‘Emergency legislation that would grant powers aimed at tackling the spread of the coronavirus pandemic will be debated by MPs later.
Under the proposals, airports could shut and police would be able to force people with virus symptoms to isolate.
The powers, which would be time-limited for two years, are expected to be approved by MPs.
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned new, stricter anti-virus measures could soon be introduced.
According to the latest figures, the UK’s death toll has reached 281 – including a person aged 18 with an underlying health condition – and there are 5,683 confirmed cases.
The government’s emergency legislation – set out last week – includes enabling recently retired NHS staff to return to work without any negative impact on their pensions, fast-tracking funeral arrangements, and allowing more court hearings to take place by phone or video.
Most controversially, the bill gives unprecedented powers to law enforcement agencies to detain people if they show symptoms of the virus and put them in appropriate isolation facilities if necessary.
The bill says this will help to “safeguard essential services” that could be at risk during the outbreak.
The debate comes after Mr Johnson warned on Sunday that the government would “very actively” consider tougher anti-virus measures over the next 24 hours.’