Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid has apologised for saying that it is time to “learn to live with, rather than cower from” the coronavirus, in a failed attempt to appease pro-lockdown critics.
“Please, if you haven’t yet, get your jab, as we learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus,” Javid had said in a now-deleted social media post announcing he was recovered from his own coronavirus infection.
Predictably, the Health Secretary soon found himself accosted by lockdown enthusiasts already upset by the government having relaxed restrictions on people’s activities and masking requirements — while some lockdown sceptics predicted he would soon walk back his statement.
“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,” he grovelled.
“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
Perhaps equally predictably, the U-turn did not assuage his critics, with one of the top responses to the apology — with over 10,000 ‘likes’ as of the time of publication — coming from diehard anti-Brexit activist Femi Oluwole, who insisted that “No, you CHOSE to appeal to your libertarian bravado-obsessed voter base by making it look macho to get rid of all Covid restrictions.”
“You’re not sorry. You’re just ‘cowering’ away from the backlash,” Oluwole railed.
The dispute comes shortly after what the Johnson administration billed as “Freedom Day”, with many Covid restrictions lifted in theory but, for hundreds of thousands who have been “pinged” as contacts of the Covid-infected and told to go into isolation, not in practice.
These included the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, who both spent “Freedom Day” in isolation as contacts of the Health Secretary — despite early reports that they would seek to get around the rules through a special “trial” which allows those enrolled to skip isolating through regular testing.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove had previously taken advantage of this “trial” to attend a Champions League football match in Portugal.
Agree. I see from the replies that people are enjoying their outrage too much to be willing to accept an apology though.
— Sam Leith 🐝 (@questingvole) July 25, 2021