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Coronavirus

The Queen grants Royal Assent to the Coronavirus Emergency Act from her quarantine in Windsor


ROYAL BANK OF ENGLAND VIA FLICKR

The Queen has granted Royal Assent to the Coronavirus (Emergency) Act 2020 from Windsor Castle where she is in quarantine with the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Coronavirus Bill has been rushed through Parliament over the past week, and introduces “extraordinary measures” never seen in peace time in the UK.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the powers contained within the bill will only be used “when strictly necessary.”

Mr Hancock added that the emergency legislation will be reviewed by Parliament every six months to ensure MPs are “content with its continuation”.

Some of the measures outlined in the bill include provisions for retired NHS staff to return to the frontline to help deal with COVID-19.

Organisations may also now be compelled by the legislation to provide space or resources for the storage of dead bodies.

The bill also allows police to shut down premises such as pubs, as well as enabling them to enforce social distancing rules.

Powers are now also available to detain individuals who are judged to be a risk to containing the spread of coronavirus.

Royal Assent is required to make legislation in the United Kingdom law, and The Queen has the power to make and repeal laws.

Laws originate from the Houses of Parliament, either the Commons or the Lords, and experience a lengthy process of debate and review. Once the legislation has been passed by both houses of Parliament, it is then sent to The Queen in her daily red boxes of state papers.

There is often a slight delay at this stage as Her Majesty has a great deal of papers to work through. However, due to the coronavirus emergency, this particular bill has been fast tracked through all stages.

No bill can become law without The Queen’s approval.