Independent Sage expert who warned against reopening is race adviser with no medical qualification

·3-min read
 Doctor Zubaida Haque, Dr. Zubaida Haque, Deputy Director of the Runnymede Trust, Sage member - News Scans
Doctor Zubaida Haque, Dr. Zubaida Haque, Deputy Director of the Runnymede Trust, Sage member - News Scans

A member of Independent Sage who berated the Government on Tuesday for not delaying the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Britain is a social scientist turned race adviser who has no medical qualifications.

Dr Zubaida Haque, a founding member of the group, specialises in racial equality and has been involved with various government-commissioned reports on welfare issues.

In an interview with Good Morning Britain, she said the Government should have stalled the latest stage of the roadmap out of lockdown.

“We didn't pass test four – test four of the Government's roadmap said that if we think that there's any further risk from new variants of concern, we should stall – they completely ignored that and have gone ahead,” she said.

She went on to criticise Matt Hancock for his recent comments indicating vaccine hesitancy may be behind the rise in Covid-19 hospitalisations in Bolton, one of the Indian variant hotspots.

"This whole notion that, that at the moment, everyone's freedom is threatened because of vaccine hesitancy groups is absolute nonsense,” Dr Haque said.

It was one of Dr Haque’s many TV interviews and newspaper columns since the pandemic began, ranging in scope from vaccine passports and the reopening of schools to financial support for low-paid workers needing to self-isolate.

However, she has no medical, clinical, virological or epidemiological qualifications.

Instead, her PhD thesis was titled: Exploring the validity and possible causes of the apparently poor performances of Bangladeshi students in British secondary schools.

She now works for the Hamilton Commission, an organisation set up by Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton to improve the representation of Black people in UK motorsport.

Dr Haque was not the only member of the historically overly cautious Independent SAGE group to take to the airwaves criticising the latest step towards freedom.

Dr Kit Yates and Prof Gabriel Scally both appeared on Sky News, on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, talking about the new variant.

Dr Yates is an expert in using mathematical techniques to predict biological models at the University of Bath, while Prof Scally is president of the Epidemiology and Public Health section of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Sir David King, chairman of Independent Sage said: "When we set up Independent SAGE we wanted to ensure that it was truly multi-disciplinary and fit for purpose when it comes to giving the best possible evidence based advice in relation to the pandemic.

"We are proud to have such a wealth of experience to call upon as require.

"Dr Haque’s experience on inequality speaks for itself, her consistent championing of deprived communities across the country who are so disproportionately affected by this disease has shone through in the many reports we have produced.

"Dr Haque and the whole group give up an extraordinary amount of time, free of charge, to contribute to Independent Sage simply because they believe it is the right thing to do. I remain immensely grateful for the inputs of all members.”