British Health Minister Sajid Javid provoked a wave of anger from families of the victims due to coronavirus, on Sunday, after he said people must no longer “cower” from the virus.
Javid announced on Saturday that he had made a “full recovery” from Covid-19 after falling ill eight days ago, and said: “Please, if you haven’t yet, get your jab, as we learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus.”
Full recovery from Covid a week after testing positive.
Symptoms were very mild, thanks to amazing vaccines.
Please – if you haven’t yet – get your jab, as we learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus. https://t.co/OmuaUGp173
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) July 24, 2021
Consequently, Jo Goodman, the co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, affirmed that Javid’s “comments are deeply insensitive on a number of levels.”
“Not only are they hurtful to bereaved families, implying our loved ones were too cowardly to fight the virus, but they insult all those still doing their best to protect others from the devastation this horrific virus can bring,” she added.
Moreover, Labour accused him of denigrating people who followed the rules to protect others, while the Lib Dems told him to apologise to those who have shielded because they are particularly vulnerable to the disease.
The Lib Dem’s health spokesperson, Munira Wilson expressed fierce anger, stressing that Javid’s tweet was “outrageous” while thousands remain in hospital with Covid.
“His careless words have insulted every man, woman and child who has followed the rules and stayed at home to protect others,” she said in a statement. “He owes them all, especially the millions who are shielding, an apology.”
Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader in Westminster, stated: “‘Cower from this virus.’ Really. The job of government is to keep people safe. To show empathy with folk. To seek to protect people when necessary.”
“This is not acceptable. You might want to reflect and think about your role as health secretary in England,” Blackford reiterated.
Ministers have been criticized over the past weeks for undermining the public health campaign against Covid by giving mixed messages about the virus.
Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson avoided self-isolation after being pinged for contact with the health minister. Reports noted that Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace, but would avoid self-isolation under a “daily contact testing” pilot scheme.
On her part, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said Johnson and Sunak were treating the public with “contempt”.
“Sorry for the unparliamentary language but this just takes the pi**,” Rayner wrote on Twitter. “Not following the rules that they created and which they expect my constituents to follow.”