COVID-19: Expert discusses the threat of a flu outbreak
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The recently appointed Health Secretary announced the positive result of a full PCR test on Saturday confirming he has contracted the virus. The positive case among ministers means Whitehall officials may have to self-isolate on the fabled “Freedom Day” starting from Monday, July 19.
Ministers must now wait for the NHS Test and Trace to begin tracking down his recent close contacts and instructing them to quarantine.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Javid said: “My positive result has now been confirmed by PCR test, so I will continue to isolate and work from home.”
Mr Javid’s positive test result could potentially mean a swathe of ministers and senior officials will be confined to their homes when lockdown restrictions in England finally end on Monday.
No10 refused to comment on whether the Prime Minister would be among those who need to self-isolate after he had a lengthy meeting with the Health Secretary on Friday.
Mr Javid said he had taken the initial lateral flow test on Saturday morning after feeling “a bit groggy” the evening before.
Despite being fully vaccinated, Mr Javid said he was experiencing “mild” symptoms.
Munira Wilson, health spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrats, said the Health Secretary’s positive test underlined the case for the Government to rethink its plans for July 19.
“This shows no-one is safe from this deadly virus,” she said.
“By easing all restrictions with cases surging, they are experimenting with people’s lives.
“Right now, they are pursuing a strategy of survival of the fittest, where the young and clinically vulnerable will be left defenceless.”
Scientists and ministers have expressed concern at recent Covid case numbers after the Department of Health recorded over 54,000 new cases on Saturday – a number rivalled only by the horrific wave experienced in January.
Almost all Covid rules will be scrapped from Monday, including compulsory facemasks, social distancing, signing into venues and quarantine-free travel to amber list countries.
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But stricter self-isolation rules will remain until mid-August.
From August 16, adults will no longer have to self-isolate if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
Boris Johnson has repeatedly said he wants the lifting of lockdown to be “cautious but irreversible”, but acknowledged the “pandemic was far from over”.
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