Sajid Javid deletes tweet claiming people should no longer 'cower' from Covid-19

UK Health Secretary says he has recovered from the disease

The UK's Health Secretary has apologised after facing criticism over a comment claiming people should no longer "cower" from Covid-19.

Sajid Javid made the comments in a tweet that said he had made a "full recovery" from Covid-19.

On Sunday, he deleted the tweet and issued an apology after he was accused of being insensitive to the families of victims.

"I've deleted a tweet which used the word 'cower'," he said.

"I was expressing gratitude that the vaccines help us fight back as a society, but it was a poor choice of word and I sincerely apologise.

"Like many, I have lost loved ones to this awful virus and would never minimise its impact."

Earlier, the opposition Labour Party accused him of being "deeply insensitive" after he wrote: "Please – if you haven't yet – get your jab, as we learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus."

He had been urging people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as cases in the UK continue to rise.

Labour MP David Lammy criticised Mr Javid in a tweet, saying "129,000 Brits have died from Covid under your government’s watch".

"Don’t denigrate people for trying to keep themselves and their families safe," Mr Lammy said.

Munira Wilson, an MP for the Liberal Democrats, said Mr Javid's comments were a slight against those who adhered to Covid-19 restrictions throughout the pandemic.

"His careless words have insulted every man, woman and child who has followed the rules and stayed at home to protect others," she said.

"He owes them all, especially the millions who are shielding, an apology."

Campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice said his remarks were insensitive.

“The new health secretary's comments are deeply insensitive on a number of levels," the group said.

“Not only are they hurtful to bereaved families, implying our loved ones were too cowardly to fight the virus, but they insult all those still doing their best to protect others from the devastation this horrific virus can bring.

“Words matter and the flippancy and carelessness of this comment has caused deep hurt and further muddied the waters of the government's dangerously mixed messaging.

"We hope the Health Secretary will find time to meet with us and others who have lost loved ones to Covid-19 for us to be able to explain why these comments are so hurtful."

Mr Javid was appointed Health Secretary last month after Matt Hancock was forced to stand down.

Updated: July 25th 2021, 3:04 PM