Closed petition Repeal Coronavirus Act and end all Covid-19 restrictions
Repeal Emergency Coronavirus Act. No further National Lockdowns, abolish Tiered restrictions, restore civil liberties & freedoms and increase focus on education, guidance, advice and best practices.
The Country is in a very different place to March 2020, with significant:- 1) Scientific, Medical and Public knowledge, understanding and experience of the virus 2) Therapeutics 3) Treatment Protocols 4) Test Track & Trace 5) Mass Community Testing 6) Highly effective and "promising" Vaccines.
Public to take personal responsibility to manage their own risk and balance the risks proportionately with family, friends and social interactions as the public do as part of normal life.
This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months
This response was given on 21 January 2021
With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still being at large with the emergence of the new variants, the measures taken by the Government to tackle the virus remain as important as ever.
Read the response in full
The coronavirus pandemic, which began in December 2019, presents a significant, unprecedented challenge for the entire world. The entire UK has felt the effects of the pandemic and the steps the Government has taken aimed to reduce impact across the whole of society as far as possible.
The development of an effective response required several actions, some of which involved the use of new tools and powers that required novel legislation. The UK Government’s coronavirus action plan, published on 3 March, set out measures to respond to the pandemic that are reasonable, proportionate and based on the latest scientific evidence. Legislation was required to give public bodies the tools and powers they need to respond effectively to this emergency.
The Coronavirus Act provides powers we need to take swift and decisive action and is part of a package of public health measures designed to tackle the pandemic. The Act enabled action in 5 key areas:
1. increasing the available health and social care workforce
2. easing and reacting to the burden on frontline staff
3. containing and slowing the virus
4. managing the deceased with respect and dignity
5. supporting people
By enabling action in these areas, the Act has facilitated fast and effective responses when needed. The measures have helped balance public health interventions with the economic wider needs of society. The Act removes barriers to allow suitably experienced people (such as recently retired NHS staff and social workers) to re-join the workforce during the pandemic, and provides financial support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. We are confident after 8 months of reviewing that the measures have enabled important activity which has supported millions of people, and continues to be a necessary tool in the overall response to the pandemic.
The Act contains many arrangements to facilitate accountability and transparency. The provisions are subject to a six-monthly review and renewal vote in the House of Commons, the first of which was held on 30 September 2020 where Parliament voted that the Act should remain in place. The Act has a two-year life span to ensure the powers remain available for a reasonable length of time. However, the measures are kept under constant review, through a two-monthly report (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-act-two-monthly-reports) and annual debate, and many can be suspended if the scientific advice is that they are not needed, and revived again if it says that they are. There are further opportunities for parliamentary scrutiny, including general debates, oral and topical questions and oral statements.
The primary way to limit the rate of transmission is to reduce all unnecessary social contact. In the four-tier system we sought to strike a balance, allowing people to continue to socialise safely, where possible, while reducing the social contact that the virus thrives on. The more we avoid close social contact, the harder it is for the virus to spread and the easier it will be to lift measures. This is a necessary sacrifice to reduce transmission whilst the vaccine is rolled out. The tiering system helped keep growth down across much of the country over the past few weeks. However, the new variant with its much higher transmissibility has required a stronger response to halt its progress.
Local and national measures have affected people’s day-to-day activities, such as leaving their homes, going to work, operating a business and seeing friends and family. Complying with these measures is vital to prevent the incidence and spread of COVID-19, protect the NHS and save lives.
Regulations made under the Public Health Act (Control of Diseases) 1984 have been regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that they remain necessary and proportionate to prevent the incidence and spread of Coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. The government considers the economic impact of the regulations on businesses and individuals as well as the personal impact on everyone affected. Where restrictions are no longer necessary or proportionate, they have been removed.
Despite months of hard work to bring the virus under control since the pandemic began last year, the new variant of the virus means these powers and the option of tough restrictions remains important. New independent analysis suggests that this variant is significantly more transmissible than other strains, leading to an increase in the R number. In response to the rise in cases and the additional challenge of this new, more transmissible variant to the NHS and society, the Government has taken further action to bring the virus under control whilst the vaccine is being rolled out. A national lockdown with a strong stay at home message was introduced on 6 January and debated in parliament. These measures, whilst regrettable and difficult for many people, are the most effective way to manage transmission rates and protect the NHS.
Department of Health and Social Care
Other parliamentary business
MPs to debate coronavirus regulations
On Thursday 25 March MPs will debate coronavirus regulations, including whether to agree that temporary provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 should continue.
This debate will start at around midday, after an urgent question about abortion services in Northern Ireland, and MPs are likely to vote on the motions they are considering at around 5pm.
Watch here from around midday on Thursday 25 March: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/044ed56a-f390-4b0b-98ae-972c5adf5aa7
A transcript of the debate will be published shortly after the debate ends here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-03-25
What is a motion?
A motion is a proposal put forward for debate or decision in the House of Commons. A motion must be proposed (moved) before any debate or vote can take place in Parliament.
What decisions are MPs being asked to make?
You can read the motions the House of Commons is being asked to agree to on the Order Paper for Thursday 25 March, which sets out the day's business: https://commonsbusiness.parliament.uk/2021-03-25
The House of Commons needs to approve temporary provisions made under the Coronavirus Act 2020 every six months. If MPs reject the motion extending these provisions, the Government make sure the provisions expire within 21 days.
You can find out more about the Coronavirus Act 2020, including the requirement for 6-monthly reviews by the House of Commons, here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-act-analysis/coronavirus-act-analysis
You can find out more about the types of coronavirus restrictions and requirements imposed by the UK's lockdown laws here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8875/