Covid: 'No going back’ once Covid restrictions eased, says Sajid Javid

Britain's new Health Secretary Sajid Javid gestures, as he leaves his home in London
Britain's new Health Secretary Sajid Javid gestures, as he leaves his home in London

The new Health Secretary has told reported easing Covid restrictions as soon as possible is his 'absolute priority'

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New Health Secretary Sajid Javid has described lifting Covid-19 restrictions as soon as possible as his “absolute priority” and said there would be “no going back” once they were ended.

The former chancellor struck a less cautious tone on lockdown restrictions as he took over from Matt Hancock, who resigned over the weekend.

But Mr Javid stressed the need to be “careful” in making any changes to ensure they were irreversible, ahead of giving a statement to MPs in Parliament.

Former chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid, leaves his home in south west London
Former chancellor of the exchequer Sajid Javid, leaves his home in south west London

He was due to address the Commons later on Monday, in anticipation of the earliest date earmarked for restrictions to end.

Announcing the delay to the end of all legal social distancing controls earlier this month, Boris Johnson downplayed the prospect of so-called “freedom day” taking place on July 5, instead saying it was far more likely to come on July 19.

During a visit to St Thomas’ Hospital in London, Mr Javid told broadcasters: “I want to see the restrictions lifted and life going back to normal as quickly as possible.

“Right here and now that is my absolute priority. I want to see those restrictions lifted as soon as we can, as quickly as possible.

“In terms of the road map to that, you’ll have to wait for my statement to Parliament later today.

“It’s going to be irreversible, there’s no going back. That’s why we want to be careful during that process.”

Mr Hancock was always considered to be among the more pro-lockdown voices in the Cabinet, but resigned as health secretary on Saturday after leaked CCTV images showed him breaking coronavirus restrictions by kissing an aide in his ministerial office.

As a former chancellor, some expected his successor to shift priority onto the health of the nation’s finances, with some in the Tory party anxious for a swifter return to normality despite the increase in Covid-19 infections being fuelled by the Delta variant.

In an interview last year, Mr Javid expressed his concerns over long lockdowns and how they would impact the economy.

I want to see the restrictions lifted and life going back to normal as quickly as possible.

oris Johnson has said July 19 would very likely remain the date for ending coronavirus restrictions following talks with his new Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

During a campaign visit to Johnstone’s Paints Limited in Batley, the Prime Minister told broadcasters: “I had a good conversation yesterday, a long meeting with Sajid Javid the new Health Secretary.

“Although there are some encouraging signs and the number of deaths remains low and the number of hospitalisations remains low, though both are going up a bit, we are seeing an increase in cases.

“So we think it’s sensible to stick to our plan to have a cautious but irreversible approach, use the next three weeks or so really to complete as much as we can of that vaccine rollout – another five million jabs we can get into people’s arms by July 19.

“And then with every day that goes by it’s clearer to me and all our scientific advisers that we’re very likely to be in a position on July 19 to say that really is the terminus and we can go back to life as it was before Covid as far as possible.”