Independent SAGE: UK COVID-19 policy responses

An independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (i-SAGE) has been hosting online meetings and producing comprehensive reports for the UK.

The group is convened by former UK government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King. For more details please see the website and YouTube channel. (website) (YouTube channel)

Four comprehensive reports are already online.

Report 1: COVID-19: what are the options for the UK? (12 May 2020)

Recommendations for government based on an open and transparent examination of the scientific evidence. (PDF)

Report from a two and a half hour meeting held on 4 May 2020 that discussed aspects of the science behind the UK strategy on COVID-19. Leading experts in public health, epidemiology, primary care, virology, mathematical modelling and social and health policy about how best to tackle this crisis to save lives, suppress the coronavirus and get the economy moving again. Discussions included:

  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?

Report 2: Should schools reopen? (22 May 2020)

Interim findings and concerns – draft document for public discussion. (PDF)

Decisions on school opening should be guided by​ evidence of low levels of COVID-19 infections in the community and ​the ability to rapidly respond to new infections through​ a local test, track and isolate strategy. There is no clear evidence that these conditions are met. Until they are it is not safe to open schools on June 1​.

Report 3: When should a school reopen? (28 May 2020) (PDF)

This report outlines the key findings of the Independent SAGE team of science and policy experts on the reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Report was produced through online discussions and a public consultation online.

Report 4: Towards an integrated find, test, trace, isolate, support (FTTIS) response to the pandemic. (9 June 2020) (PDF)

This consultation document does not address when the current lockdown restrictions should be eased although the members of Independent SAGE join official SAGE NHS leaders and many others in their concerns that this is happening too quickly.

It highlights the key practical steps for the rapid implementation of an FTTIS system which is embedded, sustainable and can provide a long‐term response to future waves on infection. We welcome views and comments on this set of proposal.

This report was originally published on 8 June 2020.

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.