Coronavirus: Screening

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 1 September 2020.

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Photo of Munira Wilson Munira Wilson Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Schedule 21 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, how many times the powers relating to the compulsory extraction of biological samples have been used; and whether that information is collected centrally.

Photo of Nadine Dorries Nadine Dorries Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Schedule 21 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 allows public health officials to require potentially infected persons to attend a screening and assessment centre and/or provide a sample for testing, if it is in the best interests of that person to do so, or to prevent the spread of the disease.

The use of these powers in England is continuously monitored centrally by Public Health England and the Department. Their use by the devolved administrations is a matter for them.

As of 31 July, these powers have been used fewer than five times, and only to require attendance at a test centre. For reasons of patient confidentiality, precise, identifiable details cannot be made public.

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