The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/308)
Commencement: 18th March 2020
These Regulations only apply when the Welsh Ministers declare 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 18th March 2020, these Regulations do not create any duties for businesses. They apply only within Wales and only when the Welsh Ministers have declared Coronavirus as 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 Welsh Ministers may declare a serious and imminent threat to public health from Coronavirus by publishing a notice to this effect on https://gov.wales, in the London Gazette, and in at least one newspaper circulating in Wales. In the event of such a declaration, these Regulations allow Welsh Ministers 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 Welsh Ministers have decided that there is no longer a serious and imminent threat to public health from the virus, they should publish a notice to this effect on https://gov.wales, in the London Gazette, and in at least one newspaper circulating in Wales.
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 Welsh Ministers 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 and there is a risk that the person might infect or contaminate others.
- Any person or group of people arriving in Wales 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 Wales.
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:
- answering questions about health, travel history, and who they may have come into contact with;
- providing documents that assist with an assessment of health;
- taking blood and nasal fluid samples; and
- providing contact information.
If the person is under 18 years of age and is accompanied by a responsible adult, it is the responsibility of that responsible adult to ensure that the child provides information, plus blood and nasal samples, as required. The responsible adult must also 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 and who presents a risk of contaminating others, or a person arriving from an infected area, may be subject to further 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.
Appeal against restrictions
A person on whom a restriction has been imposed, or, if a restriction has been imposed on a child, a person with parental responsibility, may appeal to the magistrates’ court against the imposition of a condition or restriction.
Under these Regulations, police constables are granted the power to detain, direct or remove a person, in order to protect public safety.
Where a person is required to be detained or kept in isolation a police constable may use reasonable force, as necessary to:
- take the person to a suitable place for detention or isolation;
- take the person into custody and return them to the place of detention or isolation, if they have absconded;
- take the person to place specified by the public health officer, or
- keep the person in detention or isolation.
A police constable may direct a person to go immediately to a hospital or other suitable place, where they suspect that the person is infected with the Coronavirus; there is a risk that the person could infect others; and it is necessary to remove, direct or detain the person to ensure greater public safety.
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 18th March 2020 and will remain in force for a period of 2 years.
As of 18th March 2020, these Regulations do not create any duties for businesses.
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