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The Act, introduced in March 2020, provides government with a range of powers to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. These, for example, have provided for the emergency registration of health and care professionals, the restriction of gatherings and school closures.

In response to concerns from some MPs about the broad powers afforded by the Act, the government introduced a requirement for some provisions of the Act to be periodically considered. Consequently, section 98 of the Act requires a Parliamentary review of the Act to take place every six months.

The review will only consider provisions which are both temporary and non-devolved. Examples include section 37, which enables the temporary closure of educational institutions and section 30 which suspends the requirement to hold an inquest with a jury where a death is suspected to result from Covid-19.

Section 97 of the Act also requires government to report on the status of the provisions of the Act every two months. In September 2021, the government published its ninth two-monthly report on the Act, where it set out an intention to expire some of the Act’s provisions.

This briefing sets out which provisions are subject to review and which provisions the government has indicated that it will seek to expire or suspend at this point. The renewal motion has not generated much comment from Parliament and other stakeholders.

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