U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid, pictured in 2015, tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday. The nation is poised to lift sweeping restrictions, despite a spike in cases led by the delta variant. Leon Neal/AP hide caption
U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid, pictured in 2015, tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday. The nation is poised to lift sweeping restrictions, despite a spike in cases led by the delta variant.
Sajid Javid, the top government official tasked with leading the United Kingdom’s coronavirus response, announced Saturday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 after being vaccinated.
In a video posted to Twitter, the health secretary said he learned of his results from a rapid lateral flow test, generally used for people without coronavirus symptoms, and was awaiting a more accurate PCR test as he isolates at home.
Javid said he took the test on Saturday after “feeling a bit groggy” the night before. He has had both doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and says his symptoms have so far been “very mild.”
This morning I tested positive for Covid. I’m waiting for my PCR result, but thankfully I have had my jabs and symptoms are mild.
Please make sure you come forward for your vaccine if you haven’t already. pic.twitter.com/NJYMg2VGzT
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) July 17, 2021
It comes as England is poised to roll back restrictions following one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier this month that by Monday face masking and social distancing requirements would be lifted, along with crowd limits at private gatherings, concerts and sporting events. At pubs, patrons will once again be allowed to order pints at the bar.
At the same time, infections are up sharply. In the past week, 300,000 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the U.K. — up 40% compared from a week earlier.
The delta variant, which has been found to spread about 225% faster than the original version of the virus, now accounts for more than 90% of infections in the country and is behind COVID-19 surges in some areas.
Two-thirds of British adults are fully vaccinated; children are not yet eligible.
Javid supports the national reopening. Days before his positive test result, he said vaccinations would build a “protective wall” to help “withstand a summer wave.”
On Saturday, Javid encouraged unvaccinated people to get their shots. He also recommended getting tested for COVID-19, whatever one’s vaccine status, if exposure to the disease is suspected or if symptoms are felt.
AstraZeneca says its vaccine fully protects against death and is 92% effective against hospitalization from the delta variant.
Javid has been serving as health secretary for less than three weeks. Matt Hancock abruptly stepped down last month after breaching coronavirus distancing rules. Hancock was caught on closed circuit TV kissing an aide.