The new UK health secretary said he was confident England would be on track to remove the country’s remaining coronavirus restrictions on July 19, despite fears of a further rise in infections.
Sajid Javid told parliament on Monday that a rapid deployment of vaccinations “breaks the link” between the growing number of infections and serious illnesses and deaths, and that “restrictions on our freedoms must end.”
His tone of confidence came despite widespread concerns about a third rise in infections in the UK driven by the spread of the more contagious Delta variant. Government figures showed another large rise in infections on Monday, with 22,868 cases confirmed.
This is the highest daily figure since the end of January, although the number was probably inflated by the fact that the previous day’s figure of 14,876 was artificially low due to incomplete data from England.
“No date we choose carries zero risk for COVID-19: we know we can’t just eliminate it, we have to learn to live with it,” Javid said. “People and businesses need certainty, so we want every step to be irreversible.”
Javid was named health secretary Saturday after his predecessor, Matt Hancock, He resigned following revelations he had an affair with an old friend he had hired as an advisor to the Department of Health and Social Care. Hancock was forced to give up the outrage he had broken the rules of social distancing by kissing his advisor in his office.
Critics saw Hancock’s departure as the latest example of cronyism and hypocrisy at the heart of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, which has been accused several times of not practicing what he preaches throughout the pandemic.
Experts against fast schedules
Although the number of coronavirus patients in hospitals and dying has been increasing over the past two weeks, they have not increased at the same rate as infections. A large proportion of infections were reported among the youngest.
Three other virus-related deaths were reported on Monday, bringing the UK total to 128,103. Throughout the pandemic, Monday’s death toll has traditionally been lower due to lags over weekend reports.
However, many virus experts and National Health Service officials urged the government not to speed up the schedule, saying they need time to vaccinate as many people as possible amid the rapid spread of the highly infectious, open-ended Delta variant. for the first time in India.
“It’s as important that we get vaccination rates as high as we can before we consider the possibility of easing the current restrictions, which aren’t really causing the outbreak,” Peter Openshaw, a professor of experimental medicine, told Sky News at Imperial College London. .
The speed of vaccination launches in the UK has been widely praised. By Monday, about two-thirds of the British population had received a dose of vaccine, while almost 50% had two.
Johnson disappointed some members of his Conservative party earlier this month when he extended COVID-19 restrictions to July 19, saying it was “reasonable” to provide more time to vaccinate people.
The Hancock scandal fueled anger over continued restrictions after The Sun posted photos of the health secretary kissing her adviser, Gina Coladangelo, on May 6th. At that time, people were forbidden to meet indoors with people outside their home, except when it was necessary to work, and they were supposed to separate.
Coladangelo, a friend of Hancock’s from college, was named a board member of the health department in September, a job that pays £ 15,000 ($ 20,800) a year.
As the chief executor of government coronavirus measures, Hancock was left in an unsustainable position when he was found to be violating the rules.
“Those of us who make these rules have to abide by them, and that’s why I have to give up,” Hancock said in a video posted on Twitter.