Boris Johnson's government has given the police stronger powers to access people's contact details and check if they are self-isolating under tougher coronavirus rules

Boris Johnson's government has given the police stronger powers to access people's contact details and check if they are self-isolating under tougher coronavirus rules

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  • Police officers in the UK now have the power to check if people are self-isolating when told to do so.
  • Boris Johnson’s government has agreed to give police more robust powers to crack down on people who fail or refuse to self-isolate after catching the coronavirus or are close contacts of those with the virus.
  • Police will be given access to details of individuals on a “case-by-case basis.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The UK police will have the power to check on individuals who have been told to self-isolate as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government tries to crack down on people flouting coronavirus law.

The UK government’s Department of Health and Social Care has agreed to provide the National Police Chiefs Council with information on individuals who have been told to isolate on a “case-by-case basis,” Sky News reports.

People in the UK who test positive for the coronavirus are required by law to self-isolate for 10 days after first displaying symptoms, or for 10 days after getting their result if they are asymptomatic. Members of their household are required to self-isolate for two weeks.

Johnson’s government has given the police the power to check to see if individuals are self-isolating in a bid to deter people from ignoring instructions enshrined in law. They will have access to the names, addresses, and contact details of individuals who do not comply with the requirement to self-isolate.

A spokesperson for the department told Sky News: “It is a legal requirement for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts to self-isolate when formally notified to do so.

“The DHSC has agreed a memorandum of understanding with the NPCC to enable police forces to have access on a case-by-case basis to information that enables them to know if a specific individual has been notified to self-isolate.

“The memorandum of understanding ensures that information is shared with appropriate safeguards and in accordance with the law. No testing or health data is shared in this process.”

A spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs Council told Sky News that officers would “engage with individuals to establish their circumstances, using their discretion wherever it is reasonable to do so.”

With the UK descending into a second wave of the coronavirus, there are concerns that the contact tracing system developed by the UK government to contain the spread of the virus is not reaching enough people to be effective.

The National Health Service Test & Trace this week recorded its worst-ever performance in tracking people who had been in contact with someone with the virus, according to new data.

The system reached just 62.6% of people who had been in close contact with people who had tested positive for the virus in the week ending October 7.

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