Emergency legislation giving ministers greater powers to deal with the Covid-19 crisis will be rushed through the Commons on Monday.
The Coronavirus Bill – totalling 329 pages – enables action to increase the available health and social care workforce, ease the burden on frontline staff, slow the spread of the virus, manage the deceased with respect and support people through the crisis.
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs that all stages of the Bill would be considered by members on Monday, before it progresses to the Lords later in the week.
📝 Business of the House of Commons, week commencing Monday 23 March 2020, is as follows: pic.twitter.com/kY4mSXsq2R— Leader of the House of Commons (@CommonsLeader) March 19, 2020
The legislation, published on Thursday, set out powers for the police to detain people suspected of having coronavirus and send them for testing. People who fail to do so could be fined up to £1,000.
Other measures include powers for ministers to write to an operator of a port requiring their operation be suspended and for events or gatherings to be cancelled.
Food suppliers would also have to provide information to the appropriate authority if all or part of a food supply chain is being disrupted or is at risk of disruption.
The legislation, which is time-limited for two years, also modifies current laws to enable coroners to conduct an inquest without a jury for anyone whose death was caused by Covid-19.
Local authorities will also be given the power to decide what happens to dead bodies and their disposal to ensure excess deaths do not overwhelm the system, and funeral directors acting on behalf of a family will be able to register a person’s death.