UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid has apologised for writing a controversial tweet in which he boasted about fully recovering from Covid-19 and advised Brits not to “cower” from the virus.
Javid – who tested positive for Covid-19 one week ago on July 17 – took to social media on Saturday to announce his “full recovery” and promote vaccination.
“Symptoms were very 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,” he declared, angering many who considered his advice to lack empathy.
On Sunday, however, Javid apologised for the now-deleted tweet, saying “it was a poor choice of words” and claiming he was just trying to express “gratitude that the vaccines help us fight back as a society.”
“I sincerely apologise,” he wrote, adding, “Like many, I have lost loved ones to this awful virus and would never minimise its impact.”
I've deleted a tweet which used the word "cower". 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.
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) July 25, 2021
Javid’s initial tweet sparked uproar among Brits on social media, who accused him of insulting people who had lost loved ones to the virus.
Cower from? Do you think people choose to be hospitalised, end up in icu, die even? What kind of a health minister suggests to the electorate they are cowards for not wanting to catch a variant that could make them seriously ill or even cause their death. Utterly revolting tweet.
— Kate Wilton (@KateWilton1) July 24, 2021
Please delete this tweet. No one has been “cowering” from the virus and it’s insulting to suggest otherwise. Nearly 130,000 people in the UK alone have lost their lives to COVID. NHS workers, key workers, care workers have all been incredible.
— Liz Jarvis (@LizJarvisUK) July 24, 2021
Thousands have died. Families have lost loved ones. Many are still vulnerable. Sajid Javid tweets this macho BS. Disgraceful. Disgusting. Utterly disrespectful. https://t.co/EDZ5ECBqEH
— Siobhan Benita (@SiobhanBenita) July 24, 2021
Actress Lorelei King posted a photo of her husband’s grave, noting that he “‘cowered’ from nothing in life,” but Covid-19 still “killed him.”
Another woman shared a photo of her mother, who she said had “paid the ultimate price” after being infected with the virus.
“Turns out she was just not as strong as big bad Sajid!” she wrote, while a disabled man tweeted, “Due to the gov’s appalling handling of covid, 60% of the UK’s Covid deaths are disabled people like me. We’ve been fighting for our lives, ‘not cowering’.”
Angela Rayner, the Labour Party’s deputy leader – and many others – had called on Javid to apologise on Saturday, arguing that “Many lost their lives because the government failed to keep them safe.”
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Javid – a former home secretary and chancellor of the exchequer who was made health secretary by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in June following the resignation of Matt Hancock – is no stranger to controversy and his positive Covid-19 test last week led to Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak becoming engulfed in their own scandal after the two revealed they would not self-isolate despite their contact with the infectious Javid.
Johnson and Sunak soon backtracked following heavy public backlash and accusations of hypocrisy and ultimately decided to self-isolate like other Brits who have had recent contact with a Covid-19 positive person.
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