UK to slap fines of up to $13,000 on Covid curb violators
Labour leader Keir Starmer, who is beginning the party’s annual conference virtually, said he would support another national lockdown.Updated: Sep 20, 2020, 19:07 IST
From September 28, those who violate Covid-19 restrictions will face fines of up to £10,000 (nearly $13,000) as the Boris Johnson government on Sunday warned the UK, facing a second wave, is at a ‘tipping point’ with cases rising exponentially.
New curbs are due to be imposed in London, while several towns and areas in north England and the Midlands have been placed in local lockdowns. The government has not ruled out another national lockdown, as experts seek swift action to contain the virus’ spread.
Health secretary Matt Hancock told TV channels on Sunday: “This country faces a tipping point. We face a choice. If everybody follows the rules – and we’ll be increasingly stringent on the people who are not following the rules – then we can avoid further national lockdowns”.
“But we of course have to be prepared to take action if that is what is necessary. I don’t rule it out; I don’t want to see it. The first line of defence is people’s behaviour. But then, after that, local lockdowns are necessary, and I’ve brought in local action right across different parts of the country where cases are rising,” he added.
Labour leader Keir Starmer, who is beginning the party’s annual conference virtually, said he would support another national lockdown or any other step the government takes to protect the people. As of Saturday evening, the day-rise of 4,422 new cases was recorded.
The government announced that from September 28, those on lower incomes who cannot work and have lost income will be paid £500, while those violating restrictions will face renewed enforcement with a range of new fines.
The fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000 (nearly $1,300) – bringing this in line with the penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel - but could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for the most egregious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.
This could include companies who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work.
Johnson said: “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. 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”.
“People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines. We need to do all we can to control the spread of this virus…And 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”.