British health secretary Matt Hancock has set out tough new measures to stop Covid-19 from entering England, including a 10-year sentence for incoming passengers who lie about where they have travelled when abroad.
Mr Hancock said, “Anyone who lies on the passenger locator form and tries to conceal that they’ve been in a country on the red list in the 10 days before arrival here, will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.”
Mr Hancock said people who entered the UK from 33 high-risk countries would have to pay up to £1,750 (€1,992) to quarantine in designated hotels.
People arriving in the UK already need a negative test at least 72 hours before they start their journey. Non-UK resident travellers from the “red list” countries have already been banned from entering the UK.
“We’re setting up a new system of hotel quarantine for UK and Irish residents who have been in red list countries in the last 10 days,” Mr Hancock said on Tuesday. Security would be present at the hotels. More details will be published on Thursday, added Mr Hancock. The government said it had contracted 16 hotels for an initial 4,600 rooms and it would secure more as they are needed.
He said the government had contracted 16 hotels with 4,600 rooms initially for those entering the country, a number that would be expanded soon.
“I make no apologies for introducing these measures,” he said.
Anyone arriving in the UK from Monday will need to get PCR tests on days two and days eight after isolating on arrival, in addition to the pre-flight tests already required.
Mr Hancock said they would have to book these tests online on a portal going live on Thursday. And if they test positive, they will have to quarantine for a further 10 days, he said.
He also announced a £1,000 (€1,139) fine for international arrivals who fail to take mandatory test and a £5,000 (€5,696) penalty rising to £10,000 (€11,392) for anyone failing to quarantine in a designated hotel. – Guardian and Reuters