British lawmakers on Thursday, March 25, agreed to prolong coronavirus emergency measures for six months. The House of Commons voted in favour of extending power until September and they also approved the government’s road map for gradually easing the lockdown imposed due to coronavirus. However, Boris Johnson faces rebellion from some of his own party's lawmakers as they argued that the economic, democratic and human costs of the restrictions outweigh its benefits.
According to the reports by AP, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the Parliament had to take “extraordinary measures in response to this extraordinary threat”. Conservative lawmaker Mark Harper said that he had not “heard a single good answer” as to why the British government needed to extend the “draconian” powers for another six months. Speaking about the same, Hancock said that the infections were about to rise as things were opening up. However, the vaccination process helped with it. “We must restore the freedoms that we all cherish, but in a way that doesn’t put the (National Health Service) at risk”, he said.
In another significant development, the UK government from March 29 will impose a £5,000 fine on anyone from England travelling abroad without a valid reason. As per the UK government’s roadmap exiting the lockdown, the earliest date people in England could go for a foreign holiday is May 17. As per reports, anyone travelling abroad has to fill in a “Declaration to Travel” form, stating a valid reason for leaving the country. While speaking to the media outlet, UK Health Minister Matt Hancock said that the restrictions on travelling abroad were necessary in order to curb the spread of the disease, as well, as to restrict the entry of new variants of the virus. Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said that Labour supported measures to keep the UK’s borders secure and avoid the importation of new variants.
Recently, the UK even marked the first anniversary of the UK’s stay-at-home lockdown. The country declared a ‘National Day of Reflection’ and the PM hailed the “great spirit” shown by the nation through the most difficult year in the country’s history. “The last 12 months has taken a huge toll on us all, and I offer my sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones”, Johnson said in reference to the year that also saw him test positive for coronavirus for the virus.