UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has unveiled stricter punishments for individuals who flout Covid-19 border restrictions and quarantine rules, threatening £10,000 fines and up to 10 years in prison.
The new measures are part of what Hancock describes as a “no apologies”approach to rule breakers in order to protect the UK from importing new strains of Covid-19 that could increase the spread of the virus, spiking case numbers and fatalities. They will formally come into effect on the morning of February 15.
The message is: Everyone has a part to play in making our borders safe.
The system will see international arrivals get a £1,000 fine for failing to take a mandatory Covid test, a £2,000 fine and a 14-day quarantine period for refusing to take a second test, a £5,000-£10,000 fine if travellers fail to quarantine at a government-mandated hotel, and up to 10 years in prison if passengers lie on their locator form about being in a ‘red list’ country.
The UK government revealed these measures alongside a plan to strengthen testing, with individuals entering the UK required to take post-arrival tests on day two and day eight of their quarantine periods.
4,600 hotel rooms have been obtained by the government, with a plan to secure more, in order to ensure there is enough accommodation for international arrivals. Anyone quarantining after visiting one of the 33 ‘red list’ countries will have to pay £1,750 to cover the cost of their stay.
Parts of the UK are currently under a national lockdown, as the nation attempts to bring a third wave of Covid-19 under control. Since the start of the pandemic, Britain has recorded 3.9 million cases and 112,465 deaths from the disease.