Scots’ medical chief breaks own coronavirus rules, steps down from briefings

LONDON (Reuters) – Police issued a warning to Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood on Sunday after she broke her own advice on social distancing to slow coronavirus spread when she visited her second home this weekend and last.

FILE PHOTO: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood and Health Secretary Jeane Freeman (not pictured), deliver an update on coronavirus following a COBRA meeting, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain, March 12, 2020. Jeff J Mitchell/Pool via REUTERS -/File Photo

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said Calderwood would no longer be the public face of the country’s campaign to tackle the coronavirus.

Photographs of Calderwood visiting her holiday home in Earlsferry, on the east coast of Scotland about an hour’s drive from the capital Edinburgh, were published in the Scottish Sun.

“I did not follow the advice I’m giving to others, I’m truly sorry for that,” she said at a news conference in Edinburgh on Sunday.

She said she had seen comments calling her a hypocrite and saying she was irresponsible.

“What I did was wrong. I’m very sorry,” she said.

“I know how important the advice is I have issued. I do not want my mistake to distract for that.”

She also apologised to police and National Health Service (NHS) colleagues.

Police Scotland said officers had spoken to Calderwood about her actions and had warned her about her future conduct.

“The legal instructions on not leaving your home without a reasonable excuse apply to everyone,” Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said in a statement.

“Individuals must not make personal exemptions bespoke to their own circumstances. It is vital everyone adheres to these requirements.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Calderwood would no longer take part in the media briefings on Scotland’s campaign to tackle the coronavirus.

“I am acutely aware of the importance of public trust in the advice the government is giving to stay at home in order to save lives and protect our NHS,” she said in a statement.

“To maintain that trust we will be revising our public information campaign and the Chief Medical Officer will be withdrawing from media briefings for the foreseeable future.”

Sturgeon earlier said she did not know that Calderwood had been spending weekends at her second home but nonetheless she stood by her colleague.

Scotland has recorded 3,345 coronavirus cases and the death toll stands at 218.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Angus MacSwan


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