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Lockdown law in England could be extended until October
March 23, 2021
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of a third wave of Covid-19 cases being seen in France and Italy, which could “wash up on our shores as well”.
But more optimistically, he added that we have “started on our cautious road to easing restrictions once and for all”.
More than half of UK adults have now had the coronavirus vaccine, but delays are a “cause of concern”, said Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
The UK has been hit with an unexpected delay in the supply of the jab, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs: “We are on track for the dates in the roadmap and there is no impact” to the planned easing of lockdown restrictions.
But now there is further confusion about whether or not lockdown is being extended – due to the lockdown legislation.
Is lockdown being extended?
No, the government is still aiming to have all restrictions lifted by June 21.
However, lockdown legislation is expected to be extended until October this week, Manchester Evening News reports.
This does not mean that lockdown itself will be extended, but has to do with the restrictions being made into law.
The current national restrictions have been made into law through the Coronavirus Act – which will expire at the end of March.
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That means MPs have to vote again to extend the legalisation for lockdown to legally continue.
They will be doing this on Thursday, March 25, which is when we’ll know exactly how long the legislation is being extended.
However, there have been some questions surrounding why Mr Johnson is looking to extend the law until after the country is expected to return to normality.
Meanwhile Health Minister Helen Whately has said the plans to lift lockdown by June are still on track.
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The fact that the government wants to extend the legislation will allow them to continue with measures such as the furlough scheme beyond lockdown.
She told BBC Breakfast: “The road map is on track and indeed we want to lift those restrictions by June 21.
“We have said we will take steps cautiously and we will be driven by the data rather than those dates.
“There are also a number of things which will need to continue and will be continued for a longer period of time."
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She continued: “So, for instance, the furlough scheme, which the Chancellor extended through to October, and this Act is needed in order to have the furlough scheme.
“Also the sick pay, which means you can get sick pay from day one and, for instance, if you’re isolating from Covid, so there are things we need to have in place beyond the dates in the road map.”
A spokesman for Mr Johnson also said: “The Coronavirus Act needs a renewal vote every six months, that will mean this is the second such vote.”