Coronavirus: Disease Control

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 7th July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Strasburger Lord Strasburger Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to use powers conferred by the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (1) to operate the COVID-19 track and trace system, (2) to monitor or enforce lockdown restrictions, and (3) to monitor or enforce quarantine requirements on individuals.

Photo of Lord Bethell Lord Bethell The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Government are considering a range of options for managing the effect of the outbreak of COVID-19. A careful assessment of any implications for civil liberties (including the impact on human rights, equality and privacy) will be an important part of those considerations.

The national lockdown measures were eased on 4 July and whilst police have powers of enforcement, the policy relies on the four Es approach; engage, explain, encourage, enforce. Where necessary fixed penalty charge notices can be issued in certain circumstances.

The Investigatory Powers Act makes clear that the powers it provides for can only be used for specific statutory purposes, where it is necessary and proportionate to do so.

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