Bill responds to Welsh Ministers' requests for new emergency powers to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19)
9 Mar 2020 01:32 PM
Health Minister Vaughan Gething has welcomed confirmation that the emergency powers sought by Wales to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19) will be introduced by the UK government.
News of the emergency powers comes as the Chief Medical Officer for Wales confirmed two new cases of COVID-19 in Wales, bringing the total number to 4.
The legislation will apply across the 4 UK nations and Wales has been fully involved in the development of the powers to ensure Wales is best-placed to respond to the spread of the virus.
The minister yesterday said:
These emergency powers will allow us to respond quickly and effectively to the COVID-19 outbreak by strengthening quarantine and mass gathering powers.
They will also allow us to employ volunteers and staff who've recently left the NHS, and will allow for the closure of schools and colleges if necessary to contain the spread of the virus.
Public safety is my absolute top priority and we are working around the clock to deal with the impact of COVID-19. These powers are an important, proportionate and coordinated response to help us do that.
Waiting for these powers does not mean we’ve been unable to take a range of action here already. This week, further measures across Wales will include issuing personal protection equipment to all GP surgeries.
We will also, this week, give details of plans for video consultations for people in Wales to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect frontline staff. This follows the introduction of the NHS Wales online symptom checker which is another important tool to support anyone concerned they may require testing.