People who lie about having travelled to the government’s so-called ‘red list’ of coronavirus hot spot countries will face up to ten years behind bars, putting the offence
on par with possession of a firearm with intent, making threats to kill, and poisoning.
Those found to have attempted to breach the mandatory hotel quarantine scheme will be subject to fines of up to GBP10,000 and anyone who fails to take a mandatory coronavirus test within 72 hours of their departure or upon their second day in quarantine faces a GBP1,000 penalty.A GBP2,000 fine will be issued for those who do not take a second coronavirus test on their eighth day in the country.
Speaking before the House of Commons, Health Secretary Matt Hancock
said: “Anyone who lies on a passenger locator form and tries to conceal that they’ve been in a country on our red list in the 10 days before arrival here will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.” Mr Hancock said that he makes “no apologies” about draconian measures, claiming that it is “mission-critical” that the UK blocks more coronavirus variants from entering the country.”People who flout these rules are putting us all at risk,” he said, adding: “Passenger carriers will have a duty in law to make sure that passengers have signed up for these new arrangements before they travel, and will be fined if they don’t, and we will be putting in place tough fines for people who don’t comply.”
Travellers will be required to stay in quarantine hotels for 10 days, which will cost GBP1,750 per person. Mr Hancock said that “people will need to remain in their rooms and will not be allowed to mix with other guests”.
“When passengers arrive, they’ll be escorted to their UK Government transport and taken to a designated hotel, which will be closed to guests who aren’t quarantining,” the Health Secretary explained.
“They must quarantine in their room for 10 days, or for longer if they test positive for Covid-19 during their stay,” he added.Brexit leader Nigel Farage blasted the plan,
saying: “This is out of control. Ten years in prison for a lie goes too far, we must resist this tyranny.”
The move was also questioned by travel industry leaders, fearful that the already struggling sector may further be damaged by the draconian measures.
The CEO of travel consultants The PC Agency, Paul Charles,
told the Dail Mail: “Mass traveller testing alone is to be welcomed as it enables Government to stay one step ahead of possible new variants, but adding several layers of complexity to travel will stall any economic recovery.”
“What is the exit route out of this? Travel cannot work on the short-term whim of Government,” he warned.