The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/129)
Commencement: 10th February 2020
These Regulations only apply when the Secretary of State has declared that Coronavirus presents a serious and imminent threat to public health. In such an event, the measures outlined in these Regulations may be implemented to prevent further spread of the virus.
As of 10th February 2020, these Regulations do not create any duties for businesses. They apply only within England and only when the Secretary of State has declared that Coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health. In such an event, the measures outlined in the Regulations may be implemented to prevent further spread of the virus.
This summary refers to “Coronavirus” which means the virus known as “Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)” or “COVID-19”.
Serious and imminent threat declaration
The Secretary of State may declare a serious and imminent threat to public health from Coronavirus by publishing a notice to this effect on www.gov.uk and in the London Gazette. In the event of such a declaration, these Regulations allow the Secretary of State or a Registered Public Health Consultant to detain and isolate a person or group of people to prevent or limit the spread of Coronavirus.
When the Secretary of State has decided that there is no longer a serious and imminent threat to public health from the virus, the declaration will be revoked by publishing a notice on www.gov.uk and the London Gazette.
Reference to an infected area in this summary means an area on the list of infected areas published on www.gov.uk.
Detention by the Secretary of State or a Registered Public Health Consultant
The following people may be detained:
- Any person who is infected or contaminated with the Coronavirus, or who is suspected of being infected or contaminated with the Coronavirus.
- Any person or group of people arriving in England from an infected area outside of the UK, where it is believed that they left the infected area within 14 days immediately prior to arriving in England.
The individual person or group may be detained for up to 48 hours or until screening has been completed. Failure to comply with the detention is a criminal offence. Where the person being detained is a child (under 18 years of age) a responsible adult must ensure the child adheres to the detention.
A person arriving from an infected area, or a person known or suspected to be infected or contaminated with the Coronavirus will be subject to a screening process, which may include:
- an assessment of health;
- taking blood and nasal fluid samples; and
- scrutinising documentation.
If the person is under 18 years of age, a responsible adult must be present during the screening process. The responsible adult must also ensure the child provides information, blood and nasal samples, as required. The responsible adult must provide any requested documentation on behalf of the child.
Screening and assessment may take place at a designated location. Failing to comply with the screening process or to move to the designated location when directed, is a criminal offence.
Following assessment and screening, a person suspected of or known to be infected with Coronavirus, or a person arriving from an infected area, may be subject to special restrictions including contact with other people (isolation) and travel or other activities, for a period of up to 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus. Where the person is under 18 years of age, a responsible adult must ensure the child conforms to any restrictions imposed.
Restrictions may be altered or extended to continue to protect against infection or contamination of others.
The intention to impose, alter or extend any restriction must be communicated to the person (or the responsible adult where the person is a child) before being implemented.
The person or responsible adult is entitled to express an opinion on the suitability of any restriction to be imposed. This opinion must be considered, before a decision is made regarding the restriction. Failure to comply with any special restriction imposed is a criminal offence.
In addition to the offences mentioned above, the following offences also attract a fine of up to £1000 upon conviction:
- To abscond or attempt to abscond from detention or isolation.
- To provide false or misleading information intentionally or recklessly to anyone carrying out their function under these Regulations.
- To obstruct anyone carrying out their function under these Regulations, without reasonable excuse.
- For a responsible adult to fail to ensure that a child under the age of 18 years meets a restriction or requirement imposed by these Regulations, without reasonable excuse.
These Regulations come into effect on 10th February 2020 and will remain in force for a period of 2 years.
As of 10th February 2020, these Regulations do not create any duties for businesses.
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