International News

U.K. could close ports, cancel funerals as part of sweeping emergency laws

The British government has introduced sweeping new legislation to tackle the spiraling spread of the coronavirus.

The bill is 329 pages long and would give authorities power to close the ports and airports on short notice, and for police to detain and isolate people suspected of being infected.

It would also roll back regulation so recently retired doctors and trainees could help out a beleaguered health service. The measures warn funeral services may be canceled because “the death management industry may be rapidly overwhelmed.”

These laws would last for two years, and the government says its powers could be switched on and off as necessary. It is expected to be fast-tracked through Parliament next week, as the British death toll rose to 137 as of Thursday.

The country has 2,689 confirmed cases but the government says the true figure could be at least ten times that number.

Alexander Smith / NBC News

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