THE TORY government will introduce ‘Emergency Powers’ tomorrow, Tuesday, which are to be voted on in the House of Commons on Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday.
He added that ‘every single person in this country will be affected’.
He said that ‘within the coming weeks’ every Briton over the age of 70 will be instructed to stay at home for an extended period.
Police will have the powers to pick up and scrutinise the identities of elderly people who may be 70 or over.
Hancock declined to give details of when the instruction for over-70s to self-isolate would come in or for how long, but said that when it does come in it will last ‘a very long time’.
Hancock said the UK has not ruled out ordering the closure of restaurants, bars and other shops.
When asked if ministers were planning on shutting up shops other than pharmacies and supermarkets, Hancock replied: ‘We haven’t ruled that out.’
Hancock declared: ‘We’re going to set out the emergency powers on Tuesday and publish the bill on Thursday.
‘I was talking to Jon Ashworth (Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary) earlier about what will be in them. There will be a cross-party approach.
‘He made some suggestions. There will be a whole range of actions, all about preparing Britain and making sure that we’re ready should we need to be.’
Hancock was prepared to discuss his emergency measures with Labour, but refused to reveal any of them to the public.
Hancock also said that car manufacturers, weapons makers and army suppliers are to be called on to change their production lines to make ventilators for use in hospitals.
It is thought that any contracts that are signed will stipulate there will be no right to strike.
Hancock revealed that currently there are just 5,000 ventilators available at the moment, but that many times that number will be needed.
He also announced that the NHS is to stop non-urgent surgery.
It has been reported that mass gatherings could be banned from next weekend, while other measures, including school closures, are also under consideration.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded ‘urgent sight’ of the draft laws and for a meeting with PM Johnson to discuss them.
- Ryanair has become the latest airline to cancel flights to and from Spain after the country went into lockdown.
The airline said it has ‘been forced to severely reduce’ flights to and from the country, including the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, from yesterday until March 19.
It came after the Spanish government announced the number of cases had soared by over 1,500 in just 24 hours to 5,753 with 136 deaths.