28 Sep Coronavirus: Spot checks and tip-offs as police target lockdown rule breakers | UK News
Police are set to carry out spot checks on people self-isolating, as tough new fines come into force for those who break the rules.
From today, people across England will be legally required to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus or are contacted by the test and trace service.
If they do not they risk being hit with new fines starting at £1,000 and increasing up to £10,000 for repeat offenders or serious breaches.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) also said those who test positive for COVID-19 will be fined if they knowingly provide false information about close contacts to the test and trace service.
The DHSC said that police will check compliance in the highest incidence areas and in high-risk groups based on “local intelligence”.
High profile and “egregious” cases of non-compliance will be investigated and prosecuted while action will be taken on tip-offs from “third parties” about people who have tested positive but are not self-isolating, the DHSC added.
But people on low incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result will also be eligible for a new £500 test and trace support payment, it added.
Meanwhile, three more council areas in South Wales will go into local lockdown from 6pm, the Welsh government has announced.
Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan will be covered by the restrictions, which mean people will not be able to enter or leave the areas without a reasonable excuse.
They will not be able to meet indoors with anyone they do not live with, with extended households suspended.
Restrictions are already in place in Cardiff, Swansea, Llanelli, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport, and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
It comes after bans on households mixing came into force in Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds on Saturday, while stricter rules are already in force across large swathes of northwest England, West Yorkshire, the North East and the Midlands, as well as parts of west Scotland.
The new restrictions in three areas of Wales means an estimated 17.8 million people across the UK will be living under additional coronavirus measures by Monday evening, on top of those announced by Boris Johnson.
However, the prime minister faces a Commons defeat on Wednesday as Tory rebels continue to press the government to give MPs a chance to vote on coronavirus measures before they come into force.
Steve Baker, a former Brexit minister, who is among a group of around 40 Tory MPs bidding to alter legislation, urged Mr Johnson to share “the burden of decision on these measures” with MPs.
Mr Baker explained the effort is “all about MPs having a vote on the government’s policy before it comes into force and takes away people’s civil liberties”.
He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday show: “We’re in an environment where you really can’t know whether you’re a criminal or not with this much law coming into force and changing so fast.
“And that’s why I have said this is not a fit environment for a free people.”
The government said that, as of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 5,693 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. A further 17 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 as of Sunday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government will “not hesitate” to introduce further measures if case numbers continue to rise.
The government is also under pressure to guarantee young people are not confined to their halls of residence over the festive period because of COVID-19 outbreaks on campuses.
Thousands of students are currently self-isolating in their rooms following a surge in cases at institutions including Glasgow, Manchester Metropolitan and Edinburgh Napier.
Students in Scotland have been told they can return home from university accommodation on a long-term basis, as long as they follow rules on self-isolating.