Scotland’s chief medical officer pictured visiting second home

By Douglas Barrie, PA Scotland

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 front-line 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.

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.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, he said: “My understanding is that she has worked like the rest of us 24/7 on this for weeks now and that family do have a home a little bit away from Edinburgh and they went to check on it.

“They observed social distancing throughout, so they were very safe. Nobody knows those guidelines better than Catherine and the rest of us.

“So I’m confident that she was safe during that, her family were safe and those around them were safe.”

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.”