UK health minister Sajid Javid tests positive for COVID-19

Sajid Javid tests positive for COVID-19 as the government prepares to lift most pandemic restrictions in England.

Britain's new Health Secretary Sajid Javid has been in the job since late June [File: Henry Nicholls/Reuters]

British health minister Sajid Javid has said he tested positive for COVID-19, but that his symptoms were mild and he had had two doses of vaccine against the disease.

Javid, who has been health secretary for three weeks, has backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to fully reopen England’s economy and scrap legal coronavirus restrictions from Monday.

“I was feeling a bit groggy last night, so I took a lateral flow test this morning and it’s come out positive,” he said in a video message on Twitter on Saturday.

“So I’m now self-isolating at home with my family until I get the result of a PCR test. I’m grateful that I’ve had two jabs of the vaccine. And so far, my symptoms are very mild.”

Javid tweeted on March 17 that he had received the first shot of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, posting a picture of him getting a second dose on May 16.

Under his government’s rules, Javid is now required to self-isolate for 10 days unless the PCR test comes back negative and he no longer has symptoms.

Any of his “close contacts” – potentially including others in the government – would have to self-isolate too if they receive instructions from the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

Javid has only been in the job since June 26, when former health secretary Matt Hancock resigned following revelations he had broken coronavirus restrictions during an affair with a close aide.

Javid said any member of the public feeling symptoms should get a test, too.

“If everyone plays their part, you’re not only protecting yourself and your loved ones, but you’re also safeguarding the NHS and helping to preserve our way of life,” he said.

However, with coronavirus cases again surging, many scientists say the government is endangering the NHS with its plan on Monday to scrap most legal pandemic requirements in the UK.

For the first time since mid-January, Britain’s daily COVID caseload exceeded 50,000 on Friday, and Javid has warned the figure could double from that in the coming weeks.

But the government insists that with two-thirds of the adult population now fully vaccinated, the risk can be managed, and Monday has been dubbed “freedom day” by many UK media.

People wearing protective face masks walk along a platform at King’s Cross Station, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London [File: Henry Nicholls/Reuters]
Source: News Agencies

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