Follow our group’s recent discussion on Youtube.
‘We are following the science’ is the message the British public have been hearing from government since COVID-19 mitigating measures began. It says it is following the advice of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). But the activities of the committee have been kept secret and excluded from scrutiny by the public or wider scientific community.
In response, on Monday May 4, the Independent SAGE convened as a group of preeminent experts from the UK and around the world. The aim of the Independent SAGE was and is to provide robust, independent advice to HM Government with the purpose of helping the UK navigate COVID-19 whilst minimising fatalities.
The Independent SAGE is chaired by former HM Government Chief Scientific Advisor Sir David King and draws on a range of international and British experts.
What did the Independent Sage discuss?
The Independent Sage investigated seven key points to make constructive recommendations to support the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK:
1. What are the criteria for lifting lockdown?
2. How can testing and tracing be successfully achieved?
3. Are the policies on quarantine and the shielding of vulnerable groups sufficient?
4. What social distancing policies will be required in the future? In particular, on school closures and public gatherings
5. What port and border controls are required?
6. Where does responsibility lie for managing the pandemic? Are all levels of government being utilised effectively, is the response by central government delivered vertically failing?
7. The UK has enormous globally recognised untapped resources that should be called on, such as the Royal Society and Academies, manufacturers, etc. How do we bring these into the picture much more effectively? Will we manufacture the vaccines we and the world needs in the UK?
In response to these questions, the Independent SAGE assessed measures to date, asked whether the strategy has been effective to date and reviewed what approached they believed should be adopted to minimise deaths, ending the pandemic as soon as possible.
The approach of the committee is to provide a set of recommendations from this first meeting. It will be based on minimising deaths and ending the epidemic as soon as possible.
What will the outcomes be?
The Independent SAGE will provide a series of evidence-based recommendations for the UK government based on global best practice.
What is the format?
The Independent SAGE will engage in an open debate on the topics on the agenda. This evidence session was live streamed on Youtube so the public can see the evidence presented and understand the debate within the scientific community on the most appropriate course of action for the UK government.