People in England who refuse to self-isolate could be fined up to £ 1
The new legal obligation obliges people to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus or are traced as close contact from September 28th.
The new measures also include a one-time benefit of £ 500 for those on lower incomes and a penalty for employers who punish those who are asked to self-isolate.
It is therefore that in some cases the Prime Minister is considering tightening restrictions after a surge.
Another 4,422 new Covid-19 cases and 27 deaths were reported on Saturday.
350 new cases were reported in Scotland, the highest daily increase since May, 212 new cases in Wales and 222 in Northern Ireland.
The fines start at £ 1,000 and rise to £ 10,000 for repeat offenders and “the most egregious offenses”. So far, the advice on self-isolation has only been a guide.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new rules for England, saying the best way to fight the virus is for everyone to obey the rules.
“Nobody underestimates the importance of this. New regulations mean you are legally required to do so if you have the virus or have been told to by the NHS Test and Trace. Those who ignore the rules will face significant fines.
“We must do everything we can to control the spread of this virus, prevent the most vulnerable people from becoming infected, and protect the NHS and save lives,” he said.
England and Wales have fined more than 19,000 fines for suspected violations of the coronavirus law, the Attorney General said earlier this week, but more than half have not yet been paid.
At a glance: what are the new rules?
- People in England told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate Fines of £ 1,000 – up to £ 10,000 for the worst offenders – if they don’t
- This includes those who test positive and those identified as close contacts of confirmed cases
- It also includes employers forcing employees to ignore an order to self-isolate
- NHS Test and Trace will do regular contact with the isolators to check compliance
- The measures apply from September 28th and will be Enforced by the police and local authorities
- People who are in receipt of benefits or have a low income and cannot work from home can receive a one-time payment of £ 500 if self-insulating
Those who receive the highest penalties are described as those who discourage other people from self-isolating, such as an employer who insists an employee come to work in violation of an order.
The penalties are the same as those for those who were not quarantined for 14 days after returning from a country not on the list of low risk countries.
In Bolton, a returning vacationer who didn’t self-isolate and instead went on a pub crawl is partially blamed for running the city.
Iron fist in a velvet glove
The Prime Minister is concerned that existing rules are too often violated – and frustrated that they are not always effectively enforced.
The government’s scientific advisors have suggested up to four in five people should self-isolate or break the rules.
Fines may be levied in England from September 28th.
But that iron fist is wrapped in a velvet glove.
Following pilot projects in some parts of Lancashire, a flat rate of £ 500 will be available to people with benefits who need to self-isolate – or who have low incomes and cannot work from home.
Regional political leaders like Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham have pushed for it.
Compliance isn’t the only problem, however.
Delays in providing test results can affect how quickly infected people’s contacts isolate themselves, even if they choose to or are paid to do the right thing.
Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds welcomed the “belated” announcement of additional financial support to help those in need of self-isolation.
However, she added that “it shouldn’t be months before the penny was finally dropped that low-income people needed more help”.
The UK government is hoping the new measures will be repeated in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – all with the power to set their own coronavirus rules.
Officials said NHS Test and Trace would be in regular contact with people told to self-isolate and would report any suspicions that people were failing to comply with the police and local authorities.
Police will also monitor compliance at Covid-19 hotspots and groups classified as “high risk”, as well as monitor reports from members of the public about people who test positive but do not self-isolate.
Law enforcement actions could follow in “high profile and egregious” cases of violations.
As with other coronavirus rules, there are special exemptions for those who need to flee disease or harm during their isolation and for those who need care.
Changes in support for those on benefits or on low incomes will initially affect up to four million people unable to work from home in England, the government said.
The one-time payment of £ 500 is on top of Statutory Sick Pay of £ 95.85 per week and a previously announced additional premium of £ 182 for those who are supposed to self-isolate in areas of highest risk intervention.
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