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19 Sep, 2020 23:22

UK to crack down on Covid-19 rule breakers, impose fines up to £10,000 for defying self-isolation orders

UK to crack down on Covid-19 rule breakers, impose fines up to £10,000 for defying self-isolation orders

The British government is making self-isolation a legal requirement in England for those who have tested positive for Covid-19 or who have been traced to an outbreak, and violators will be fined as much as £10,000 ($12,920).

The new mandate will come into effect on September 28 in England, and government officials are in talks to expand it to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, British media outlets reported. Fines will start at £1,000 ($1,292) and rise to £10,000 ($12,920) for repeat violators. Self-isolation orders will apply to people who test positive for Covid-19 and to those identified as being at risk through the National Health Service's (NHS) test-and-trace system.

Police will reportedly check on compliance in areas with high rates of infections. NHS workers will follow up with those under self-isolation orders and, when violations are suspected, may refer cases to the police. 

"People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

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Starting on October 12, the government will offer payments of £500 ($646) to low-income residents who must self-isolate and can't work from home. "I don't want to see a situation where people don't feel they are financially able to self-isolate," Johnson said.

The UK government imposed new Covid-19 restrictions earlier this week amid a "second wave" of infections, and Johnson said on Friday that he will consider adding tougher social-distancing rules.

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