The Government's Coronavirus Bill has now been introduced to Parliament to help the Government in its 4-stage strategy to tackle the virus.
The legislation will be time-limited – for 2 years – and not all of these measures will come into force immediately.
The bill enables action in 5 key areas:
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.
Containing and slowing the virus – by reducing unnecessary social contacts, for example through powers over events and gatherings, and strengthening the quarantine powers of police and immigration officers.
Supporting people – by allowing them to claim Statutory Sick Pay from day one, and by supporting the food industry to maintain supplies.
The measures set out in the Coronavirus Bill are temporary, proportionate to the threat we face, will only be used when strictly necessary and be in place for as long as required to respond to the situation.