BROMSGROVE MP Sajid Javid gave a rousing speech during his first address to the House of Commons as the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
He revealed he had spent his first day as Health Secretary yesterday studying the data and testing it to the limit and whilst the stage four date was not being brought forward, there was no reason to go beyond July 19.
“No date we choose comes with a zero risk for Covid – we cannot simply eliminate it – we have to learn to live with it.
“We also know people and businesses need certainty so we want every step to be irreversible.
“Make no mistake – the restrictions on our freedoms 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 not to wait a moment longer than we need to.”
He added with numbers heading in the right direction and more people being protected every single day, July 19 remained the target date.
“For me July 19 is not only the end of the line but the start of an exciting new journey for our country.
“We must keep our resolve and keep to our road map so we can beat this pandemic and build back better.
“It is a task I am deeply honoured to lead and one I know will succeed.”
Earlier in the speech he said he had been frustrated by not being on the front benches and ‘having the chance to play his part in helping meet the greatest ever health challenge our country has ever faced’.
Mr Javid said he had met with NHS doctors, nurses and volunteers at St Thomas’ Hospital earlier today and praised the NHS which ‘had moved mountains this year’ and were now ‘helping us vaccinate our way out of this pandemic’.
“I pay tribute to them all and pledge to do everything I can to deliver for them and the people of this great country.
“Nothing embodies the spirit of public service more than our National Health Service and those who work in our social care.
He said there was a big task ahead to restore our freedoms – freedoms that – apart from the greatest of circumstances – no Government should ever wish to curtail.
“It is my task to return this economic and cultural life that makes this country so great while protecting life and our NHS.
“That task has been made all the more difficult by the Delta variant which we now know makes up 95 per cent of new cases in the UK.”
He pointed out the Delta variant spreads more quickly and poses a higher risk to those who had not been vaccinated needing hospital treatment.
This narrowing of the race between the virus and the vaccine had led to the Government pausing the road map and delaying the next easing of restrictions to July 19.
He added the extra time would be used to protect as many people as possible with both second doses and first dose targets being brought forward.
By July 19, he said, two thirds of adults would have had both doses of the vaccine which was working – including against the Delta variant.
Age was no barrier for taking up the vaccine – more than half the under 30s had
“Vaccine enthusiasm remains sky high – age is no barrier for those wanting to get the jab.
“As of this weekend, more than half of under 30s have taken up the vaccine and, in the past couple of weeks, all three of my own adult children.”
Mr Javid said more than 27,000 lives had been saved by the vaccine which had also prevented over 7million people contracting Covid-19.
“While the number of cases is ticking up, the number of deaths remains mercifully low.
“Our vaccines are breaking the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths.”