MPs agree to extend Covid powers until September

MPs have voted to extend emergency coronavirus powers for another six months.

They backed the health secretary’s call to renew “essential” emergency rules to deal with the pandemic as England moves out of lockdown.

But some Conservatives voted against the measures saying they were “out of step” with the roadmap for lifting restrictions.

Ministers say the powers will stay in place “only as long as necessary”.

The Coronavirus Act came in to force in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic with ministers pledging to use the measures “when strictly necessary”.

The law gave the government wide-ranging powers unlike others seen before – from shutting down pubs, through to detaining individuals deemed at risk as part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

MPs voted by 484 to 76 to extend it, 36 Conservative MPs rebelled, by opposing the legislation. 21 Labour MPs also voted against it.

Sky News

A government review into the possible use of coronavirus passports or status certificates to allow people to visit pubs and other venues is taking place under the plans to ease England’s lockdown.

The prime minister said there would be an update on the idea in April, and a review will report in June.

The leader of the Covid Recovery Group, Conservative Mark Harper, said the idea of vaccine certificates to enter pubs was “unconscionable” and raised “practical, moral and ethical issues”.

“We’ve asked young people to do a lot over the last year and I think the least we can do is to get the economy open, so that their futures are not damaged any further,” he said.

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