There has been much debate in the past few weeks over the secrecy surrounding the reports, minutes and membership of Government’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Emergencies (SAGE)
A decade ago, in the autumn of 2009, the then Labour Government decided to consider and issue, by the end of December that year, a set of principles applying to the treatment of independent scientific advice provided to Government.
In House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report “The Government’s review of the principles applying to the treatment of independent scientific advice provided to government” Third Report of Session 2009–10 (HC158 https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/158/158ii.pdf), it records on pager 27 the Labour Government statement:
“It is the longstanding view of Government that all independent advice it receives be made publicly available as a matter of routine. This view is clearly laid out in the Government's Guidelines on Scientific Analysis in Policy-making.”
Why has the current Conservative government changed this policy?
https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-responseScientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE): Coronavirus (COVID-19) response
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision makers during emergencies.
RoleSAGE is responsible for ensuring that timely and coordinated scientific advice is made available to decision makers to support UK cross-government decisions in the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR). The advice provided by SAGE does not represent official government policy.
The group is co-chaired by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance and the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, and includes experts from within government and leading specialists from the fields of healthcare and academia.View the full list of participants of SAGE and related sub-groups.
Expert groupsSAGE relies on external science advice and on advice from expert groups. During COVID-19 this includes the:
- New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG)
- Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) (Department for Health and Social Care)
- Independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B)
Scientific evidence supporting the government response to COVID-19The national and global response to the spread of COVID-19 continues to develop quickly and our knowledge of the virus is growing. These statements and accompanying evidence demonstrate how our understanding of COVID-19 has evolved as new data has emerged.
The evidence was often complied very rapidly during a fast-moving response and should be viewed in this context. The papers presented here are the best assessment of the evidence at the time of writing, and their conclusions were formed on this basis. As new evidence or data emerges, SAGE updates its advice accordingly. Therefore, some of the information in these papers may have been superseded at a later date.
This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest available evidence provided to SAGE.
Introduction to the evidence
SAGE meeting papers.
Meeting 4, 4 February 2020
Meeting 6, 11 February 2020
Meeting 8, 18 February 2020
Meeting 9, 20 February 2020
Meeting 10, 25 February 2020
Meeting 11, 27 February 2020
Meeting 12, 3 March 2020
Meeting 13, 5 March 2020
Meeting 14, 10 March 2020
Meeting 15, 13 March 2020
Meeting 16, 16 March 2020
Meeting 17, 18 March 2020
Meeting 18, 23 March 2020
Meeting 19, 26 March 2020
Meeting 21, 31 March 2020
Meeting 22, 2 April 2020
Meeting 26, 14 April 2020
SPI-B background papersThese papers were produced by SPI-B participants to aid early discussions and understanding of the group.
Emerging evidence about COVID-19
- Emergence of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19); A protocol for extending surveillance used by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) and Public Health England (PHE)
- Early dynamics of transmission and control of COVID-19: a mathematical modelling study
- Inferring the number of COVID-19 cases from recently reported deaths
- Feasibility of controlling COVID-19 outbreaks by isolation of cases and contacts
- Estimates of the severity of COVID-19 disease
- Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV: early estimation of epidemiological parameters and epidemic predictions
- Estimation of country-level basic reproductive ratios for novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) using synthetic contact matrices
- A spatial model of COVID-19 transmission in England and Wales: early spread and peak timing
- The efficacy of contact tracing for the containment of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
Reports from Imperial College London
- Epidemic size estimation in Wuhan City
- Epidemic size estimation in Wuhan City - update
- Transmissibility of COVID-19
- Severity of COVID-19
- Phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2
- Relative sensitivity of international surveillance
- Infection prevalence estimated from repatriation flights
- Symptom progression of COVID-19