Sajid Javid may come to rue 'no going back' pledge on ending lockdown: The Yorkshire Post says

While Sajid Javid struck a notably optimistic tone on his first working day as Health Secretary about his intention to deliver an “irreversible” lifting of lockdown restrictions, his comments that he intends there will be “no going back” may well come back to haunt him.

Former Chancellor Sajid Javid, arrives at the Department of Health & Social Care in central London, after he was appointed as Health Secretary. Picture Yui Mok/PA Wire

The vaccine programme has done an excellent job of reducing deaths and hospitalisations from coronavirus but the rising number of Delta variant cases is still causing immediate and considerable disruption to normal life – in, to take just one example, the increasing number of schools having to return class bubbles to online lessons due to pupils self-isolating.

Equally, one of the key lessons of the pandemic is that changing circumstances – such as the emergence of another new variant - can make good intentions undeliverable.

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That is shown by the simple fact the nation has been through three iterations of lockdown and the original date for ending this current one has already been pushed back by four weeks with considerable question marks over whether the revised July 19 date will actually go ahead.

Mr Javid has an invidious in-tray as Health Secretary – from the tough decision around ending lockdown to dealing with a “huge spike” in demand for emergency services and a record backlog of people waiting for NHS treatment.

His words do offer hope of a renewed focus on coming out of the other side of the pandemic as quickly as possible – but making himself and the Government a hostage to fortune with assurances that cannot be relied upon may prove to be a matter of regret in the months to come.

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