New Covid fines of up to £10,000 come into force today

Two schools hit by Covid-19

New Covid fines of up to £10,000 come into force today

Much stricter enforcement of the coronavirus regulations starts in England today (Monday) – with fines of up to £10,000 for people who refuse to self-isolate when asked.

The changes come with the duty to self-isolate moving into law.

It becomes a legal obligation if someone is told to do so by test-and-trace staff.

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”.

It comes as a study commissioned by the government found just 18% of people who had symptoms went into isolation.

Also from today, people on low incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result of being told to self-isolate will also be eligible for a new £500 test and trace support payment.

Nearly four million people who receive benefits in England will be eligible for the money, and it will be backdated once the scheme is properly set up in their council area, the DHSC said.

The two-pronged approach, intended to create better compliance with self-isolation rules, was described by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, as “imperative” in helping keep down coronavirus infection rates.

The health department announced separately that it hoped NHS and care workers would have an “uninterrupted supply” of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, aprons and gowns, due to increased UK manufacturing and a stockpile of 32 billion items.

The government said that, as of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 5,693 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, taking the overall confirmed total to 434,969, and a further 17 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday, bringing the UK total to 41,988.

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