Top government scientist resigns from SAGE after breaking lockdown rules

Professor Neil Ferguson has resigned from the government's scientific advisory group (SAGE) after reports he broke coronavirus lockdown rules.

In a statement announcing his departure, the leading epidemiologist from Imperial College London said he had made an "error of judgement".

It followed claims reported in The Telegraph that he allowed a friend to visit him at home, in breach of official rules he contributed to devising.

Image: Professor Ferguson had become one of SAGE's most prominent members

As a prominent member of SAGE, his resignation represents a blow for the group and ministers he is helping guide policy around the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I accept I made an error of judgement and took the wrong course of action," he said.


"I have therefore stepped back from my involvement in SAGE.

"I acted in the belief that I was immune, having tested positive for coronavirus and completely isolated myself for almost two weeks after developing symptoms.

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"I deeply regret any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing to control this devastating epidemic.

"The government guidance is unequivocal, and is there to protect all of us."

Prof Ferguson's resignation comes a month after Dr Catherine Calderwood quit as Scotland's chief medical officer after making two trips to her second home.

Scotland's Chief Medical Officer, Catherine Calderwood speaks as she holds a briefing on the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak in Edinburgh on March 29, 2020, as Britain lives under lockdown, its population joining around 1.7 billion people around the globe ordered to stay indoors to curb the "accelerating" spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JEFF J MITCHELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Image: Dr Catherine Calderwood quit last month after flouting lockdown rules

While SAGE has around 50 members, Prof Ferguson had become one of the most prominent after featuring in some of the government's regular coronavirus briefings.

He first made headlines in mid-March when an Imperial College study, of which he was lead author, warned 250,000 people could die if the UK did not enforce social-distancing measures.

Less than a fortnight ago, Prof Ferguson said life "cannot go completelyRead More – Source

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