The government has outlined further details on proposed measures to be included in an upcoming COVID-19 Emergency Bill to support the health and social care system.
The latest information and advice was updated yesterday ahead of today’s Cobra emergency meeting, which is expected to consider moving to the second ‘delay’ phase of dealing with the outbreak.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We will do all we can to contain coronavirus, but as we know, COVID-19 is spreading across the world, so I want to ensure government is doing everything in its power to be ready to delay and mitigate this threat.
“Public safety is my top priority. Responding to coronavirus is a massive national effort and I’m working with colleagues across government to ensure we have a proportionate emergency bill, with the right measures to deal with the impacts of a widespread COVID-19 outbreak.”
The new measures include giving the 3 million health and social care volunteers additional employment safeguards so that they can leave their main jobs and temporarily support services in the event of a widespread outbreak.
The government said this will ensure the protection of volunteers’ jobs for up to four weeks while they support health and social care services.
The Guardian reported last week that up to 220,000 social care workers could call in sick or self-isolate in the event of a widespread outbreak.
Guidance for home care providers on how to deal with the outbreak was by issued by the Government last month.