Top SAGE expert Jeremy Farrar quits group amid ‘concerning’ Covid-19 rates

Top SAGE expert Jeremy Farrar quits group amid ‘concerning’ Covid-19 rates
Scientist ‘confident’ his departure comes as ministers given ‘key science advice needed over winter months’

A leading member of the government’s 新冠肺炎 advisory body has revealed he quit the group last month, citing the “concerning high levels of transmission” in the UK as reason for refocusing his attention on his role as a clinical scientist.

先生 杰里米·法拉尔, director of the Wellcome Trust, reportedly left his post at the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) while pushing for ministers to enforce a so-called “vaccine plus” strategy – which a report by Sky News claims includes measures such as mask wearing, ventilation and continued testing.

然而, the government has so far declined to enforce stricter measures – commonly referred to as plan B restrictions – and is sticking with its current, more relaxed guidance.

In a statement released by the Wellcome Trust, Sir Jeremy, a celebrated British scientist, warned “the Covid-19 crisis is a long way from over”.

然而, he insisted he was confident he had “stepped down as a Sage participant, knowing ministers had been provided with most of the key science advice needed over the winter months”.

“在十月底 2021, after careful consideration, I stepped down [from Sage],”声明写道.

“My focus now must be on our work at Wellcome. This includes supporting the international research effort to end the pandemic, ensuring the world is better prepared for inevitable future infectious disease threats, and making the case so the full potential of science is realised to inform and drive change against all the urgent health threats we face globally.”

Sir Jeremy added that throughout the pandemic, Sage has provided “vital evidence and independent, 专家, transparent advice to support the UK response, often under huge pressure”.

He also said it had been “an honour to have joined the hundreds of scientists who have contributed”, before thanking “[chief scientific adviser to the government] Patrick Vallance and [chief medical officer for England] Chris Whitty for their outstanding leadership”.

“I remain, as always, available where I may offer help as a clinical scientist or as director of Wellcome,” he finished by saying.

在一个 message on his personal Twitter account – published on Monday, before the news was announced – Sir Jeremy said he was taking “a few days break, time away from work, off social media etc”.

“Holidays & time off [是] so important for everyone,“ 他加了.

Back in July, Sir Jeremy revealed he had “seriously considered resigning” from Sage almost a year before, 后 鲍里斯·约翰逊’s government chose not to introduce a lockdown in September 2020.

It was this decision that ultimately led to the widely-panned cancelling of Christmas, when the prime minister advised the British public to refrain from seeing loves ones and staying overnight at their family homes, as normal, over the festive period.

Senior ministers, including health secretary 萨吉德·贾维德 and business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, have gone on record in recent weeks as saying the government will stand by its commitment to refrain from enforcing lockdown measures over Christmas this year.

This is despite the number of lab-confirmed Covid infections and deaths in the UK rising substantially in the last few weeks. Though a peak seen around two weeks ago, when figures returned to levels last seen in March 2020, has since levelled off.

周二, the latest government data showed there had been a further 33,865 Covid cases in the UK within the last 24-hour period.

There were also an additional 293 deaths – but this number includes data from NHS England which was not provided in time for Monday’s figures, officials noted.