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COVID-19: Government issues scientific evidence supporting its UK response

21 May 2020

The government has published the statements and the accompanying evidence to demonstrate how its understanding of COVID-19 has continued to evolve as new data emerges, and how SAGE’s advice has quickly adapted to new findings that reflect a changing situation.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) provides ministers and officials with evidence-based scientific advice in emergencies, ensuring government advisers are informed and best-placed to make critical decisions based on a range of credible scientific evidence.

The advice provided by SAGE is one of many essential sources of information that government weighs up before adopting new policies and interventions, and gives maximum assurance that the complexities and implications of any policy have been properly considered.

SAGE relies on external science advice, including advice from expert groups and their papers. In the case of COVID-19, this includes the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) in the Department for Health and Social Care, and the Independent Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B).

These groups consider the scientific evidence, and provide their consensus conclusions to SAGE. Both the evidence they have considered and their consensus statements have been included in this current batch of evidence.

Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said: "This is an incredibly fast-moving, developing situation and as part of our collective efforts to give the clearest and most reliable scientific advice, SAGE has and continues to draw upon a huge range of experts and a huge range of evidence.

"The UK is home to experts who are at the forefront of their chosen fields and we are making full use of their expertise to grow our understanding of COVID-19 as we work tirelessly to tackle this disease.

"The collective evidence we have published today has played a considerable role in shaping our recommendations on when, how and why the government have made the interventions it has so far."

The report can be viewed here.