New Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirms lockdown end will not happen early

28 June 2021, 17:24 | Updated: 28 June 2021, 18:22

The new Health Secretary confirmed that restrictions would not be eased until 19 July.
The new Health Secretary confirmed that restrictions would not be eased until 19 July. Picture: PA

By Emma Soteriou

Sajid Javid has confirmed that the easing of restrictions will not be eased until 19 July.

The Health Secretary revealed that 'Freedom Day' would not be brought forward during his statement in the House of Commons.

He told MPs Step 4 of England’s road map out of lockdown would not be any earlier, but “we see no reason to go beyond the 19th of July”.

"Mr Speaker, at this two-week review point, I want to update the house on our progress to our roadmap to freedom," Mr Javid said.

"Our aim is that around two thirds of all adult in this country will have had both doses by 19 July.

Read more: Hundreds of walk-in Covid-19 vaccine sites open in England this weekend

"We're bringing forward second doses and bringing forward our target for first doses too, so we can meet that 19 July goal."

"Vaccine uptake remains sky-high. We've seen that age is no barrier for enthusiasm for getting the jab.

"As of this weekend, more than half of adults under 30 have taken up the chance to be vaccinated, including, in the last couple of weeks, all three of my own adult children.

"Our vaccines are working, including against the Delta variant."

He later went on to say: "I spent my first day as Health Secretary - just yesterday - looking at the data and testing it to the limit.

"Whilst we decided not to bring forward Step 4, we see no reason to go beyond 19 July.

"In truth, no date we choose comes with zero risk for Covid.

"We know we cannot simply eliminate it - we have to learn to live with it."

Mr Javid was also encouraged by new data from mix and match vaccine trials from the University of Oxford, which showed the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs could be used together.

Read more: Mixing AstraZeneca and Pfizer Covid jabs 'generates robust immune response'

This confirmation comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson called 19 July the terminus point.

Speaking to broadcasters during a campaign visit, he said: "What I think we should do now is continue to take a cautious but irreversible approach and use the next three-and-a-half weeks or so to make sure that we get another five million vaccinations into people's arms, build up even higher that wall of protection, and then go forward on July 19 as a terminus date when I think that we will be able, really, to return to pretty much life before Covid.

"That's what we're working towards."

Read more: Boris Johnson defends Matt Hancock's resignation delay