British parliament approves emergency coronavirus legislation

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s upper house of parliament on Wednesday approved emergency legislation designed to help the government tackle the coronavirus outbreak, paving the way for the far-reaching bill to become law.

The laws will create temporary powers across different areas, from giving police and immigration officers the ability to detain people to protect public health, to allowing people to leave their jobs to volunteer in the health service.

Having been approved by parliament’s elected lower house earlier this week, the bill now only requires the rubber stamp of ‘Royal Assent’ before it officially becomes law. This is expected by Thursday, and could come earlier.

Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison