United Kingdom

Police to start coronavirus self-isolation spot checks based on tip-offs

Police will be undertaking self-isolation spot checks in high-risk areas based on “local intelligence” as strict new rules are imposed from today.

New local lockdowns, further restrictions and tough new fines for failing to self-isolate are coming into force across parts of the UK.

People across England will be legally required to self-isolate for 10 days from this week 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) said.

Police officers on patrol at closing time in Soho, London, after pubs and restaurants were subject to a 10pm curfew

People who test positive for Covid-19 will also be fined if they knowingly provide false information about close contacts to the test and trace service.

The DHSC said police will afforded new powers to enforce help enforce the draconian measures.

Home Secretary Priti Patel warned on Sunday night that ministers “will not allow those who break the rules to reverse the hard-won progress made by the law-abiding majority”.

Police to start coronavirus self-isolation spot checks based on tip-offs
Home Secretary Priti Patel

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 department 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.

Under new rules in England wedding ceremonies will also be restricted to 15 people.

Police to start coronavirus self-isolation spot checks based on tip-offs
A woman in a face mask in Liverpool, as new restrictions are brought in for the Merseyside

Meanwhile, three more council areas in South Wales will go into local lockdown from 6pm on Monday, 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.

Police to start coronavirus self-isolation spot checks based on tip-offs
Bolton continues to record the highest rate in England and is subject to additional restrictions

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 north-west 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 Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Police to start coronavirus self-isolation spot checks based on tip-offs
Prime Minister Boris Johnson

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.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson 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.

The Government has also pledged an “uninterrupted” supply of personal protective equipment has been promised by the Government for health and social care workers in England as coronavirus cases rise.

The DHSC said four-month stockpiles of items like face masks, visors and gowns will be in place from November.

The DHSC said that six million people had downloaded the NHS Test and Trace App the first day it launched, and this had since risen to 10 million by midday on Sunday.

Ministers are also under growing pressure to review the “hard” 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants amid criticism that the new rules are leading to revellers filling streets en masse.

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