Covid-19: Fines of up to £10,000 to be introduced for people failing to self-isolate

PM Boris Johnson

A new rule being introduced on September 28 will mean people will be fined if they do not self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus, or are contacted by Test and Trace.

New fines for those breaching self-isolation rules will start at £1,000 – bringing this in line with the penalty for breaking quarantine after international travel – but could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for the most egregious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.

This could include business owners who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come to work.

A payment of £500 will be made to those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost earnings as a result.

A number of steps will be taken to make sure that people are complying with the rules, these include:

  • NHS Test and Trace call handlers making regular contact with those self-isolating, with the ability to escalate any suspicion of non-compliance to Local Authorities and local police;
  • Using police resources to check compliance in highest incidence areas and in high-risk groups, based on local intelligence;
  • Investigating and prosecuting high-profile and egregious cases of non-compliance; and
  • Acting on instances where third parties have identified others who have tested positive, but are not self-isolating.

Just under 4 million people who are in receipt of benefits in England will be eligible for the Test and Trace £500 payment, which will be available to those who are required to self-isolate from 28 September.

Local Authorities will be working to set up these self-isolation support schemes by 12 October. Those who start to self-isolate from 28 September will receive backdated payments once the scheme is set up in their Local Authority.

The Prime Minister said:”The best way we can fight this virus is by everyone following the rules and self-isolating if they’re at risk of passing on coronavirus. And so nobody underestimates just how important this is, new regulations will mean you are legally obliged to do so if you have the virus or have been asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

“People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines. We need to do all we can to control the spread of this virus, to prevent the most vulnerable people from becoming infected, and to protect the NHS and save lives.”

The rule comes as cases have again started to rise in the UK, with 4,442 new positive cases reported across the UK yesterday (September 19).

The R rate – how widely an infected person can spread the virus – has also risen above the desired 1 or below mark to 1.1-1.4

The latest growth rate range for the UK is+2% to +7%per day

An R number between 1.1 and 1.4 means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 11 and 14 other people.

A growth rate between +2% and +7% means the number of new infections is growing by 2% to 7% every day.

The rule follows the introduction a ban on gatherings of more than six people in homes, parks, pubs and restaurants which came ito force on Monday, September 14.