Analysis: Sajid Javid is ready for easing even if the public isn’t

This week the Prime Minister will outline the next step in how the pandemic is dealt with south of the border.

Sajid Javid has to convince the public the easing is safe.
Sajid Javid has to convince the public the easing is safe.

Laws will be swapped for guidance, and the public will once again hear just how much belief the UK Government has in personal responsibility.

This change comes with the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, and an English administration confident things can get back to normal.

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The new Health Secretary is all in on the approach, who comparing it to flu wrote “we have to learn to accept the existence of Covid and find ways to cope with it”.

He added: “Rules that we have had to put in place have caused a shocking rise in domestic violence and a terrible impact on so many people’s mental health.”

While his optimism is welcome, the gulf in what it means to “cope with it” massively differs between say scientific experts and libertarian politicians.

For the UK Government, this appears to be ditching compulsory masks, removing social distancing and accepting hospitalisations, serious illness and deaths from Covid will continue, without seeing a link between them.

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UK scientists have warned that the lifting of all Covid-19 restrictions is like building new “variant factories”, and labelled his attitude “frightening”.

Finding ways to live with a virus should not necessarily mean throwing off all restrictions, especially when the decision is at odds with so many scientists.

There’s easing yourself into the water, and diving head first when you don’t know how deep it is.

We of course have almost been here before. Between “Eat out to help out”, “12 weeks to turn the tide”, and “normality” by Christmas, the UK Government has consistently underestimated the severity of the situation, despite near 130,000 deaths.

Vaccines do make a difference, but Mr Javid finds himself at odds with a public still nervous about getting back to normal.

The Scottish Government has also stressed the "ongoing need" for face coverings after August 9, which sends mixed messages to the public over how back to normal life actually is.

Insisting it’s safe now when other parts of the UK still have safety measures will be no small task, especially when they’ve heard it so many times before.

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