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Sajid Javid Apologises After Backlash From Bereaved Covid Families Over "Cower" Comments

3 min read

The Health Secretary has apologised and deleted a tweet following heavy criticism after he urged people not to "cower" from coronavirus.

Sajid Javid has apologised for the comments he made on Saturday morning as he announced his "full recovery" from Covid-19, after being diagnosed with the virus last weekend.

In a tweet, Javid wrote: "Symtpoms were 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."

His remarks had sparked a wave of anger from opposition MPs and families of victims of the virus, who had described the remarks as "deeply insensitive".

Just hours after his original tweet, Javid posted another message confirming he had deleted the comments and apologising.

"I've deleted a tweet which used the word 'cower'," he wrote.

"I was expressing gratitude that the vaccines help us fight back as a society, but it was a poor choice of word and I sincerely apologise. Like many, I have lost loved ones to this awful virus and would never minimise its impact."

Jo Goodman, the co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice had said the comments were "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.

"Words matter and the flippancy and carelessness of this comment has caused deep hurt and further muddied the waters of the government's dangerously mixed messaging."

The comments from Javid had come after new figures from the NHS found 447 people died from the illness in the last 7 days, an increase of 57.4% over the previous week period.

Labour's shadow justice secretary David Lammy also criticised Javid's tone. "129,000 Brits have died from Covid under your government's watch," he said. "Don't denigrate people for trying to keep themselves and their families safe."

Liberal Democract MP Murnia Wilson said his "careless words have insulted every man, woman and child who has followed the rules and stayed at home to protect others.

"He owes them all, especially the millions who are shielding, and apology."

Ministers are reportedly mulling new plans to halt the spread of the virus by barring people who have not been double jabbed from attending mass events with more than 20,000 spectators.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Premier League football matches, rugby internationals and major concerts could all be included in the scheme which is expected to start in October.

Under the current system, large venues are encouraged to use vaccine certification or Covid testing to reduce the risk of transmission at events.

But the new plans could see their use become mandatory in a bid to prevent a surge of infections ahead of the winter.

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