Scottish Coronavirus provisions extended

Deputy First Minister John Swinney

SIX MONTH extensions to some temporary provisions made under UK coronavirus legislation have been laid in Parliament yesterday.

The majority of provisions made under the UK Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force on 25 March 2020, and were due to expire this March following a two year period. Of these, five will be retained for a further six months until 24 September 2022. These include powers to make public health protection regulations, enable a wider range of health professionals to give vaccination, and an allowance for the remote registration of deaths and still-births.

These provisions are also proposed for longer term adoption in the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill introduced to Parliament last week. The remaining 12 devolved provisions in the UK Act will expire on 24 March, including allowances for the emergency registration of nurses and healthcare professionals, and the temporary registration of social workers.

A number of provisions in the Act have already been expired or suspended as they were considered no longer necessary to deal with the pandemic, including powers to issue directions relating to events, gatherings and premises, which Scottish Ministers expired in December 2021.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:
“While we have seen a welcome easing of restrictions, and hope that measures can continue to be eased, it is right that we remain vigilant to protect this hard-won progress. For that reason we believe some of these provisions remain necessary and proportionate to mitigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our public services, and any future health threats.”

“Although not required to by law, the Scottish Government has reported to Parliament on the use of these UK Act powers every two months throughout the pandemic to enable parliamentary scrutiny of their use, and will continue to do so. As set out in the Recovery and Reform Bill, it is our intention that the extended provisions be included in permanent legislation, subject to full parliamentary scrutiny of the Bill.”

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