Sajid Javid provoked roars of laughter when he won The Spectator magazine’s ‘comeback of the year’ award last week – and paid tribute to ‘the CCTV guy at the Department of Health’ who caught his predecessor Matt Hancock in the fateful clinch that enabled the return of the Saj to frontline politics.

After the ceremony was over, and while Mr Hancock – who was also at the event – headed to a Prohibition-style basement bar in Soho to dance to 1980s music, Mr Javid went home to deal with the latest plot twists in the Covid pandemic.

The announcement yesterday that two UK citizens were found infected in Omicron Covid was received with relative calm from Mr Javid, his staff, and they remain cautiously optimistic about the future. This will be combined with travel restrictions and PCR testing.

“We were the first to recognize the importance of this variant. We are still talking about it every day and I’m constantly being updated,” Mr Javid states. 

Yesterday's announcement that two people in the UK have been found to be infected with the new Omicron Covid variant is being greeted with relative calm by Sajid Javid (pictured)

Sajid Javid (pictured), has been embraced with relative calm after yesterday’s announcement about two UK citizens being infected by the Omicron Covid variant. 

“I believe that for such a situation, we must act quickly. The Prime Minister was open to my suggestions and agreed with me.

Mr Javid is speaking to The Mail on Sunday in his expansive Whitehall office to herald a planned week of health announcements, including a new national force of ‘NHS reservists’– modelled on the Army Reserve – made up of retired medics and logistic specialists who can swing into action if the NHS comes under strain in the winter, or if the booster vaccine programme needs supercharging. 

He is also expected to set out measures to tackle the backlog of hospital appointments, which is now forecast to peak at an astonishing 13 million, and to deal with the endemic waste that saps the Health Service’s £162 billion annual budget.

His carefully prepared plans risk being scrambled by concern – which many experts think could be overheated – about the mutant Omicron.

Critically, Britain has a world-beating program for vaccines that means there is more confidence than ever with its variants of Delta.

“The good news about vaccinations is that vaccines are much more well-known now than they were at the beginning of the pandemic. MRNA technology (which you will find in Pfizer’s vaccine) is fast.

“In theory, the MRNA platform should have something ready for testing within days. Although it must still be rigorously tested, we know that vaccines are possible to develop in just a few months. Pre-pandemic would take years if anyone asked.

Contact tracing for people potentially exposed to this new variant of the virus will be done by Mr Javid’s “world-leading test architecture and trace architecture” in the UK.

Sajid Javid provoked roars of laughter when he paid tribute to 'CCTV guy at the Department of Health' who caught Matt Hancock (pictured) in the clinch that enabled the return of the Saj

Sajid javid caused laughter by paying tribute to Matt Hancock (pictured), a CCTV man at Department of Health, who was caught in the clinch which enabled the Saj to return.

Javid is cautiously optimistic that the vaccine roll-out and the return of mask-wearing will remove the need for any more lockdowns. Pictured: London in lockdown on November 5

Javid remains cautiously optimistic about the possibility that vaccine rollouts and mask-wearing can be completed without further lockdowns. Pictured: London was in lockdown November 5.

“A good example of the surveillance power of the United States is our first detection of the new threat from this variant. Every day, hundreds to thousands of new variants are being tested.

Do you think Omicron might have made it more likely that another of the dreaded lockdowns will occur?

“No, it’s not yet, but not yet,” he replies, before pointing at Boris Johnson’s decision earlier than any other EU country to loosen restrictions as key. 

“I believe we now have enough data to be able to make a decision, particularly when you look at the events in Europe. 

But I strongly believed that opening up must occur at some point. If you’re going to do this, make sure it is done into the summer. There’s less risk. This was not about opening at the most secure time, but rather accepting the transmission.

“I think that one reason the UK is stable right now is because of this decision and our booster programme’s success.”

“When I started this job, I stated that we must learn how to deal with the flu like with flu. While we accept the fact that influenza is a common occurrence every year and that many people are affected by it, we also recognize that there are still ways for society to combat flu.

