Top Scots Covid advisor under fire after being snapped in gym without mask

A top Scots Covid-19 advisor is under fire over allegedly breaking mask-wearing rules.

Professor Devi Sridhar is facing questions after a snap of her at the gym without a mask was shared on Instagram.

The image was shared on the Government advisor’s account on October 13 last year but has since been deleted, the Scottish Daily Express reports.

At that time mask-wearing in gym communal areas was mandatory.

Critics slammed the 37-year-old for her ‘hypocrisy’ after ‘reading young people about their behaviour’.

Professor Sridhar hails from Florida, USA, but is Chair in Global Public Health at Edinburgh University and one of the FM’s top Covid experts.

Last July, she said she was “really happy” to see Scotland’s face mask rules stay in place when they were lifted for the first time south of the Border.

Professor Devi Sridhar

She added: “I know people say it should be ‘my choice’, but I don’t wear a face mask to protect myself, I wear it to protect others.

“If I’m in a shop there could be someone who is immuno-compromised, who is asthmatic, who is elderly and they will feel safer in that setting if I wear my mask.”

Three months later, however, she appeared to break those same laws in the photo that was taken in what appears to be the changing room at her gym.

Prof Sridhar wrote: “As the weather gets darker and colder, my body feels out of balance as the lack of sun and warmth hits. Especially being from Miami. It’s easy to feel good on a warm, sunny day.

“Much harder on rainy, cold days. My way of managing winter is to exercise regularly, do good work, wake up and go to bed at the same time and try to see friends as often as possible. How do you cope?”

The photo was spotted on Instagram by a Northern Ireland-based campaign group called ‘CitizenJournos’, who submitted an FOI request to the Scottish Government to confirm the guidance.

Professor Devi Sridhar

The incident emerged this week after Nicola Sturgeon was spoken to by Police Scotland officers for failing to wear a mask in a barber’s shop in East Kilbride on Saturday, April 16

Although the legal requirement was lifted two days later, it was only the latest in a series of apparent breaches by the First Minister and other top politicians.

After the story broke, CitizenJournos tweeted: “With the attention on Nicola Sturgeon for breaking her own mask laws AGAIN it’s important to draw attention to her top ‘expert’ Devi Sridhar who also broke the same mask laws.

“Devi likes a maskless selfie only she deleted this one when it showed her breaking the law!”

The group added: “In this now-deleted Instagram picture, Devi has a major problem to contend with. Firstly, when she posted this, masks in gyms (when not exercising) were required under Scottish law. CJs being CJs submitted an FOI to be sure. The day we got the response she removed this picture!”

Jo Bisset, organizer for UFTScotland – which has led the campaign against mask rules in Scottish schools – said: “Surely those in positions of power who spent years preaching to children about school closures and masks must realize the issue when they themselves don’t follow the rules.

“This is just yet another example of a senior government figure who is central to the decision-making process not abiding by the rules they have helped to create.

“It’s no wonder parents are furious about this hypocrisy. If public figures felt comfortable reading young people about their behavior during the pandemic, they should feel comfortable being scrutinized for their own conduct.”

Prof Sridhar and the Scottish Government both declined to comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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