New Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed coronavirus restrictions will not be lifted early on 5th July – but told parliament he sees “no reason” for measures to last beyond 19th July.
In his first Commons statement since taking over from Matt Hancock at the weekend, Mr Javid told MPs that while ministers have decided not to bring forward Step 4 of England’s roadmap out of the current restrictions, things are on course heading towards Freedom Day.
Mr Javid said no date for easing restrictions is risk free and going forward the UK has to “learn to live with” the virus. He said:
“We also know that people and businesses need certainty, so we want every step to be irreversible. Make no mistake, the restrictions on our freedoms 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.”
The Health Secretary added:
“At this crucial moment in the fightback against this pandemic, we must keep our resolve and keep on our road map to freedom so that together we can beat this pandemic and build back better. The prime minister has called it our ‘terminus date’. For me, 19th July is not only the end of the line, but the start of an exciting new journey for our country.”
After delivering his opening remarks, Mr Javid took questions from his peers and stated he believed there was “clear evidence” that the vaccination programme was breaking the link between people contracting the virus and ending up in hospital or dying.