News | Published March 23 2020

MPs to debate emergency coronavirus legislation today

Health secretary, Matt Hancock has called those who ignored advice to cope with the coronavirus pandemic “very selfish”.

He continued that the government would take "more action" to prevent the spread of the virus if the need arose.

His statement follows pictures from the weekend which revealed members of the public flouting advice across the country.

MPs will debate the introduction of emergency legislation later today, which would grant powers to tackle the pandemic.

These include shutting airports and forcing those who show virus symptoms to isolate.

The powers debated today will have a time limit of two years. It is expected that MPs will approve them.

Hancock voiced his concern on BBC Radio 4, saying that: "The NHS is doing everything it can and preparing for the spread of this virus.

"If people go within two metres of others who they don't live with then they're helping to spread the virus - and the consequences of that costs lives and it means that, for everyone, this will go on for longer."

When the health secretary was asked whether a firmer lockdown would be considered, he replied that: "Nothing is off the table. Of course, we are looking at what other European countries are doing."

According to Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor, the government is considering shutting retail stores deemed non-essential and implementing fines to those who disregard current coronavirus advice.

NHS England announced that they have identified the 1.5 million most at-risk individuals, who will stay at home for the next 12 weeks.

There ae now 5,683 confirmed cases in the UK, and the death toll has reached 281.

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
March 23 2020

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