Top Sage expert Jeremy Farrar stops in the middle of ‘immediate’ Covid-19 bets

Sir Jeremy Farrar has revealed that he left the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) last month, warning of “regarding high levels of transmission” in the UK and promising to focus on his role as a clinical scientist.

The director of the Wellcome Trust was a leading member of the government’s Covid-19 advisory body during the pandemic.

He reportedly pushed for ministers to enforce a so-called “vaccine plus” strategy, which includes measures such as mask wearing, ventilation and continued testing, according to Sky News.

So far, however, the government has refused to enforce stricter measures – which it refers to as Plan B – and is sticking to its current, more relaxed guidelines.

In a statement issued Tuesday night, it appeared that Sir Jeremy was issuing a coded critique of the government’s position, warning that “the Covid-19 crisis is far from over”.

He said he was convinced he had “withdrawn as a sage participant, knowing that the priests had received most of the most important scientific advice needed during the winter months.”

“At the end of October 2021, I withdrew after careful consideration [from Sage]”, read the statement.

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

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

He also said it had been “an honor 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 excellent management ”.

“I remain, as always, available where I can offer assistance as a clinical scientist or as the director of Wellcome,” he concluded.

The Government Office of Science said in a statement: “We can confirm that Sir Jeremy has withdrawn from the Covid Sage activation, and thank him for his contribution right from the start of the activation. Sage continues to provide the government with independent scientific and technical expert counseling.”

In a former message on his personal Twitter, Sir Jeremy said he took “a few days break, time away from work, free of social media, etc.”.

“Holiday and free [are] so important to everyone, ”he added.

In July, he revealed that he had “seriously considered resigning” from Sage almost a year before, after Boris Johnson’s government chose not to impose a lockdown in September 2020.

It was this decision that ultimately led to the cancellation of Christmas when the Prime Minister advised the British public to refrain from seeing their loved ones and spending the night in their family homes, as usual, during the holidays.

Senior ministers, including Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, have written in recent weeks that the government will stand by its commitment to refrain from enforcing lockdown measures over Christmas this year.

This is despite the fact that the number of laboratory-confirmed Covid infections and deaths in the UK has increased significantly in the last few weeks. Although a peak seen about two weeks ago, when the numbers returned to levels last seen in March 2020, the page has leveled off.

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

There were also a further 293 deaths – but that figure includes data from NHS England, which was not delivered in time for Monday’s figures, officials noted.

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