Former NHS director fears scientific data was not involved in lowering coronavirus alert level

Independent SAGE group advisor Dr Gabriel Scally; Sky News, Twitter

Independent SAGE group advisor Dr Gabriel Scally; Sky News, Twitter - Credit: Archant

An advisor who sits on the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has said he is not convinced that lowering the coronavirus alert level was 'the right thing to do'.

Appearing on Sky News, Dr Gabriel Scally said he was uneasy about the health department's latest announcement, saying he could not see the 'connections' for the move.

Britain's chief medical officers across the nations agreed to lowering the Covid-19 alert level to stage three from stage four following analysis by the Joint Biosecurity Centre that the UK was experiencing a 'steady decrease' in cases.


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Level three means that the virus is still in circulation but transmission is no longer high or rising exponentially, and there could be a 'gradual relaxing of restrictions'.

Dr Scally, who sits on the public version of Downing Street's SAGE committee and is a former NHS health director, fears the change was not based on scientific data.

'In order to do some of the lifting of social restrictions that has already happened, we should have been at level three so it's not quite clear what the connection is and what the effect is of doing this,' he told viewers.

'We're not sure, that is Independent SAGE, on whether this is the right thing to do.'

He went on to say that the group had been cut off from scientific data presented in government SAGE meetings and therefore it could not assess the efficacy of the decision.

'We'd love to see the data. This is an area where transparency is needed,' the advisor added.

Independent SAGE was set up in order to provide public analysis on the coronavirus after the government body in charge of the task was either too slow or failed entirely to release its analysis behind certain decisions.

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