Visitors to England face up to 10 years in jail for hiding trips to high-risk countries.

Anyone resident in Britain or Ireland who arrives at an English port or airport within 10 days of visiting a coronavirus hotspot will have to pay £1,750 (€1,990) for a compulsory stay at a quarantine hotel for 10 days under new rules announced on Tuesday.

Travellers who try to conceal a visit to one of 33 “red list” countries deemed high risk for coronavirus when they complete a passenger locator form will face up to 10 years in prison.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said passengers will have to book and pay for the quarantine hotel before their departure to Britain and they will only be allowed to arrive at a small number of designated ports.

“When they arrive, they’ll be escorted to a designated hotel, which will be closed to guests who aren’t quarantining, for 10 days or for longer if they test positive for Covid-19 during their stay,” he told the House of Commons.

“People will need to remain in their rooms, and of course will not be allowed to mix with other guests. And there will be visible security in place to ensure compliance, alongside necessary support – so even as we protect public health, we can look after the people in our care.”

Travellers from countries other than those on the red list must show proof of a negative coronavirus test conducted within 72 hours before their departure and self-isolate for 10 days after arrival. From Monday, they will have to take two further PCR coronavirus tests, on the second and eighth days of their self-isolation.

“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, and we will be putting in place tough fines for people who don’t comply,” Mr Hancock said.

“This includes a £1,000 penalty for any international arrival who fails to take a mandatory test, a £2,000 penalty for 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.”

British coronavirus travel restrictions do not apply to arrivals from within the Common Travel Area so travellers from Ireland into Britain will not be affected by the new rules.

The 10-year maximum prison sentence for giving false information on a passenger locator form is similar to the tariff for indecent assault, possession of a firearm and threatening to kill.

Mr Hancock said the new rules would be replaced over time with a new, secure system for international travel but he suggested that such a regime will have to wait until the vaccination programme is completed.

“The first task is to vaccinate the population. If we get good news on the vaccination impact on hospitalisations and deaths from people who have new mutations, then we will be in a better place. If we do not get such good news, then we will need to use the updated vaccines to protect against the variants of concerns,” he said.

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Related news
What to watch for as Republicans gather for CPAC this weekend.

What to watch for as Republicans gather for CPAC this weekend.

Former President Donald Trump will give his first address since leaving office at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, this Sunday. CBS News political reporter Adam Brewster joined CBSN's Tanya Rivero to discuss what to watch for...

Salmond attacks those in power during inquiry

Salmond attacks those in power during inquiry

Alex Salmond has said he has "no doubt" Nicola Sturgeon broke the ministerial code, but did not call for her resignation. Scotland's former first minister was giving evidence to an inquiry into the SNP government's unlawful investigation of sexual...

Queen Elizabeth encourages people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Queen Elizabeth encourages people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth is encouraging people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus to help protect others. She took part in a Zoom conference with doctors and said the shot "didn't hurt at all." CBS News' Ian Lee reports from London. CBSN i...

Some aren't getting second dose of COVID vaccine on time.

Some aren't getting second dose of COVID vaccine on time.

A new report by CBS MoneyWatch found an increasing number of people are not getting their second COVID-19 vaccine shot when they're supposed to. CBSN's Tanya Rivera spoke with MoneyWatch senior report Stephen Gandel about what this means for the n...

Live: Biden Delivers Remarks at FEMA Covid Vaccination Facility - NBC News.

Live: Biden Delivers Remarks at FEMA Covid Vaccination Facility - NBC News.

Watch live coverage as President Biden delivers remarks at a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility at NRG Stadium during his visit to Texas.   » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News is a leading source of global news and informatio...

NASA names DC headquarters after Mary W. Jackson

NASA names DC headquarters after Mary W. Jackson

NASA held a ceremony on Friday to rename its headquarters in Washington, D.C., after Mary W. Jackson, the agency's first Black woman engineer.