The Regulations are available here.
They enable a umber of public health measured to be taken, including screening, isolation and restrictions.
THE EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM
The explanatory memorandum gives a major indication of the purpose of the Regulations.
7. Policy background
What is being done and why?
7.1 The amendments to the 1984 Act made by the 2008 Act comprehensively modernised
the legal framework for health protection. Part 2A of the 1984 Act, as inserted by the
2008 Act, takes an “all hazards” approach to health protection, where the criterion for
action is based on the potential of an infection or contamination to present significant
harm to humans, rather than on specific infectious diseases.
7.2 The only current legal option to enforce a quarantine period is via a Part 2A order
under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. The relevant local authority is
able to file for a Part 2A order which is then made by a Justice of the Peace. The
Secretary of State currently has no powers to apply for a Part 2A order, to enforce
quarantine or to place appropriate restrictions on individuals outside of this process.
7.3 In summary, we believe there are two major reasons to introduce these new
Regulations. Firstly, that it is critical for the UK Government to take all reasonable
steps to limit onward transmission of the novel Coronavirus, where possible. Novel
coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was recently declared by World Health Organisation a
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). It is also essential that
the Government retains public trust in its public health protection measures. This level
of trust will be critical to ensuring that the public continues to engage and comply
with interventions designed to protect individuals and communities if transmission of
the virus within the UK increases in the coming weeks.
7.4 We note that there are other global precedents for these types of powers and actions.
The USA, Canada, and Australia have each recently announced that they will
quarantine hundreds of individuals for mandatory periods of 14 days (without giving
the option of leaving or self-isolating at home), pending confirmation that they are not
infectious. Each country appears to have broad powers to enable the quarantine of
individuals who are or may be infectious, and to require them to comply with health
requirements, on the advice of medical authorities.
7.5 These Regulations would apply not only in the case of any individuals seeking to
leave supported isolation, but in any future cases during the current novel Coronavirus
incident where an individual who may be infected or contaminated could present a
risk to public health, and where there remains a realistic prospect of preventing an
epidemic in the UK. In other words, if and when virus becomes established with
sustained widespread transmission in the UK there would no longer be reason to apply
these regulations. The regulations only come into force once SSHSC has made a
public declaration that there is a serious and imminent threat to public health and the
measures in the regulations would be effective in further transmission. Once this
declaration is revoked, the powers in the regulations would no longer be exercisable.