Sajid Javid confirms lockdown WON'T end on July 5 and urges Brits to wait three more weeks to Freedom Day

SAJID Javid today confirmed England WON'T ease restrictions next week – but that July 19 would be the "end of the line" for lockdown.

The new Health Secretary used his first Commons statement to urge Brits to hold tight for another three weeks for Freedom Day.

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Bullish that life will revert to near normal, the minister told MPs: "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."

Mr Javid insisted that July 19 remains the Government's "target" to end lockdown and breathe life back into the crippled economy.

The ex-Chancellor – alive to the devastation wreaked by lockdown on business – said: "My task is to help return the economic and cultural life that makes this country so great, while of course protecting life and our NHS."

By waiting three more weeks – rather than use the two-week break clause to the roadmap and unlock on July 5 – he said more Brits will be vaccinated.

The father-of-three praised the speedy vaccine rollout and revealed that his grown-up children recently got their jabs.

More than 22,000 cases were recorded today – a 70 per cent weekly rise and the biggest surge since January.

But the Health Secretary was confident that vaccines were preventing serious illness and the number of deaths were "mercifully low."

 

The new Health Secretary ruled out future lockdowns and said next month's ripping up of restrictions will be "irreversible".

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

Boris Johnson brought Mr Javid into the Government to replace disgraced lockdown-breaker Matt Hancock.

Mr Hancock was revealed by The Sun to have cheated on his wife with a close aide in his Whitehall office in clear breach of restrictions.

Mr Javid today paid tribute to his shamed predecessor "who had worked hard throughout all these testing times".

Earlier he visited St Thomas' Hospital in London to pay tribute to NHS staff at the forefront of the pandemic.

On a visit to Batley ahead of Thursday's by-election, the PM said: "I had a good conversation yesterday, a long meeting with Sajid Javid the new Health Secretary.

"Although there are some encouraging signs and the number of deaths remains low and the number of hospitalisations remains low, though both are going up a bit, we are seeing an increase in cases.

"So we think it's sensible to stick to our plan to have a cautious but irreversible approach, use the next three weeks or so really to complete as much as we can of that vaccine rollout – another five million jabs we can get into people's arms by July 19.

"And then with every day that goes by it's clearer to me and all our scientific advisers that we're very likely to be in a position on July 19 to say that really is the terminus and we can go back to life as it was before Covid as far as possible."

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."

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