Liberty responds to plans to repeal parts of the Coronavirus Act

Posted on 14 Sep 2021

Liberty has welcomed the Government’s announcement that it will repeal the most dangerous parts of the Coronavirus Act in its plans to deal with Covid through the Winter.

As part of the plan, announced today, Tuesday 14 September, Ministers confirmed that many of the powers in the Coronavirus Act, which Liberty has been campaigning against since it passed in March 2020, would be repealed. These include powers to detain anyone “potentially infectious”, the power to ban gatherings including protests, and the relaxation of standards of special educational needs.

The human rights organisation also welcomed the decision to scrap plans to imminently impose vaccine passports for people attending nightclubs and major events, but urged the Government to take these proposals, as well as mandatory vaccinations, off the table permanently.

Sam Grant, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Liberty, said: “The repeal of the most dangerous parts of the Coronavirus Act is a huge step towards ensuring everyone’s rights are protected as we continue to deal with Covid. Over the past 18 months Liberty has repeatedly called for repeal of the Act  and we even created our own Bill to replace it. Our Protect Everyone Bill prioritised public health and support which is what the Government should have done. Instead it prioritised criminal punishment to tackle a public health crisis which is shameful.

“While the worst of the Government’s poor pandemic response has been quashed, the threat to our rights remains in the form of vaccine passports and mandatory vaccinations.

“As well as ensuring wide access to the vaccine, and education to support informed consent, we need clear public health advice and meaningful support so everyone can stay safe. By prioritising protection rather than punishment, we can build a roadmap out of the pandemic where everyone’s rights are respected.”

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