Newly appointed British Health Secretary; Sajid Javid is expected to address MPs in the House of Commons today to discuss when the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions put in place will be lifted.
Javid takes over the Covid response from Matt Hancock who resigned from duty following his leaked affair with disclosed aide.
He is likely to dash hopes of going early on July 5, but vowed there will be “no going back” after restrictions are finally ripped up in four weeks.
People in England are “very likely” to be able to return to “pretty much life before Covid” on 19 July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said. It was “sensible to stick to our plan” of having a “cautious but irreversible approach” to lifting the remaining coronavirus restrictions, he added.
Sajid Javid is expected to tell the general public to hold tight until July 19.
On a visit to St Thomas’ Hospital this morning he said: “I want to see the restrictions lifted and life going back to normal as quickly as possible and that’s – 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 roadmap to that you’ll have to wait for my statement to Parliament later today. It’s going be irreversible. There’s no going back.”
Next Monday – July 5 – is the earliest date when remaining restrictions could be lifted, with the government needing to give notice today of any changes.
The former Chancellor isn’t expected to lift lockdown earlier than the planned date of July 19 – but is reportedly “extremely reluctant” to extend measures.
Boris Johnson had promised a data review to see if ‘Freedom Day’ could take place a fortnight earlier.
Mr Javid is seen as a Cabinet Covid “hawk” and has raised concerns over lockdowns and their impact on the economy.
According to Telegraph, a source close to Mr Javid said that he would be “extremely reluctant to support an extension” to lockdown measures, adding: “He’ll be looking and seeking to justify ending it as soon as possible.”
Another government source told the newspaper that the Health Secretary was a “real lockdown skeptic” and that the “tilt in the Cabinet had shifted quite considerably”.
A Cabinet minister said Mr Javid’s appointment “nails on July 19”.
They added: “I would hope Sajid will look at the data, really analyse it and say ‘right what is stopping what is stopping us doing July 5’.”
So far, there are 14,876 new cases recorded and 11 new deaths from the deadly virus and a total of 124 have died in the last 7days. As of yesterday 44,314,799 have received first dose of vaccinations and 32,460,191 people had received their first and second dose.