidance and making significant sacrifices and changes to their lifestyles and daily routines. I am grateful for their continued support and cooperation during this critical period.”
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.
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.”