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Sajid Javid says people with Covid symptoms should ‘socialise less’ and explains if he would work after positive test

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said that people who have covid symptoms should ‘socialise a bit less’. Mr Javid was speaking as Covid levels soared with 11,500 people in English hospitals having tested positive for Covid-19.

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With the end of restrictions decisions as to how to react to testing positive or having symptoms have been left to the individual. Sajid Javid was asked on Good Morning Britain what people should do – and he replied they should “socialise a bit less, stay indoors and and wait till (they) feel better”.

The Health Secretary added that people with symptoms of the virus should “behave sensibly” but he said that it would be down to the individual to decide whether or not to take a test. On the end of free testing for all adults in England from April 1, Mr Javid told Times Radio: “They’re still free, but from April 1, they won’t be in terms of a universal offer – from that point we will focus our tests on those that are most vulnerable or in vulnerable settings.

“And I think that’s the right way forward, post-April 1 if people have Covid symptoms, then they should just behave sensibly – like you would expect someone to really behave if they had flu symptoms in the past – and that is to socialise a bit less, stay indoors and and wait till you feel better.” Asked if people should still get tested, even if they have to pay for it, Mr Javid added: “I think that will be a decision for that individual. If you are someone who is vulnerable then the test will still be available for free.”

He said if he himself tested positive for Covid-19 he would not go to work, and urged a “common sense” approach. “If you’re not feeling well, if you’ve got the symptoms of Covid, then it’s not a good idea to mix with other people – the right idea is to try to spend some time trying to stay away from others,” he said.

He said some high street retailers were selling tests for “something like £2 each”, adding: “So people who want to have one – even if they’re not in a vulnerable group – that’s an option that’s still available for them. “But I think we need to step back and think about how we learn to live with Covid and focus on our very best form of defence and that’s the vaccination programme. And that’s why today we’ve announced these spring booster jobs.”

He told BBC Breakfast the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had said “that it’s possible there will be an autumn booster campaign, probably for those that are 50 and over, but they haven’t yet made a final recommendation on that.” He said there was a need to move from free testing to encouraging people to “top up” their vaccinations when called for boosters.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the Government’s “level of concern hasn’t changed” despite rising Covid case numbers. He told BBC Breakfast: “Our level of concern hasn’t changed and that’s because although case numbers are rising, infections are rising and indeed hospital numbers are rising, they are still way below their peak.

“And it’s also important for us when we review this, understand why they are rising and that is primarily due to the increased social mixing we’re seeing after the country’s opened up, but also the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron which we know is on the one hand more infectious but, on the other hand, we know that our vaccines work just as well against this sub-variant.

“And so taking all that into account, of course we keep the data under review, but there’s no particular cause for concern at this point.” He said that despite free testing ending, the UK “will still have excellent data on a very regular basis about what’s going on with the virus in the country” due to surveillance studies, such as that run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Some 11,500 people in English hospitals have Covid-19 but the majority of them have not been admitted because of the disease, the Health Secretary said. Sajid Javid told Times Radio: “At the moment, in English hospitals we have around 11,500 people that are Covid-positive, but of those people the NHS estimates almost 60% are not there because of Covid – they are there for something else. That might be a hip operation or something, but they happen to be Covid-positive.

“So those that are actually there for Covid is a much smaller number and so that does give us a lot of confidence that we are learning to live with Covid. On infections, he added: “We are seeing an increase in the number of cases at the moment and indeed hospitalisations, that said the numbers are significantly below the Omicron peak.

“But it’s right that we keep vaccination under review and so I have accepted the latest advice of the JCVI – that’s our expert group of independent advisors – to offer this spring booster jab to anyone that’s 75 or over, residents of elderly people’s care homes, and those that have weakened immune systems. “It will top up their protection against this virus and allow them to go about their daily lives with more confidence.”





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