New powers will be used by devolved governments as needed.

The government has this evening published its emergency coronavirus bill, giving it powers to respond to the outbreak.

Powers in the bill will be time-limited for 2 years. The bill will let the 4 UK governments switch on new powers when they are needed and switch them off again once they are no longer necessary, based on the advice of Chief Medical Officers of the 4 nations.

Some of the powers in the bill include: 

  • Care standards can be lowered
  • Elderly patients can be discharged early
  • Ports and airports can be ordered to close
  • Funerals can be sped up
  • Police can detain people with the virus
  • Schools can be ordered to stay open or close

The government has outlined the bill in detail here.