SCOTLAND’S chief medic has today refused to stand down after she ignored the coronavirus lockdown to visit her second home TWICE.
Dr Catherine Calderwood, 51, was warned by cops this morning that “laws apply to everyone” after she was pictured walking with her family near their coastal holiday retreat.
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Just days earlier she tweeted a snap of her family clapping for the NHS outside her Edinburgh pad.
But on Saturday she was pictured 44 miles away walking with her husband and children near their second home in posh Earlsferry, Fife.
It today emerged she had visited the home twice the last two weeks and said she had “no excuses” for “not following the advice she has been giving to others”.
The top medic, who has become one of the key figures in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, was spotted out and about in Earlsferry, Fife — an hour and ten minute drive from her home in Edinburgh.
This afternoon, she faced calls to step down during the daily press office with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon but she refused to resign.
Dr Calderwood said she was “truly sorry” for not adhering to coronavirus guidelines by visiting her second home.
Addressing the medic’s trip to her second home, Nicola Sturgeon said: “The chief medical officer made a mistake in travelling away from her home.
“Whatever her reasons for doing so it was wrong and she knows that.”
She added: “All of us, including me, will make mistakes in these unprecedented times we are living in. When we do we must be candid about it and learn from it.”
Last night one source accused the doctor — who took the Hippocratic Oath to protect patients — of “dangerous double standards”.
Scottish police visited Dr Calderwood today and issued her with a warning after she was caught flouting the lockdown rules.
Scotland’s Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said in a statement: “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.”
This morning Dr Calderwood said there were “reasons” for what she did but that they did not justify her weekend visit.
She said: “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 I am truly sorry for that.
“I know how important this advice is and I do not want my mistake to distract from that.
“I have a job to do as Chief Medical Officer to provide advice to Ministers on the path of this 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.”
She said the CMO is learning from her error, and added: “Over the past few weeks, as we have been dealing with this crisis, her advice and expertise has been invaluable to me.”
It comes days after SNP bosses called for powers to stop second home owners travelling to rural areas.
A source slammed her decision and added: “Either we are in lockdown or not? I’m pretty sure government advice is to stay at home and not to travel to second holiday homes.
“But Catherine Calderwood isn’t following the advice. She and her family are potentially bringing the virus to the area.”
Wearing a turquoise jacket, Dr Calderwood looked like she didn’t have a care in the world as she walked with her family and dogs near her bolthole on Saturday.
But locals in the quiet coastal town hit out over the seemingly unnecessary trip, which came after a working week in Edinburgh where she spoke at daily pandemic press briefings alongside First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Residents accused her of failing to heed her own government’s advice that people with second properties should stay at home to protect rural communities during the outbreak.
But Catherine Calderwood isn’t following the advice. She and her family are potentially bringing the virus to the area.
The source said Dr Calderwood was one of several other high-flyers from Edinburgh who had second properties in the area and were putting locals at risk.
One onlooker told The Scottish Sun on Sunday: “They were going for a walk with the dogs. It’s weird.
“I thought she lived in Edinburgh and that we were supposed to stay home — but this place is miles away.”
On Thursday, Dr Calderwood shared a photo of her family outside her capital home taking part in the national Clap for Carers event.
The image was posted as millions ventured on to their doorsteps to applaud our NHS heroes and care workers.
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The snap was taken in the driveway of her upmarket West End home — said to be worth around £1.5million.
Under the hashtag ‘clap for NHS’, the health bigwig told her 24,000 followers: “My family clapping my NHS and care colleagues — and me! Thank you all.”
The following day the Cambridge and Glasgow Universities graduate attended an official Scottish Government press call where she delivered crucial public health advice alongside Ms Sturgeon.
But the mum of three has now angered locals after she was seen walking her dogs with her husband and children across the golf course and heading towards the beach in picturesque Earlsferry, where she has a cosy bungalow.
Dr Calderwood has given regular press conferences on the Covid-19 pandemic at St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh where she has repeatedly urged the public to stay within their homes.
This weekend’s trip comes just days after Nats chiefs called for emergency powers to stop second-home owners self-isolating in rural areas, including the Highlands.
MP Ian Blackford said legislation should be used to protect areas with less health infrastructure from visitors trying to flee the coronavirus.
He spoke out after a number of communities reacted angrily as tourists blocked lay-bys and swamped camping areas.
Mr Blackford, the SNP’s leader at Westminster, said: “With Easter almost upon us it is worth reminding everyone of the emergency powers that restrict non-essential travel.
“That means no tourists should be coming to the Highlands and Islands.
“If anyone owns a second or holiday home they should not be using the Highlands to self-isolate and powers exist and must be used to stop this.”
Similar warnings have also been issued in England and Wales.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he did not consider people going to their holiday homes as an essential trip during the crisis.
His plea followed concerns that rural health services could be overwhelmed by those leaving cities who then end up suffering from Covid-19.
Mr Hancock said: “We’ve said that people should not take unnecessary journeys, no unnecessary travel and I don’t regard going to your holiday home as a necessary journey.”
Today it was revealed that a further 46 people have died from coronavirus in Scotland, bringing the total number of deaths to 218.
The UK-wide total increased to almost 5,000.
The latest deaths including a child aged just five — the youngest UK victim so far.
The Scottish Government said 3,345 people had now tested positive for the virus, an increase of 344 from Friday.
In total, 20,798 patients have been tested across the country.
We told how people are now only permitted to leave their homes if they have “reasonable excuse”.
We’ve said that people should not take unnecessary journeys, no unnecessary travel and I don’t regard going to your holiday home as a necessary journey.
This includes work that cannot be carried out at home, shopping for food and medical supplies and an hour of daily exercise.
In the six days since new legislation was introduced, police officers have been forced to issue 144 fixed penalty notices to people who have chosen to ignore the measures.
Belfast-born Dr Calderwood has pleaded with Scots to stay at home to protect the NHS and “help save lives” — including on TV and radio ads and at daily press briefings on the pandemic with Ms Sturgeon.
The health chief is a trained consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist.
She is also a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and is an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
When asked to explain the official view on travelling to a second home tonight, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “We strongly advise against any travel to second homes.
“It runs the risk of adding pressure to services in more remote and quieter areas, from food supply to health care.”
The Scottish Sun on Sunday then asked why the Chief Medical Officer was ignoring official advice.
An SNP Government spokesman replied: “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.”
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