SAJID Javid has apologised after saying people should no longer “cower” from Covid.
The Health Secretary made the comments in a tweet announcing he had made a “full recovery” from the virus, a week after testing positive.
Labour blasted him for belittling those who followed the rules, while a victims’ group founder said his comments were “deeply insensitive”.
Mr Javid said: “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.”
On Saturday, he had written that he had recovered after testing positive for Covid, after suffering mild symptoms.
Mr Javid tweeted: “Please — if you haven’t yet — get your jab, as we learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus.”
But this sparked criticism that he was being disrespectful to those who died from the disease in Britain and Northern Ireland.
Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the Labour Party, was one of several lawmakers from opposition parties and people who had lost family members to the pandemic to criticise his use of the phrase “cower from”.
She said: “127,000 people have died from this virus, tens of thousands of whom would still be here if it wasn’t for the catastrophic failures of your government,
“So how dare you denigrate people.
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Labour MP Yvette Cooper said: “129,000 people who died didn’t cower, they fought for their lives.”
The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group, which slammed Sajid Javid’s initial tweet as “deeply insensitive”, said the Health Secretary was right to apologise.
The group also repeated an earlier request for Mr Javid to walk the National Covid Memorial Wall with it “to understand the hurt and insult his poor choice of words still remains”.
The new Health Secretary, who replaced Matt Hancock who stepped down for breaking Covid rules by kissing an aide, strongly favours lifting coronavirus restrictions.
Most remaining legal rules in England were ended last Monday.
A total of 31,795 cases were reported in the UK on Saturday.
This is a 41 per cent drop from last week.
More than 46million people now have received their first jab and over 36million people had the second one, according to Public Health England (PHE) data.