Covid: Health Secretary Sajid Javid tests positive for coronavirus

ITV News reporter David Wood reports on the implications of Sajid Javid's announcement

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has tested positive for coronavirus, leaving ministers across Westminster potentially facing England's "freedom day" in isolation.

The Health Secretary has had both Covid jabs, but said he felt "groggy last night" and took lateral flow and PCR tests on Saturday morning.

Both came back positive. He has said his symptoms are mild.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Mr Javid said: "This morning, I tested positive for Covid...but thankfully I have had my jabs and symptoms are mild."

In his video, Mr Javid urged anyone who has not been vaccinated against Covid-19 to come forward to get a jab.

He said: “I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in our national vaccine rollout programme, truly the best of its kind anywhere in the world.

“If you haven’t had your jabs yet, please get out there and get them as soon as you can, and if, like me, you might feel a bit groggy or you think you might have come into contact with someone who is positive, please also take a lateral flow test too.

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“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.”

Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer retweeted Mr Javid's video announcement, writing, "sorry to hear this, but good news that your symptoms are mild. Hope you feel better soon."

Meanwhile, the opposition party's Shadow Health Minister, Justin Madders, said: "We hope it's not too serious and he gets better soon but actually, it serves as a very timely reminder that although the government might want us to think we're out of this, we are not."

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There was no immediate comment from No 10 on reports that the Health Secretary met Boris Johnson in Downing Street on Friday, raising the prospect the Prime Minister may have to spend so-called “freedom day” isolating.Most remaining Covid restrictions in England are due to be lifted on Monday, despite the misgivings of some scientists.

Mr Javid was only appointed to the post last month following the resignation of Matt Hancock after CCTV footage emerged showing him kissing an aide in his office in breach of social-distancing rules.

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The new Health Secretary is seen by Tories as being noticeably keener than his predecessor on easing restrictions.

Mr Javid initially took a lateral flow test. On Saturday night, he announced a more accurate PCR test confirmed he has definitely contracted the virus.

Following the PCR test result, NHS Test and Trace will begin the process of tracking down his recent close contacts and telling them to self-isolate.

The Shadow Health Minister said Mr Javid's infection serves as a 'timely reminder'

Mr Javid has been working from his office at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in Whitehall and was in the Commons chamber three times in the past week.

On Monday, he delivered a statement on lifting lockdown, while the following day he was answering health and social care questions. On Wednesday, he opened the second reading debate on the Health and Social Care Bill.

Mr Javid also visited a residential care home in Streatham, south London, on Tuesday.

His positive test meant that Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick had to be drafted in to replace him in a series of broadcast interviews with the Sunday morning politics shows.

Boris Johnson and ex-health secretary Matt Hancock both succumbed to Covid during the first wave of the pandemic, with the Prime Minister being admitted to intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital in London after falling seriously ill.