Sajid Javid is expected to say he is confident that the easing of lockdown restrictions will go ahead on July 19 and that Britain will return to normal.
The new health secretary will use his first Commons address today to confirm that restrictions in England will not be eased next week, despite a push from lockdown-sceptic Tory MPs. However, he is expected to say that although Covid cases are increasing rapidly, the number of patients admitted to hospital is still relatively low.
Ministers remain confident that all lockdown restrictions will be lifted on July 19, including the requirement for facemasks and social distancing.
Javid was appointed after Matt Hancock quit at the weekend over CCTV video that showed him kissing an aide.
It is understood that Hancock and Gina Coladangelo, his adviser, are in love and are planning to set up home. “It’s an affair of the heart; he’s completely certain about it,” a source said. Hancock and Coladangelo are both married with three children.
The new health secretary is more hawkish than his predecessor about easing lockdown restrictions on July 19. Javid said yesterday: “We are still in a pandemic and I want to see that come to an end as soon as possible, and that will be my most immediate priority.”
A total of 14,876 people tested positive for coronavirus yesterday, a rise of nearly 60 per cent on last week. The number of patients admitted to hospital rose by 10 per cent over the same period. Javid, the former chancellor, was briefed yesterday by medical experts before today’s announcement on lockdown restrictions. He returns to the government 18 months after resigning when Boris Johnson asked him to dismiss his advisers.