Covid Restrictions Will Not Be Lifted Before July 19, Sajid Javid Confirms

The new health secretary, Sajid Javid, has confirmed that the final Covid restrictions will not be lifted until July 19.

Javid revealed the government’s decision not to plump for an earlier easing of restrictions on July 5 in his first Commons statement since replacing his disgraced predecessor Matt Hancock in the job.

As the UK recorded 22,868 cases on Monday, the highest daily rise since January 30, Javid pointed out that hospitalisations had doubled since the start of May.

He said the government wanted the time to build up extra protection against the more transmissible Delta variant by ensuring two-thirds of England’s adults have received two doses of the jab before lifting restrictions.

“I spent my first day as health secretary, yesterday, looking at the data and testing it to the limit,” Javid told the Commons.

“Whilst we decided not to bring forward step four, we see no reason to go beyond July 19.

“Because in truth, no date we choose comes with zero risk for Covid.

“We know we cannot simply eliminate it, we have to learn to live with it.

“We also know that people and businesses need certainty so we want every step to be irreversible.

“And make no mistake, the restrictions on our freedoms, they must come to an end.

“We owe it to the British people, who have sacrificed so much, to restore their freedoms as quickly as we possibly can and not to wait a moment longer than we need to.” 

He added: “For me, July 19 is not only the end of the line, but the start of an exciting new journey for our country.”

Earlier, Javid said there would be “no going back” to Covid rules once England’s lockdown is lifted.

Boris Johnson meanwhile said England was “set fair” for the final easing of restrictions on July 19, four weeks after the initially scheduled date of June 21 for step four of the prime minister’s road map out of lockdown.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.

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