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UK Health Minister apologises following controversial tweet

Sajid Javid. Credit: Flickr

The United Kingdom’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid apologised on Sunday after a post he put up on Twitter in which he said the country shouldn’t cower away from the coronavirus sparked angry reactions.

On Saturday, one week after he announced that he had tested positive for coronavirus, Javid said that he had been completely cured and that thanks to being fully protected by the “incredible” vaccines, his symptoms had been very mild.

“Please – if you haven’t yet – get your jab, as we learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus,” he tweeted.

The last part of his tweet sparked several angry reactions from sectors, including victims’ associations and opposition parliamentarians, that felt his remark was an insult to the most vulnerable, especially in light of the sacrifices made by British people, during three successive lockdowns.

The United Kingdom was one of the countries in Europe that was worst affected by the pandemic, and so far, around 129,000 people have died as a result of the virus.

Javid said on Sunday that he had deleted the offending tweet.

“I was expressing gratitude that the vaccines help us fight back as a society, but it was a poor choice of words and I sincerely apologise,” he explained.

“Like many, I have lost loved ones to this awful virus and would never minimise its impact,” he added.

Due to his infection, the Health Secretary had been forced to isolate himself. One of his contacts, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is now ending a 10-day period of isolation.

News of their isolation had surfaced as the government of England announced the lifting – from Monday 19 July – of most restrictions, a controversial decision even if accompanied by calls for care.

Faced with an explosion of cases linked to the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus, the United Kingdom recently registered as many as 60,000 new cases per day.

However, infections have been decreasing in the past few days although it is still not known whether the current third wave has crested.

The Brussels Times