March 17, 2020 / 6:44 PM / 22 days ago

Britain sets out emergency laws to tackle coronavirus outbreak

A security guard wearing a face mask stands outside Windsor Castle as the number of coronavirus cases grow around the world, Britain, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Paul Childs

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s government set out emergency legislation on Tuesday to tackle a growing coronavirus outbreak, with measures including giving powers to police and immigration officers to detain people and put them in isolation to protect public health.

“The new measures we will be introducing in the Emergency Coronavirus Bill this week will only be used when it is absolutely necessary and must be timed to maximise their effectiveness,” health minister Matt Hancock said in a statement.

The legislation, which also includes measures to allow recently retired National Health Service staff and social workers to return to work, will be brought before parliament on Thursday.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper and Kylie MacLellan

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