“Today, flu vaccines are available that can deal with many strains of influenza. There is no reason for you to believe that Covid cannot do the same.

‘For the next few year, if we can all get flu vaccines every winter to deal with multiple strains of the flu, then we’ll live normal lives and that is something I am looking forward to.

“There are many reasons to believe that we will be able live normal lives without having to worry about restrictions on travel and other things. This is where we’re going.

When balancing the protection of public health with the economic health, Javid places a particular emphasis on the damage that long-term lockdowns can cause.

Another 39,567 Covid cases and 131 deaths were recorded in the UK today. Department of Health officials posted nearly 40,000 daily infections ¿ down 3.36 per cent from 40,941 last Saturday ¿ while the number of people who have died 28 days after testing positive for Covid has also fallen by 12.7 per cent from 150 last week

The UK recorded another 39,567 Covid deaths and an additional 39,567 Covid-positive cases today. Department of Health officials posted nearly 40,000 daily infections – down 3.36 per cent from 40,941 last Saturday – while the number of people who have died 28 days after testing positive for Covid has also fallen by 12.7 per cent from 150 last week

Look at all of the other harm that the lockdowns caused. The impact on our children, on their education, on the non-Covid health impacts, the surge we’ve seen in mental health referrals – it’s off the charts because of the lockdowns. 

‘The rise in people with heart disease going undiagnosed, cancer cases that were undiagnosed – we couldn’t carry on like that.’

Particularly, Mr Javid wants to address the NHS wait list which currently stands at 5.8million and is expected to double.

“No one is able to predict what the effects of pandemics will have on long-term health in Britain and elsewhere. While we will continue to learn more, I can tell you that the pandemic isn’t just about Covid.

No one who has not been fully vaccinated will be permitted to work at the NHS by spring next year. Currently, 100,000 employees are not fully vaccinated. Is there a shortage of staff? 

He said, “It’s difficult to know,” We have never done this as a nation before.

“If you look at other countries, France did something very similar. In three to four months, they went from about 70% to 98% vaccinated. We’re hoping for a similar result.

Although the Americans were more skeptical, the British suggested that the Pandemic may have begun after the virus was released from the laboratory in Wuhan.

Is he still a believer in the “Zoonotic” theory of a pangolin infecting humans after it was bitten by a bat 1,000 miles from home?

“We still need to find out more. We have many unanswered questions. As the World Health Organisation stated, this first investigation into the origins of malaria is still incomplete. They want more research.

“We are supportive of WHO. Other people need to access the information they require. It is good for the longer-term to understand the history and origins of the WHO virus to help us better defend ourselves against it when it arrives.

Covid aside the Government has been afflicted by disputes over Channel’s small boats crisis and tensions with Downing Street.

Omicron cases were already found in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong. Although it isn’t known if the variant arrived yesterday in the Netherlands, Dutch authorities have begun sequencing passenger tests.

After losing an argument with Dominic Cummings (No 10 advisor), Mr Javid left No 11. ‘No,’ he says quickly.

“Since my return to government, I have worked incredibly closely alongside the Prime Minister and Chancellor.

“We will get together as a team every other week. There is so much to do and we have great times together. 

Concerning the migrant crises, which he faced as Home Secretary, he said: “The ultimate responsibility lies with people smugglers, and the gangs who are taking advantage of vulnerable people.

They’re misleading them, putting them at risk. While I believe the Home Secretary has done everything possible, and I agree with that assessment of her team, it is important to have other people help when we aren’t in control.

“The French top the list for doing all they can to help us succeed in this.”

It is the sixth cabinet job for Mr Javid. It will be his sixth Cabinet job.

“Health is one of the most vital jobs in this country.” Never have I felt so responsible.

For which he can thank Mr Hancock’s CCTV implosion – but the two men remain in close contact.

“Matt worked extremely hard. His efforts were admirable and, when it is over, the pandemic will be gone. I believe people will remember Matt Hancock’s important role as an outstanding public servant.