Sajid Javid apologises for ‘cower’ Covid remark

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid has apologised after saying people should no longer "cower" from coronavirus.

He made the comments in a tweet announcing he had made a "full recovery" from Covid, a week after testing positive.

Labour accused him of denigrating those who followed the rules, while the founder of a victims' group said his comments were "deeply insensitive".

Mr Javid said: "It was a poor choice of word and I sincerely apologise."

"I was expressing gratitude that the vaccines help us fight back as a society," he said.

In a new tweet, the health secretary said he had deleted his original post, adding: "Like many, I have lost loved ones to this awful virus and would never minimise its impact."

Cower is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as meaning to bend down or move backward with your head down because you are frightened.

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His tweet, originally posted on Saturday, said: "Full recovery from Covid a week after testing positive. 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."

Mr Javid replaced Mr Hancock as health secretary last month after his predecessor stood down.

He tested positive for Covid on 17 July and spent the last week in self-isolation. The prime minister and chancellor also began self-isolating after they had come into contact with him.

Jo Goodman, co-founder of Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, said the "flippancy and carelessness" of Mr Javid's comment had "caused deep hurt and further muddied the waters of the government's dangerously mixed messaging".

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy also questioned his use of the word, saying: "Don't denigrate people for trying to keep themselves and their families safe."

Lib Dem health spokeswoman Munira Wilson said Mr Javid's tweet was "outrageous" and his "careless words have insulted every man, woman and child who has followed the rules and stayed at home to protect others".

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