THE Scottish Government wasted no time in removing a coronavirus public information video featuring the chief medical officer after she admitted breaching lockdown rules by travelling to her second home in Fife on two consecutive weekends.

The move came hours before Dr Catherine Calderwood resigned, and after the First Minister said she would still be providing the Scottish Government with medical advice on coronavirus.

At 4.50pm on Sunday, the First Minister said that Dr Calderwood would not front media briefings and said the current public information campaign featuring the CMO was in the process of being withdrawn. The Scottish Government confirmed the revised campaign will not feature Dr Calderwood.

Within a few hours an offical video featuring Dr Calderwood advising people to "only go out when absolutely necessary" became unavailable on the Scottish Government YouTube channel.

 READ MORE: Coronavirus: CMO Catherine Calderwood removed from public-facing role

Dr Calderwood, who apologised "unreservedly" said in a mid-afternoon briefing, that she would continue to focus on her job, after she came under fire after pictures of her family trip to Earlsferry were published in a national newspaper on Sunday.

She admitted that she had been to the second home, not once, but twice and  on consecutive weekends. 

The banned video.

After the pictures emerged, the Scottish Goverment defended the CMO, saying that her family's visit at the weekend was to "check on a family home in Fife as she knows she will not be back again until the crisis is over."

The statement, which made no mention of a second visit, went on: "In line with guidance she stayed within her own household group and observed social distancing with anyone she was... passing in the village."

The following day Dr Calderwood admitted she had actually been to the same second home the previous weekend too, with her husband.

"It's important to be clear, that I was also there last weekend with my husband, "she said at the daily coronavirus briefing.

"I did not follow the advice I am giving to others. I'm truly sorry for that."

READ MORE: Coronavirus - the decade-old warnings about unpreparedness and mass testing left unheeded

In  removing Dr Calderwood from public-facing duties for the foreseeable future, Ms Sturgeon  said in a statement produced early Sunday evening: “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. 

HeraldScotland:

"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. She will continue to provide the Scottish Government with the scientific and medical advice on the spread of Coronavirus."

But just over four hours later Ms Caldeswood had 'resigned' saying: "The First Minister and I have had a further conversation this evening and we have agreed that the justifiable focus on my behaviour risks becoming a distraction from the hugely important job that government and the medical profession has to do in getting the country through this coronavirus pandemic. Having worked so hard on the government’s response, that is the last thing I want.

“The most important thing to me now and over the next few very difficult months is that 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.
 
“I will work with my team over the next few days to ensure a smooth transition to my successor.”

On Monday Ms Sturgeon said it was a mutual decision.

Asked if she had taken the decision that Dr Calderwood had to step down, Ms Sturgeon said: “We had a long conversation last night. It was my view, but she came to the same view. So we came to that by mutual agreement. But it was my firm view by last night that that was the correct course of action.”

Earlier on Sunday Ms Sturgeon had stressed that while she did not condone anyone breaking the guidance on preventing the spread of the virus, it would be “damaging not to have the ongoing advice and expertise” of Dr Calderwood.

"I could not do my job as well as I am seeking to do my job without the continued advice and medical expertise that the CMO brings to this. And that is not in any way trying to diminish the seriousness of this. That is the wider point I am trying to ask people to understand," she said.

"I am asking you to consider the wider importance to the government and by extension the country by being able to count on the continued expertise of the CMO."

The First Minister 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 then learn from it. That is what the CMO is doing."


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