New UK legislation aims to give police the powers to detain people on the street and take them for testing if officers think they are infected and pose a risk to the public.
The new coronavirus bill will be brought to the House of Commons and will suggest five key measures to fight against the spread of the virus which has already killed 71 people.
one of those measures is a hard approach which enforces social distancing, cancelling mass gatherings and close schools and nurseries.
The bill says are the moment that they will ‘enable to police and immigration officers to detain a person, for a limited period, who is or may be, infectious and to take them to a suitable place to enable screening and assessment.
The bill is expected to be law next week after being fast-tracked through Parliament and the House of Lords.
The other measures within the bill are
- increasing the available health and social care workforce – for example, by removing barriers to allow recently retired NHS staff and social workers to return to work (and in Scotland, in addition to retired people, allowing those who are on a career break or are social worker students to become temporary social workers)
- easing the burden on frontline staff – by reducing the number of administrative tasks they have to perform, enabling local authorities to prioritise care for people with the most pressing needs, allowing key workers to perform more tasks remotely and with less paperwork, and taking the power to suspend individual port operations
- managing the deceased with respect and dignity – by enabling the death management system to deal with increased demand for its services
- supporting people – by allowing them to claim Statutory Sick Pay from day one, and by supporting the food industry to maintain supplies.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “The new measures we will be introducing in the Emergency Coronavirus Bill this week will only be used when it is absolutely necessary and must be timed to maximise their effectiveness, but crucially they give the government the powers it needs to protect lives.
“By planning for the worst and working for the best we will get through this, but this is a national effort and we must all work together – from businesses prioritising the welfare of their employees, to people thoroughly washing their hands.
“I also want to pay tribute to our brilliantly selfless NHS and social care staff who are working tirelessly to care for our friends and loved ones in this unprecedented period.”