Dr Catherine Calderwood had been photographed at her countryside retreat in Earlsferry, Fife, more than an hour's drive from her main home and place of work in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh - completely at odds with her own advice, backed by the force of law, that the well-off avoid non-essential travel to second home, particularly to more rural and remote areas which could struggle to cope with coronavirus outbreaks.
He was drafted in after Dr Calderwood was cautioned by police for twice visiting her second home in Fife, sparking fury among politicians and the public for flouting government guidelines she helped draft calling on people to remain at home rather than risk spreading infection.
The plan had been for Dr Calderwood, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, to only stay out of public information campaigns, but she later said: 'I am deeply sorry for my actions and the mistakes I have made.
The first minister had insisted during her daily coronavirus briefing at 2pm on Sunday that Calderwood could not and should not quit because her expertise was essential to her; Sturgeon hinted the CMO had offered to resign, but she had rejected it.
But the first minister said it would be "damaging" not to have her ongoing advice and she would keep her job.
"All of us, including me, will make mistakes in these unprecedented times we are living in".
The images emerged amid continuing advice from the Scottish government, the chief medical officer herself, and other leading medical professionals to stay at home in order to save lives and protect the NHS. "When we do we must be candid about it and learn from it", said Ms Sturgeon.
"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", she said.
The first minister told reporters on Monday she reversed her earlier decision to publicly defend Catherine Calderwood after it became clear later on Sunday that the CMO's position was untenable.
Dr Calderwood was not a bystander in this crisis.
"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".
"I have a job to do as chief medical officer to provide advice to ministers on the path of this virus".
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed there is "worse still to come" before Scotland turns the corner and defeats Covid-19.
"Following Catherine Calderwood's resignation last night Dr Gregor Smith has agreed to act as interim chief medical officer for the foreseeable future". It was Dr Calderwood herself who echoed the mantra of the Scottish and United Kingdom authorities that by staying at home we would helping to protect the NHS - and thus to save lives.
Mr Russell added: "I'm saying to everybody.do not go out except in the very exceptional circumstances that are listed, think about these things and remember by breaking them you are risking lives".