London, March 26 : UK lawmakers have voted to extend the government’s emergency Covid-19 legislation for another six months.
The 2020 Coronavirus Act was passed by 484 votes to 76 with a majority of 408, paving the way for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Coronavirus Act was fast-tracked through Parliament in four days in March 2020 to bring in emergency powers to tackle the coronavirus crisis as the UK went into its first lockdown.
The legislation have to be renewed every six months and the latest extension will allow England’s lockdown roadmap to continue as planned.
On February 22, Johnson announced his long-anticipated “roadmap” exiting the lockdown, the third of its kind since the start of the pandemic in the country.
The March 8 reopening of schools was first part of the four-step plan which is expected to see all legal restrictions in England being removed by mid-June.
Other parts of Britain, including Wales and Northern Ireland, have also unveiled plans to ease the restrictions.
The vote on Thursday came after National Health Service (NHS) Chief Executive Simon Stevens recommended lowering the Covid emergency alert level due to reduced pressures on the health service.
Because of “much reduced acute pressures on the health service”, Stevens said he recommended “that we reduce the national alert level across the health service from level four to level three and that would take effect today”.
The reduced hospital admissions are due to “both declining infection rates across the community and the impact that’s now being felt from the vaccination programme”, said Stevens.
Level four of the the Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response Framework means an “incident that requires NHS England national command and control to support the NHS Response”.
Level three means “an incident that requires the response of a number of health organisations across geographical areas within a NHS England region”.
Nearly 29 million people in Britain have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.