The Coronavirus Act (the Act) was passed as emergency legislation, because of the highly infectious coronavirus pandemic, called COVID-19. It has spread rapidly around the world with huge and unprecedented consequences for people’s health, social care, and economic security. It continues to have major implications for health and care services in the UK.
The Act was originally part of a concerted effort across the whole of the UK to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. It aimed to enable the right people from public bodies to take appropriate actions at the right times to manage the effects of the outbreak.
It also aimed to:
- increase the available health and social care workforce;
- ease the burden on frontline staff;
- contain and slowing the virus;
- manage the deceased with respect and dignity;
- support people.
It came into force on 25 March 2020 and will expire after two years, with the exception of some clauses not related to the care and support of adults. It is debated in the House of Commons every six months.
Each time it is debated, the clauses within it are assessed as to whether, or not, they are still required. As a result, the main clauses relevant for adult social care have now been withdrawn and those sections in this chapter have been removed. These include:
- emergency volunteering leave;
- mental health and mental capacity;
- NHS and local authority care and support, including the easement of duties under the Care Act;
- powers relating to potentially infections persons.
These clauses remain in place:
- emergency registration of nurses and other health and care professionals;
- temporary registration of social workers.
For further information visit Coronavirus Legislation (UK Government)