COVID-19: Court proceedings may be conducted by video link under Emergency Bill

More than 100 countries have now reported laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19, as the global total reaches 105,586, of which 3,656 in the last 24 hours. Just 46 of these new cases were from China, demonstrating the extent to which transmission there has slowed.

The World Health Organisation has meanwhile issued consolidated guidance to help countries slow and ultimately to stop COVID-19 transmission, as it urges those countries which don’t currently have cases of the virus to prepare for it.

In the UK, health secretary Matt Hancock yesterday proposed further measures to combat the spread of the virus, as the government's enhanced approach to pandemic preparation continues.

The measures, as plans continue in the meantime to accelerate ahead of an expected move from ‘contain’ to ‘delay’.

Amongst those measures, which are expected to be included in an upcoming COVID-19 Emergency Bill, the government is considering allowing certain civil proceedings in the magistrates’ courts to be conducted via telephone or video, as well as the expansion of audio and video live links in various criminal proceedings. The provisions will ensure individuals who may be forced to self-isolate are still able to appeal to a court, while ensuring courts can continue to operate even in the height of an epidemic so that justice is delivered.

As of 9am on 9th March, 24,960 people have been tested in the UK, of which 319 were confirmed as positive. Three patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have sadly died.

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