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06th Jul 2021

COVID-19: Sajid Javid will continue to carry a face mask after 19 July

Charlie Herbert

“The pandemic is not over”

Sajid Javid has said that he will continue to carry a face mask with him for the foreseeable future, after the government announced that they would not be a legal requirement from 19 July.

However, the Health Secretary added that he and the government were “very comfortable with the decisions that were announced” on Monday.

Speaking to Sky News, Javid said: “For the foreseeable future I’ll be carrying a mask with me, I think that’s a very responsible thing for anyone to do. As I’ve said, the pandemic is not over.

“If I’m in a crowded or enclosed space I will wear a face mask. In fact, I’d wear one if I was next to someone or near to someone that felt uncomfortable with others not wearing face masks, and that’s what I mean by personal responsibility.”

He added that the government was able to “move from a system of rules and regulation to guidance and personal responsibility” because of the success of the vaccine programme.

Meanwhile, a former scientific advisor to the government has described the ending of legal Covid restrictions on 19 July as a “slight gamble” and “experiment.”

Professor Neil Ferguson’s modelling contributed to the first nationwide restrictions in March 2020. The Imperial College professor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is a slight gamble, it’s a slight experiment at the moment. I think it’s justifiable and I’m reasonably optimistic. [But] policy will have to remain flexible.

“If we end up in something close to the worst-case scenario, we and other groups are looking at, which I think is unlikely but can’t be ruled out, then yes, there may need to be some sort of course correction later.”

After the government’s announcement on Monday, July 19 is set to see all legal social distancing requirements axed, with entertainment venues allowed to host maximum capacity crowds and nightclubs finally allowed to reopen.