‘Very good reasons’ for testing Charles and Camilla for Covid-19, top medic says

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer has defended the decision to test Britain's Princes Charles for coronavirus, saying there were “very good reasons” behind the move.

Dr Catherine Calderwood spoke after news that the heir to the British throne had been tested for Covid-19 sparked an angry backlash from some.

While some medical workers who are self-isolating have been unable to get tested to see if they could come back to work, both Charles, 71, and his wife Camilla, 72, were tested on Monday.

The couple are currently staying at the Birkhall estate in Aberdeenshire, with Camilla separating herself from her husband after she tested negative.

Speaking about Charles on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Dr Calderwood said: “I have spoken to the team in Grampian who were looking after the individual.

“My understanding is there were very good reasons for that person and his wife to be tested, and obviously I wouldn’t be able to disclose anything else that I know because of patient confidentiality.”

Charles has become the highest profile coronavirus case in the country, after Clarence House said he had tested positive for the virus.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Scotland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said there were ‘very good reasons’ for the Royal couple to be tested. (David Cheskin/PA Wire)</figcaption>
Scotland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said there were ‘very good reasons’ for the Royal couple to be tested. (David Cheskin/PA Wire)

He is displaying “mild symptoms” of the illness but is in good health and spirits as he self-isolates at Birkhall, a spokesman said.

A source added “medical advice is that it is unlikely to escalate into a more serious case”.

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said she wished Charles a “speedy recovery”, but added: “Given that his symptoms are said to be mild, like many I wonder how he was tested when many NHS and social care workers cannot get tested.

“My nephew, who has serious asthma and a chest infection, was recently refused a test.”

With tourists being urged to stay away from remote areas of Scotland during the outbreak, former SNP MP George Kerevan was more critical, branding Charles an “arrogant fool”.

He tweeted: “This billionaire land owner disobeyed guidance to stay home to avoid spreading virus, went to second home in Scotland, is now infected and has infected others.

“Indy Scotland must be a republic and tax this arrogant fool.”

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024