• The Star Staff

Britain’s health secretary tests positive for the coronavirus

By Aina J. Khan


Sajid Javid, Britain’s new health secretary, said Saturday in a short video on Twitter that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, only two days before almost all of the country’s virus-related restrictions were set to be lifted.


“I was feeling a bit groggy last night, so I took a lateral flow test this morning, and it’s come out positive,” said the health secretary, 51, who was smiling and appeared to be in good spirits. Britain has distributed the easy-to-use lateral flow tests as a means of encouraging people to test themselves or get tested for the virus.


Javid said that he had already received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine and that his symptoms were “very mild.” He added that he was isolating at home with his family and that he was awaiting the results of a polymerase chain reaction test, which is considered more accurate, for confirmation.


Javid was appointed health secretary in June after Matt Hancock, who had spearheaded the country’s pandemic response, resigned after being accused of violating coronavirus restrictions in tabloid news reports of his affair with an aide.


The British government had planned to end England’s pandemic rules June 21, but a jump in cases driven by the highly transmissible delta variant led Prime Minister Boris Johnson to delay the lifting of restrictions by four weeks, to Monday.


So far, about 53% of Britain’s population has been fully vaccinated and about 69% has received a single dose of a vaccine, according to a New York Times database.


In his video, Javid thanked all of those who have been involved in the country’s vaccination program, and he encouraged anyone who has yet to be vaccinated to do so.


“If everyone plays their part,” the health secretary said, “you’re not only protecting yourself and your loved ones, but you’re also safeguarding the NHS and helping protect our way of life.”