Government wins Commons vote to delay lockdown easing by four weeks


Ps have voted in favour of keeping pandemic regulations in England until July 19.

They voted by 461 to 60 in favour of the extension.

The decision means pubs, clubs and theatres will still have to operate within capacity limits and nightclubs will remain closed.

And limits remain on how many people can meet up, with groups of up to 30 allowed to gather outdoors and up to six people or two households allowed indoors, although weddings will be exempt.

Boris Johnson said on Monday that delaying the planned lifting of restrictions would give the NHS “a few more crucial weeks” to get people vaccinated.

Labour said it supported the delay “with a heavy heart”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had urged MPs to back the extension of lockdown restrictions in England saying there has been a “significant change” that has given the virus “extra legs”.

Opening a debate in the Commons before the vote Hancock said pausing step 4 of the roadmap out of restrictions was a “difficult but essential decision”.

He said the Delta variant “spreads more easily” and there was “some evidence that the risk of hospitalisation is higher than for the Alpha variant” that was previously dominant in the UK.

He said figures showed the Delta variant now account for 96% of new cases and that the number of infections was rising, with hospitalisations also up 48% over the past week.

The government’s objective was “not to eradicate” the virus he said because “that is not possible” but rather to aim “to live with it” like we do with flu.



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