COVID-19: New rules and jail for non-compliance + RED LIST

Significant fines and even a 10-year sentence await individuals who fail to comply with new measures being written into English law this week.

Whilst cases of coronavirus have fallen 47% in the last 2 weeks, and the vaccination programme has already protected a staggering 12.2 million people (almost 1 in 4 adults in the UK) the recent emergence of new variants has forced a change in strategy for the island’s borders.

A new system of hotel quarantine will be in place for UK and Irish residents who have been in ‘red list’ countries in the previous 10 days. They will have to book through an online platform (which goes live Thursday this week) before travel, and pay for a ‘quarantine package’, costing £1,750 for an individual travelling alone, covering the hotel, transport and testing.

Passengers will escorted on arrival to their designated hotel, which will now be closed to guests who aren’t quarantining. They will stay longer than 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19 during their stay. They will be told to remain in their rooms, and of course will not be allowed to mix with other guests.

Further testing

Passengers are already required to take a pre-departure test, and cannot travel to the UK if it is positive, but from Monday, all international arrivals -- whether under home quarantine or hotel quarantine -- will be required by law to take further PCR tests on day 2 and day 8 of that quarantine; and these will have to be booked through the new online portal before travel.

Passenger carriers will have a duty in law to make sure that passengers have signed up for these new arrangements before they travel, and will be fined if they don’t.

Tough fines for people who don’t comply include a £1,000 penalty for any international arrival who fails to take a mandatory test; a £2,000 penalty to any international arrival who fails to take the second mandatory test, as well as automatically extending their quarantine period to 14 days; and a £5,000 fixed penalty notice, rising to £10,000, for arrivals who fail to quarantine in a designated hotel.

Those who lie on a passenger locator form, or attempt to conceal that they’ve been in a country on the red list in the 10 days before arrival, will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Announcing the new rules, health secretary Matt Hancock made no apologies for the strength of these fresh measures.

“I know that most people have been doing their bit, making huge sacrifices as part of the national effort. And these new enforcement powers will make sure their hard work and sacrifice isn’t undermined by a minority who don’t want to follow the rules.

“People who flout these rules are putting us all at risk.”

The health secretary said in his address to MPs today that the government had been taking advice from the government and authorities in Australia, where swift and sure action at the country's borders have made the country's response a success story in the global coronavirus pandemic.

The 'red list'

Travel corridors were suspended on 18th January 2021.

Countries from which travel to the UK is banned, the 'red list' countries:

Cape Verde
Democratic Republic of the Congo
French Guiana
Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)
South Africa
United Arab Emirates

In numbers

Cases of coronavirus have fallen 47% in the last 2 weeks, and they’re falling in all parts of the UK.

Hospitalisations and deaths are falling.

The country’s vaccination programme has now protected over 12.2 million people – almost 1 in 4 adults in the United Kingdom, including:
• 91.4% of people aged 80 and above
• 95.9% of those aged between 75 and 79
• 77.2% of those aged between 70 and 74, who were the most recent group to have been invited

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