One of Britain’s most prominent scientists has resigned from Sage after calling for stronger action to prevent the spread of Covid.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, has left the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage) and warns that the situation in the UK is “worrying”.
Two weeks ago, he called for a “Vaccine Plus” strategy that encouraged the public to wear masks in shops and on public transport and to reduce the number at work at all times.
Now it has emerged that Sir Jeremy resigned from Sage at the end of last month.
In a statement, he said government scientists had come under “enormous pressure” during the pandemic.
Sir Jeremy has previously said he was “seriously considering resigning from Sage” a year ago after the government went against its advice to impose a lockdown when cases rose last autumn.
In his book, published earlier this year, he wrote: “It was the darkest moment of the pandemic. I began to question the point of giving advice to a body that chose not to use it. There comes a time when you have to ask yourself and the people you trust, whether you are complicit in the decisions that are made as a result. ”
In a statement to Sky News on Tuesday night, Sir Jeremy said: “The Covid-19 crisis is far from over, with the global situation deeply worrying.
“The high levels of transmission seen in the UK are still worrying, but I withdrew as a participant in Sage, knowing that ministers had been given most of the key scientific advice needed during the winter months.
“Through this crisis, Sage has provided vital evidence and independent, expert, transparent advice to support Britain’s response, often under enormous pressure.”
He said his focus now would be on his work at Wellcome, which supports international research efforts to end the pandemic.