LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) published minutes from its first meetings on Friday as part of a pledge for transparency around discussions over the government’s guidance on dealing with COVID-19.
SAGE is responsible for providing scientific briefings to government on the pandemic.
The group published 51 documents in all, including evidence and minutes from its first meeting in late January until May 7.
The minutes for more recent meetings were not published as they “still contain sensitive information, with policy advice still under live consideration,” the government said.
Government Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said that publication of the documents would help build collective understanding around the science of the novel coronavirus.
“Openness and transparency around this disease is a social imperative, which is why it’s important we don’t wait to publish minutes and evidence,” he said.
The papers have been published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-sage-coronavirus-covid-19-response
England’s lockdown will ease slightly on Monday, with groups of up to six people allowed to meet outside and schools re-opening to certain year groups.
The government has said it hopes that a “test and trace” regime, where contacts of known cases are asked to self-isolate, will help society more broadly return to normality.
But evidence published by SAGE from SPI-B, a subgroup which looks at behaviour, said that only around 50% of people are reporting self-isolating for at least seven days when they have symptoms of COVID-19.
The paper said that financial recompense for workdays missed due to self-isolating and emphasis on the social value of doing so would help a test and trace system work better.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison)