In Brief

Scotland’s chief medical officer quits after breaking own coronavirus rules

Dr Catherine Calderwood stands down after voilating lockdown guidelines to visit second home

Scotland’s chief medical officer has quit after facing mounting criticism for breaking her own rules to twice visit her second home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Just hours after she insisted she would carry on, Catherine Calderwood said she had concluded her position was untenable because it would be impossible for the public to respect official advice to avoid all essential travel if she remained in post.

The chief medical officer had fronted TV and radio adverts urging the public to stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS, says the BBC.

In a statement announcing her resignation, she said: “People across Scotland know what they need to do to reduce the spread of this virus and that means they must have complete trust in those who give them advice. It is with a heavy heart that I resign as chief medical officer.”

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The pressure on her mounted after the Scottish Sun revealed on that the Calderwoods and their three children had spent Friday night at their holiday home, taking walks with their dog to a local beach. 

Despite being “the voice of the Scottish government’s public information campaign urging people to avoid all non-essential travel”, says The Guardian, Calderwood and her husband had also visited Earlsferry the previous weekend.

“It’s incredible that the person who was the public face of Scotland’s ‘stay home’ coronavirus advice broke the rules – not once but twice,” says the Daily Record.

Commenting on the resignation, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, said: “It is clear that the mistake she made – even though she has apologised sincerely and honourably for it – risks distracting from and undermining confidence in the government’s public health message at this crucial time. That is not a risk either of us is willing to take.”

Scotland's Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “The legal instructions on not leaving your home without a reasonable excuse apply to everyone.”

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw described Dr Calderwood's decision to stand down as “embarrassing and inevitable”.

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