14 February 2020
The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 came in force on 10th February 2020, supplementing the existing health protection regime under Part 2A of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. The Regulations create additional powers intended to prevent further transmission of the 'Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCov)', along with eleven new criminal offences. The regulations are applicable to England only and cease to have effect at the end of the period of two years, beginning on the day on which the regulations came into force.
Regulation 3 outlines that the measures under the regulations take effect once the Secretary of State has made a declaration that the coronavirus constitutes a serious and imminent threat to public health (with such a declaration already having been made by the Secretary of State on the 10th February 2020).
Regulation 4 enables a person to be detained for screening purposes once it has been satisfied that:
the Secretary of State / registered public health consultant has reasonable grounds to believe that an individual is / may be infected / contaminated with Coronavirus AND
the Secretary of State / registered public health consultant considers there to be a risk an individual might infect / contaminate others.
Regulation 5 builds on the screening measures outlined in regulation 4, enabling additional requirements to be imposed on persons, when the proposed measures are proportionate to what is sought to be achieved through such imposition.
Regulation 6 outlines the matters to be included within a screening and include a person's travel information, the production of documents which may assist a health consultant or officer, the taking of samples, and / or any other information that may reduce or remove the risk of infection to others. This regulation also outlines how a child should be screened.
Regulation 7 permits additional restrictions to be imposed on a person's travel, activities or contact with specified persons
Regulation 8(2) requires persons to be kept in isolation where:
there are reasonable grounds to believe they are infected / contaminated with the virus AND
it is necessary and proportionate to detain them for the purposes of reducing the risk of infection or contamination to others.
Regulation 8(3) also permits a public health consultant to provisionally detain an individual, pending a decision from the Secretary of State.
Regulation 9 outlines additional provisions relating to detention or isolation, including how regularly reviews of detention / isolation need to be conducted.
Regulation 10 expands upon how the powers that apply to groups, clarifying that the powers under the Regulations are also directly applicable to groups of persons.
Regulation 11 extends the powers of a justice of the peace to make a Part 2A order to enforce actions relating to the protection of public health. Normally a Part 2A order would be made on the application of a local authority, however the regulations have the effect that a justice of the peace is now able to make such an order on the application of the Secretary of State or a registered public health consultant.
Regulation 12 outlines the circumstances that appeal may be brought by a person whom a restriction or requirement is imposed under the regulations. Similarly, if a restriction or requirement has been imposed on a child, then a responsible adult may appeal on their behalf.
Regulation 13 outlines the enforcement powers afforded to a 'constable' pursuant to the regulations. Where a requirement is imposed on a person that they should be detained or kept in isolation (pursuant to regulations 4, 5 and 8), it is open to a constable to:
take the person to a suitable place, specified by the Secretary of State or a public health officer, for the person's detention or isolation;
keep the person in detention or isolation.
Furthermore, regulation 13(2) outlines that where a person absconds from detention or isolation, a constable may take the person into custody and return them to the place of detention, isolation or another suitable place that has been specified by a public health officer. Constables are able to use reasonable force, if necessary, in exercise of a power under the regulation.
Regulation 14 deals with the process to be followed when an individual is initially detained at a hospital, with the initial period that it is possible to detain an individual being 24 hours, with the possibility to extend the detention for a further period not exceeding 24 hours, if necessary.
Regulation 15 outlines the offences created under the Regulations.
Offences under regulation 15(1)(a)
Under regulation 15(1)(a), a person commits an offence if they fail without reasonable excuse to comply with a restriction or requirement imposed under regulation 4(1), 5(1), 7(1), 9(4) or 9(5). The following offences have been created on PNLD:
H20919 - Fail to comply with requirement to move to suitable place during detention for screening / assessment
H20916 - Fail to comply with restriction / requirement for screening / assessment / other requirement
H20915 - Fail to comply with restriction / requirement to be detained for screening / assessment
H20918 - Fail to comply with screening requirements / other restrictions / reqs whilst in detention / isolation
H20917 - Fail to provide contact / health information or provide sample after release /assessment
Offence under regulation 15(1)(b)
Under regulation 15(1)(b), a person commits an offence if they abscond or attempt to abscond from detention under regulation 4, 5 or 8. The following offence has been created:
H20920 - Abscond / attempt to abscond from detention under regulation 4 or 5 or 8
Offence under regulation 15(2)
Under regulation 15(2), a person who provides false or misleading information intentionally or recklessly to any person carrying out a function under the Regulations, commits an offence:
H20921 - provide false / misleading information to person carrying out function under the regulations
Offence under regulation 15(3)
Contrary to regulation 15(3), a person who obstructs, without reasonable excuse, any person carrying out a function under the Regulations, commits an offence:
H20922 - Obstruct person carrying out function under the regulations without reasonable excuse
Offences under regulation 15(4)
Pursuant to regulation 15(4), a responsible adult who fails without reasonable excuse to comply with regulation 5(4), 6(3) or 7(7) will commit an offence:
H20923 - Responsible adult fail to ensure that child complies with restriction / requirement regulation 5(4)
H20924 - Responsible adult fail to ensure that they / child complies with regulation 6(3)
H20925 - Responsible adult fail to ensure that child complies with requirement regulation 7(7)
All the offences under the regulations are punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.