‘The government’s emergency powers Bill is set to become law after being backed by peers.
The Lords backed the bill which gives the government wide ranging powers aimed at “buying time” for the NHS to combat the coronavirus crisis.
The legislation – granting ministers, councils, police, health professionals and coroners wide-ranging powers that are due to last for up to two years – has already cleared the Commons in one sitting.
The changes include reducing the number of doctors required to sign off on sectioning those with mental health issues from two to one, while police would be given authority to force those infected with Covid-19 to self-isolate.
Health minister Lord Bethell said: “Fundamentally this Bill is about buying time. Time can help us. With each day that passes, the science is getting better.
“Each day brings us closer to faster, more accurate testing capabilities and ultimately a vaccine.”
He told peers: “Each day that we can slow the rate of transmission is a small victory that will lead us to the ultimate defeat of the virus.
‘”We need to buy time for the NHS, flattening the infection curve and raising the capacity line, moving the peak away from the most dangerous winter months.”‘