By Kaden Pradhan
London, United Kingdom
Sajid Javid has accepted a position as U.K. Health Minister after the departure of Matt Hancock. Javid, 51, was previously Home Secretary under Theresa May’s government, and later, Chancellor of the Exchequer, but left the Cabinet in early 2020 after a dispute with Boris Johnson over the influence of No. 10 on the Treasury.
Javid’s new role holds great importance within the British government, as he now leads the department making most of the key decisions about the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has a national reputation as a steadfast, dependable individual.
Hancock, 42, resigned after pictures emerged of him embracing and kissing his aide Gina Coladangelo, violating social distancing laws he himself had put in place.
The images were pulled from a security camera hidden within a smoke detector in his office, and leaked by an unidentified government employee. They were published in The Sun newspaper on the 25th of June, compelling Hancock to quit a day later. An inquiry has been launched into why a secret camera was placed in the office of a high-ranking government minister without his knowledge or authorization.
As the U.K. is slowly brought out of lockdown restrictions, the decisions made by Sajid Javid and his team will be critical to a smooth recovery. Government sources have confirmed that a program of booster vaccinations has been greenlighted for the autumn. If he still holds the position by that time, Javid will be working with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization to carry out the inoculations nationwide.
The Prime Minister emphasized in early July that despite the imminent end of lockdown, the pandemic was far from over. However, breaking the lockdown in the autumn or winter poses a greater threat, as the spike in case numbers would be more pronounced.
Despite the success of the British vaccine rollout, most government advisors are expecting a rise in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. As the Prime Minister said during a press conference earlier this month, “we must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from COVID.”
How Sajid Javid handles the upcoming wave will be crucial to his legacy.