SAJID Javid vowed to get the nation back to normal “as soon and quickly as possible” as he took over Britain’s Covid response.
The new Health Secretary ripped up the doomster handbook left by disgraced predecessor Matt Hancock.
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Mr Javid said it was his “immediate priority” to end the restrictions.
The former Chancellor ripped up cushy consultancy jobs worth over £300,000 a year to become the people’s freedom fighter.
The business champion turned healthcare chief is well aware of the crippling effect of the pandemic restrictions on the nation’s economy.
But although his positivity is a welcome breath of fresh air, it will be too late to speed up the unlocking — with chances of July 5 becoming the new freedom date dead in the water.
The new health chief — big pals with PM Boris Johnson and wife Carrie — spent yesterday afternoon getting up to speed with Covid data and figures and getting across his new brief.
Speaking outside his new office, Mr Javid said: “We are still in a pandemic and I want to see that come to an end as soon as possible.
“That will be my most immediate priority to see that we can return to normal as soon and quickly as possible.”
This morning, the PM will chair a Covid Operations Committee meeting expected to decide against early reopening.
As of yesterday 44,314,799 first vaccinations had been dished out and 32,460,191 people had been double jabbed.
But there were 14,876 new cases and 11 new deaths from the deadly virus.
HOAR can reveal Mr Javid has had to turn down lucrative work worth over £300,000 a year to take on the new job.
He has had to shun his advisor jobs with bank JP Morgan, where he used to work, and at a high tech software firm.
Both were paying him £150,000 for ten to 12 days work a year.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith praised the new Covid regulator-in-chief’s words.
He said: “I hope he really puts the pressure on Boris to see sense.
“We have broken the link between cases and hospitalisations. What more do we want? We don’t need to wait until everyone is fully jabbed, and we need to end the lockdown now. Full stop.
“He needs to stand up to the sceptical scientists and tell them life is about a balance of risks.”
But scientists remain cautious and want the extra time to get as many people double jabbed as possible as a way to combat spiralling cases of the Delta variant.
Government scientist Professor Sir Peter Horby said that the Government “should not rush into anything” but suggested Covid stats looked “encouraging”.
He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show jabbing rates have “weakened” the link between infections and hospital admissions but they were not “completely broken”.
Yesterday, NHS England said that half of all adults under 30 in the country had received a Covid-19 vaccine — with more than 4.2million people aged 18 to 29 jabbed in just three weeks.
Public health professor Linda Bauld told Sky News that rising Covid-19 cases were a “cause for concern” but the proportion of people requiring hospital treatment was “more positive news” with only around five per cent of cases ending up in hospital.
She said: “If that trend continues . . . then I think the Government is under a lot of pressure to stick with that date of July 19.
“But all the researchers and clinicians will be saying, ‘Let’s make sure the data is going in the right direction’ a week or two before.”
Meanwhile, presenter Trevor Phillips told a Cabinet minister defending Matt Hancock “where to get off” after describing how hundreds of people were prevented from going to his daughter’s funeral.
The Sky host yesterday told Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis how he buried freelance journalist Sushila Phillips, 36, on May 11 — just five days after cheating Mr Hancock snogged aide Gina Coladangelo in his ministerial office.
Mr Phillips, who chaired the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said that 300 of her friends and family were forced to watch the funeral online.
He said that they were banned from the graveside “even though it was in the open air, because of the rule of 30, because of the instruction by Mr Hancock”.