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Coronavirus bill: Government outlines emergency powers

City AM logoCity AM 19/03/2020 Catherine Neilan
a group of people in a room © Provided by City AM

Doctors and police officers will be handed sweeping powers to detain people suspected of being infected with Covid-19, as part of measures being brought in with emergency legislation known as the coronavirus bill. 

According to the nearly 330-page bill published this afternoon, a single doctor may be able to “impose such requirements and restrictions on the person as the [public health] officer considers necessary and proportionate”, including restricting an individual’s movements and contact with others. 

Officers can also force people suspected of being infectious to a testing and assessment centre, and compel people to be tested for the virus.

“If the person absconds, by a constable taking the person into custody and returning them to that place or another place a public health officer may specify,” the coronavirus bill reads.

More to follow.

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