THE UK Government is preparing to introduce a package of emergency laws which would give police the power to detain infected people and force schools to stay open or shut amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The laws, which aim to limit the spread of the virus, will be brought in after the number of confirmed cases in the UK rose by 200 in 24 hours, according to documents seen by The Times.

The powers, which would last for two years, would also allow councils lower standards in care homes in efforts to deal with staff shortages.

It is thought the legislation will be pushed through the Parliament in two weeks.

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Westminster will be given the power to halt "any vehicle, train, vessel or aircraft", and ministers will be allowed to close ports if there are "insufficient resources" to retain border security.

The measures would also allow cremations and burials to be sped up.

In a draft, the Government said: “In a reasonable worst-case scenario the death management industry will be rapidly overwhelmed ... There is a significant gap in body storage requirements to ensure we are prepared for the reasonable worst-case scenario.”

It's been confirmed that next week Boris Johnson will follow Scotland and Ireland and ban mass gatherings of more than 500 people. The move comes just a day after the prime Minister rejected those proposals.

He added this was to reduce pressure on the NHS and protect frontline workers.

The emergency laws will let police or immigration officers to detain people "for a limited period" if there are fears the person could be infected.

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Westminster will also be able to direct schools and nurseries to stay oepn if they close unnecessarily by teachers and staff, or alternatively to close them as the spread of the coronavirus peaks.

Elderly care could be reduced, with local authorities able to offer decreased levels of care as long as it does not lead to "serious neglect or harm". However the Government did not ban care home visitors despite other European countries doing so.

Westminster has now yet declared an effective "state of emergency" by enacting powers under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Doing so would allow ministers to push through legislation without approval from the Houses of Parliament.