Sajid Javid has said that he wants a return to normal “as soon as possible”, following his appointment as health secretary.
Mr Javid told the BBC after his recent promotion to the post of Secretary of State of Health and Social Care: “I was honoured to take up this position. I also know that it comes with huge responsibility, and I will do everything I can to make sure that I deliver for the people of this great country.
“We are still in a pandemic, and I want to see that come to an end as soon as possible, and that will be my most immediate priority to see that we can return to normal as soon and as quickly as possible.”
The Times claims that Mr Javid is more ‘hawkish’ about lifting coronavirus restrictions than his predecessor, Matt Hancock. Government sources allegedly told the newspaper of record that his appointment means it is more likely that the country will see an end of restrictions by July 19th — provided there is not a sharp rise in hospitalisations as a result of the spread of the Indian variant of the virus.
BREAKING: Matt Hancock Resigns as Health Secretary After Being Caught Kissing Aide https://t.co/blouzCLQb5
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 26, 2021
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had stated in early June that he saw “nothing in the data” to mean the June 21st easing of social distancing measures could not go ahead, only to announce less than two weeks later an extension of restrictions to July 19th. The UK has been in some form of lockdown or restrictions since March 2020.
Also on Sunday, a member of the influential Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE), which advises the government on its pandemic strategy, has urged the prime minister not to consider an early unlocking of the country, saying that July the 19th was the “earliest” date for so-called ‘Freedom Day’.
When asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show if the date could be moved forward to July 5th, Prof Peter Horby said: “No, I wouldn’t do that.
“I think it was a very sensible move to put it back by four weeks and I don’t think we should rush into anything.
“We really want to make sure we can release all restrictions and not have to backtrack at all.”
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Javid to the post following Mr Hancock’s resignation after he was revealed to be having an affair with a married aide and was caught on camera with her in a passionate embrace — which was in contravention of social distancing rules at the time.
Johnson had signalled that he was not expecting his minister to resign. However, after mounting pressure and accusations of hypocrisy — Hancock overseeing measures that restricted Britons’ ability to spend time with loved ones — he resigned last night.