UK lawmakers set to approve sweeping powers in emergency coronavirus legislation
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's lower house of parliament is expected on Monday to approve emergency legislation giving authorities sweeping powers to tackle the growing coronavirus outbreak, including detaining people and putting them in isolation to protect public health. The Coronavirus Bill, which the government hopes will pass all its stages in one day in the House of Commons on Monday, will still have to be approved by the upper house, the House of Lords, before it can become law.
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's lower house of parliament is expected on Monday to approve emergency legislation giving authorities sweeping powers to tackle the growing coronavirus outbreak, including detaining people and putting them in isolation to protect public health.
The Coronavirus Bill, which the government hopes will pass all its stages in one day in the House of Commons on Monday, will still have to be approved by the upper house, the House of Lords, before it can become law.
Britain has so far had more than 5,600 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 300 deaths.
"Of course there are measures that are significant departures from the way we normally do things, but they are strictly temporary and I think they are proportionate to the threat we face," health minister Matt Hancock told parliament at the start of a debate on the legislation.
"While I hope that some of these powers will never have to be used, we will not hesitate to act if that is what the situation requires."
The legislation also includes measures such as allowing recently retired National Health Service staff to return to work and will enable the government to restrict or prohibit events and gatherings in any place.
Lawmakers debating the legislation sat spaced out in the House of Commons chamber, in accordance with guidance on social distancing.
"As a result, attendance will be more limited than usual but that does not curtail the commitment of honourable members to fulfil their parliamentary duties," speaker Lindsay Hoyle said before the debate began.
He also said that if any formal votes took place from Monday onwards, changes would be made to avoid the usual process which can see hundreds of lawmakers crammed into a narrow room together as they are counted through over a period of around 15 minutes.
Hoyle said instead voting would be staggered, meaning the whole process could take as long as 40 minutes.
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.