Boris Johnson extends lockdown powers until September ahead of rules relaxing in England
26 March 2021, 11:07 | Updated: 26 March 2021, 11:10
MPs have voted to extend coronavirus powers for another six months.
The House of Commons has voted to extend emergency coronavirus powers for another six months.
Yesterday, MPs backed Health Secretary Matt Hancock's call to renew the emergency rules to deal with Covid until September.
The Coronavirus Act came into force at the start of the pandemic back in March 2020, and gave the government new powers.
These include shutting down pubs and restaurants and detaining those who are deemed to be putting other people at risk of Covid.
The temporary measures have to be reviewed and renewed every six months, and this does not mean restrictions will definitely continue until then.
Mr Hancock called the laws ‘essential’, adding: "They are exceptional powers for the most extreme of situations and must be seen in this light."
On the morning of the vote, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said: "The libertarian in me is also trying to protect people's fundamental right to life and their ability to live their lives normally.
"And the only way really to restore that for everybody is for us to beat the disease and the best path to freedom is down the cautious but irreversible road map that we've set out - that's what the freedom lover wants."
This comes as MPs voted on England's roadmap out of lockdown which will kick start on Monday.
As of March 29, six people will be allowed to meet outdoors, while some outdoor sports are also permitted.
The stay-at-home order will end, but people will be asked to stay local.
If coronavirus cases continue to fall, non-essential shops can reopen on April 12, as well as hairdressers, gyms and libraries.
Pubs and other hospitality venues will be able to serve customers outside, but they will not be allowed to open inside until at least May 17.
After June 21, the government hopes all the legal limits on social contact can be removed.