Published On: Wed, Mar 25th, 2020

Coronavirus emergency legislation passes as Boris given ‘dystopian’ powers to fight virus | UK | News

MPs and peers have rushed through legislation after just two days of debate in the upper chamber. The fast-tracked Coronavirus Bill was given an unopposed third reading by peers and has now gone for royal assent. This legislation grants Boris Johnson's Government, ministers, councils, police, health professionals and coroners wide-ranging powers that are due to last for up to two years. The bill had already cleared the House of Commons in one sitting.

New increased powers include reducing the number of doctors required to sign off on sectioning those with mental health issues from two to one.

Police will also be given authority to force those infected with coronavirus to self-isolate.

Health Minister Lord Bethell expressed his “profound thanks”to those involved with the Coronavirus Bill and ensuring its rapid path through Commons and Lords.

He also praised political parties who he said “worked in a collaborative and supportive way during this whole process”.

Lord Bethell added: “I would like to thank those who work in Parliament and House of Lords who are here today at considerable risk to themselves and have displayed amazing commitment to this remarkable organisation.”

Despite the legislation being passed, MPs have admitted to being uneasy at the extra powers the Government has been granted.

Fighting back tears as he spoke in the House of Commons yesterday, Conservative MP Steve Baker described the measures as those of a “dystopian society”.

He added: “It is implementing a command of society under the imperative of saving hundreds of thousands of lives and millions of jobs.”

The legislation has passed after the number of deaths of people testing positive from coronavirus has increased to 435. 

A further 150 cases have been cornfirmed over the past 24 hours, taking that total to 8,227. 

Earlier today, it was revealed a 21-year-old woman with no pre-existing medical conditions has died from coronavirus.

Chloe Middleton is believed to be the youngest UK victim of COVID-19 to have no underlying medical conditions.

The young woman from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, is understood to have passed away on March 21.

Her mother, Diane Middleton, posted a tribute to her daughter on social media.

Writing on Facebook Mrs Middleton, who lives in Buckinghamshire said: “To all the people out there that thinks it's just a virus please think again speaking from a personal experience this so called virus has taken the life of my 21-year-old daughter.”

Britain is entering its second day of lockdown after Mr Johnson enforced strict new measures on Monday.

This is a breaking story. More to follow.

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