Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984

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Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to the control of disease and to the establishment and functions of port health authorities, including enactments relating to burial and cremation and to the regulation of common lodging–houses and canal boats, with amendments to give effect to recommendations of the Law Commission.
Citation1984 c. 22
Territorial extent England and Wales
Royal assent26 June 1984
Commencement26 September 1984
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 is a piece of legislation for England and Wales which requires physicians to notify the 'proper officer' of the local authority of any person deemed to be suffering from a notifiable disease.[1][2] It also provides powers to isolate infected individuals to prevent the spread of such a disease. The act forms the basis of various legislation connected to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.[3]


The Act has been discussed as a means to detain individuals with tuberculosis to prevent the spread of the disease in the UK.[4][5][6][7] A 2000 article in the Journal of Public Health suggested sections of the Act may need to be amended to adhere to scrutiny from the European Convention on Human Rights, which the UK had just joined.[8]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

This Act was used as the legal basis for the regulations that put into force the stay at home order announced by Boris Johnson on 23 March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,[9] the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.[10] The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 Statutory Instrument 350/2020 later gave legal force to some of the 'lockdown' rules that had been announced.[10]

Misinformation about the Act circulated online during the COVID-19 pandemic.[11] This included claims that it had been amended to mandate COVID-19 vaccination; according to Full Fact, the Act does not provide any power to mandate any treatment or vaccination.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen Monaghan (2002). The State of Communicable Disease Law. London: The Nuffield Trust. ISBN 1-902089-68-5
  2. ^ "Notifiable diseases and causative organisms: how to report". GOV.UK. Retrieved 3 March 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ Griffith, Richard (12 March 2020). "Using public health law to contain the spread of COVID-19". British Journal of Nursing. 29 (5): 326–327. doi:10.12968/bjon.2020.29.5.326. ISSN 0966-0461. PMID 32167816. S2CID 212709259.
  4. ^ Pillaye, Jayshree; Clarke, Aileen (6 October 2003). "An evaluation of completeness of tuberculosis notification in the United Kingdom". BMC Public Health. 3 (1): 31. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-3-31. ISSN 1471-2458. PMC 240107. PMID 14527348.
  5. ^ Stewart, G. H.; Nelson, S. (23 March 1996). "Tuberculosis in the United Kingdom. Public health legislation should be changed". BMJ: British Medical Journal. 312 (7033): 775–776. doi:10.1136/bmj.312.7033.775c. ISSN 0959-8138. PMC 2350438. PMID 8605479.
  6. ^ Ormerod, P. (23 March 1996). "Tuberculosis in the United Kingdom. Standards for control may not be consistent across United Kingdom". BMJ: British Medical Journal. 312 (7033): 775. doi:10.1136/bmj.312.7033.775a. ISSN 0959-8138. PMC 2350449. PMID 8605477.
  7. ^ Da Lomba, Sylvie; Martin, Robyn (March 2004). "Public Health Powers in Relation to Infectious Tuberculosis in England and France: A Comparison of Approaches". Medical Law International. 6 (2): 117–147. doi:10.1177/096853320400600204. ISSN 0968-5332. PMID 16622966. S2CID 464716.
  8. ^ Coker, RJ (1 September 2000). "For debate. The law, human rights, and the detention of individuals with tuberculosis in England and Wales". Journal of Public Health. pp. 263–267. doi:10.1093/pubmed/22.3.263. PMID 11077895. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Prime Minister's statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 23 March 2020". Crown copyright OGLv3.0.
  10. ^ a b Holder, Kevin (26 March 2020). "Lockdown becomes Law". Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Fact Check-The British legal system does not have U.S.-style inalienable rights". Reuters. 13 August 2021. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  12. ^ "The Control of Diseases Act was not changed in April to say you can be forcibly vaccinated". Full Fact. 7 May 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2021.