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UK Introduces Coronavirus Bill Giving Powers To Police To Detain, Conduct Screening and Impose Fines On Defying Suspects

Karan Tripathi
23 March 2020 4:54 AM GMT
UK Introduces Coronavirus Bill Giving Powers To Police To Detain, Conduct Screening and Impose Fines On Defying Suspects
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In light of the growing number of cases having COVID19, the UK Government has introduced a Bill in the British Parliament to address the alarming state of affairs.

Titled as 'Coronavirus Bill', the proposed legislation would be an all encompassing statute to address diverse issues such as emergency responses, police powers, access to testing and healthcare, and much more.

Recognizing the gravity of the pandemic and the need to take stringent measures to curb the same, the Bill has empowered police, immigration and public health officers to detain those who they suspect as being infected with COVID19.

These officers can also exact a fine of £1,000 from those who refuse to undergo requisite testing.

The Bill has asked for giving powers to public health officers to order a suspected person to undergo screening and testing within 14 days. Such persons can also be asked for providing their travel history and biological samples.

In addition to this, the police is empowered to order suspected or potentially infected persons to practice isolation, social distancing, restrict their travel and other activities with other people.

To keep pace with the rising number of cases, the Bill has called for emergency registration of health professionals such as nurses, medical practitioners, health care professionals, and pharmaceutical chemists.

The provision is also made for emergency volunteers who will be adequately compensated by the state for their loss of income.

The Bill has purported to relax and modify the compliance with various regulatory obligations such as indemnity for health service authority, tortious liability in certain cases involving medical professionals, NHS Continuing Healthcare Assessments, provisions relating to cremation and death registrations, etc.

State authorities are empowered to seek information from persons involved in the food supply chain, regarding possible disruption in good supplies and other related concerns. Such a person is duty bound to give the required information, failing which, he shall be penalised.

The Bill has also asked for suspension of requirement to hold inquest with jury under section 7(2)(c) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009

In order to implement social distancing, the Bill has allowed authorities to temporarily shut down schools and institutions of higher education. The authorities are also asked to increase access to vaccination facilities.

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