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John Ashton, a clinician and former regional director of Public Health England, the government agency overseeing healthcare, said the government’s advisers took too narrow a view and hewed to limited assumptions. They were too “narrowly drawn as scientists from a few institutions,” he said. Their handling of COVID-19, Ashton said, shows the need for a broader approach. “In the future we need a much wider group of independent advisers.”

Michael Cates, who succeeded Stephen Hawking as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, is leading an initiative by the Royal Society, the UK’s leading scientific body, to bring modellers in from other scientific disciplines to help understand the epidemic.

“Without faulting anyone so far, it’s vital, where there is such a lot at stake, to throw the maximum possible light on the methods, assumptions and data built into our understanding of how this epidemic will develop,” he told Reuters.

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