politics

Lockdown rules confirmed as MPs approve Boris Johnson’s new measures


T

hird national lockdown rules have been approved by MPs amid rising Covid-19 cases. 

The restrictions, which include a stay-at-home order and the closure of schools to most students, were announced by the prime minister on Monday.

All of the country is now under strict virus rules , with Wales, Northern Ireland and most of Scotland also in lockdown.

MPs voted to approve regulations enabling the new national lockdown in England by 524 votes to 16, majority 508.

The vote came as the Government said a further 1,041 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday – the highest daily reported total since April 21.

But during the debate in Commons Mr Johnson warned MPs that it would take time to ease lockdown restrictions in England which could be in place until the end of March.

The Prime Minister, who came under pressure from senior Tories to commit to easing the restrictions as soon as possible, said there would be “substantial opportunities” for relaxation before March.

But he emphasised there would not be a “big bang” where all the curbs on freedoms were removed at once.

<p>Mr Johnson warned MPs during the commons debate that it would take time to ease lockdown restrictions.</p>
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Mr Johnson warned MPs during the commons debate that it would take time to ease lockdown restrictions.

/ AFP via Getty Images )

The Prime Minister said there was “no choice” but to issue the stay-at-home order and close schools given the spread of coronavirus, particularly the more infectious new variant.

As a result of the measures – which will see the majority of pupils kept out of classrooms until at least after the February half-term – GCSE, AS and A-level examinations will once again be cancelled this summer.

They will be replaced by school assessments as ministers and regulators seek to avoid the chaos caused last year by the use of an algorithm to determine grades.

Addressing MPs after the recall of the Commons from its Christmas break, Mr Johnson said there was now a race between the spread of the virus and the delivery of vaccines to the most vulnerable.



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