The health secretary was in hot water after the government went against its own advice.
Sajid Javid didn’t win over any fan after he supported the cabinet’s decision not to wear a mask in a crowded meeting during an interview on Wednesday.
When asked about a photo released by Number 10 on Tuesday, which shows 30 to 40 masked ministers crowding together, Javid claimed it was “completely consistent” with the prime minister’s advice.
The health secretary alleged that the current guidance “must be considered among strangers to masks in crowded places”.
In his plan to tackle COVID in the coming months, Boris Johnson revealed this week that the public should engage in self-protection measures, including wearing masks in high-risk or crowded places.
The health secretary’s comments also followed repeated warnings from scientific experts that face masks should be worn to reduce the winter increase in Covid infections.
Javid was questioned about the masked backbencher Conservatives, who have also been seen attending large meetings in the Commons.
The health secretary replied: “They are not strangers.”
It’s safe to say that Javid’s comments didn’t go down well online.
Journalist Kevin Maguire tweeted: “It’s OK for Tory MPs to sit very close to 364 friends without masks without masks, says health secretary.
“I doubt their chief medical officer would agree.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “So…does this imply that covid [is] Who is less likely to be caught by close contact who is a friend or co-worker? Viruses will be delighted at this coverage. “
Labor’s shadow cabinet minister, Jonathan Reynolds, also told Sky News it was an example of the government’s “satisfaction”.
He said: “My biggest takeaway from yesterday was seeing the health secretary talking about how we might have to ask people to wear masks in enclosed spaces, in a workplace surrounded by Conservative MPs, any of them Doesn’t even wear a mask, that’s just what I understand I think sometimes this is a great feature of the government.