Health Secretary: I'll keep wearing a mask, it's a responsible thing to do

6 July 2021, 08:15 | Updated: 6 July 2021, 08:27

Health Secretary responds to calls to continue mask wearing

By Asher McShane

Health Secretary Sajid Javid today told LBC that he will wear a mask in enclosed spaces and carry one with him "for the foreseeable future" as it is a "responsible thing to do."

Mr Javid was speaking to Tom Swarbrick at Breakfast where he confirmed that he would wear a face covering in certain situations in public.

His comments come after Boris Johnson announced yesterday evening that mask wearing is set to become voluntary after step four on July 19.

Mr Javid told LBC: "The pandemic is not over. People will have to make their own decision, case numbers are still rising.

Sajid Javid told LBC he will keep wearing a mask as it is "responsible" to do so
Sajid Javid told LBC he will keep wearing a mask as it is "responsible" to do so. Picture: LBC

"What we have today and what’s changed... is we’ve got the most successful take up of vaccines of any large country in the world.

READ MORE: Wearing face masks set to become voluntary after step four, Boris Johnson confirms

"In certain situations people should choose to wear a mask."

"I will carry a mask with me, I think that’s a responsible thing to do. I’ll do that for the foreseeable future. If i’m in a crowded, enclosed space, I will wear a mask.

"If I'm standing next to someone and they for some reason feel uncomfortable with me not wearing a mask, I will wear a mask."

"All my colleagues whether in Cabinet or in parliament will take a very responsible attitude - on all sides of the House."

Face masks will no longer be legally required and the one-metre social distancing rule will be scrapped after step four of unlocking - set for July 19, Boris Johnson announced.

As part of the fourth and final easing of England's lockdown, there will be no further limits to how many people can meet indoors or outside either.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer criticised the plans to drop the requirement to wear masks as "reckless".

The Prime Minister said yesterday: "We have to balance the risks, the risks of the disease which the vaccines have reduced but very far from eliminated and the risks of continuing with legally enforced restrictions that inevitably take their toll on people's lives and livelihoods, on people's health and mental health.

"And we must be honest with ourselves that if we can't reopen our society in the next few weeks, when we will be helped by the arrival of summer, and by the school holidays, then we must ask ourselves, when will we be able to return to normal?

"And to those who say we should delay again - the alternative to that is to open up in winter when the virus will have an advantage, or not at all this year."

Mr Johnson stressed a final decision on July 19 has not yet been made, and he will announce if it has on July 12.

The one metre-plus rule on social distancing will be scrapped and mask wearing will no longer legally be required, though Mr Johnson suggested people may choose to do so if they live in a place where cases are rising or when meeting in enclosed spaces with others they don't usually see.