People in England who refuse to self-isolate to stop the spread of coronavirus could face fines of up to £10,000 ($13,000, 11,000 euros) under tough new regulations announced Saturday, September 19, to tackle a surge in cases.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week that Britain was seeing a second wave of COVID-19, and introduced new restrictions for millions of people across northwest, northern and central England.
In a further measure announced late Saturday, he said that from September 28, people will be legally obliged to self-isolate if they test positive or are told to by the National Health Service (NHS) tracing program.
“The best way we can fight this virus is by everyone following the rules and self-isolating if they’re at risk of passing on coronavirus,” Johnson said in a statement.
“And so nobody underestimates just how important this is, new regulations will mean you are legally obliged to do so if you have the virus or have been asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.”
Currently, people who have symptoms or test positive are asked to self-isolate for 10 days. Those who live with someone who either has symptoms or tests positive must self-isolate for 14 days.
The new fines will start at £1,000 – in line with breaking quarantine after international travel – and rise to £10,000 for repeat offenses and the worst breaches, including businesses that threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy, officials said.
In an incentive to get people to comply, those on low incomes will be able to claim an extra lump sum of £500 if they are unable to work from home during their isolation.
“While most people are doing their absolute level best to comply with the rules, I don’t want to see a situation where people don’t feel they are financially able to self-isolate,” Johnson said.
Almost 42,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have died in Britain, the worst death toll from the pandemic in Europe. (READ: Europe imposes fresh curbs as global cases top 30 million)
After a summer lull, cases are rising rapidly again and Johnson warned on Friday, September 18, of a second wave.
“We are seeing it in France, in Spain, across Europe – it has been absolutely, I’m afraid, inevitable we were going to see it in this country,” he said.
New rules limiting social gatherings to 6 people from different households came into effect this week, and local measures have been introduced across the country.
But Johnson has expressed his reluctance to introduce another nationwide lockdown and some of his Conservative lawmakers are increasingly vocal in condemning current restrictions. (READ: Virus-hit UK economy continues to recover in July 2020)
In London on Saturday, anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police in Trafalgar Square. Police said 32 people were arrested. – Rappler.com
There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.