The British government will fine from this Monday (28) up to 10 thousand pounds (about R $ 70 thousand) who test positive for Covid-19 and not isolate yourself.
The fine also applies to those who do not comply with the quarantine even after being informed that they have been in contact with someone with a positive diagnosis of the disease.
The reason? A study commissioned by the government found that only 18% of people with Covid-19 symptoms were isolated.
Meanwhile, the government has promised an “uninterrupted supply” of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to healthcare professionals on the front lines during the winter.
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PPE stocks for four months, such as masks, visors and aprons, will be available starting in November, the Health Department said.
As of this Monday (28), it will be a crime punishable by not complying with the official instruction of self-isolation, with fines starting at 1,000 pounds (R $ 7 thousand), which can reach up to 10,000 pounds (R $ 70 thousand) for recurrence or serious infractions.
Police officers can check whether people are complying with the rules in places with a high incidence of the virus and among high-risk groups based on “local intelligence,” the government said.
The law applies to people who have tested positive for the coronavirus or who have been instructed by the NHS (the British public health system) to isolate themselves because they have been in close contact with someone with the virus.
And in the event of a positive diagnosis, it is illegal to intentionally provide false information about your contacts close to health authorities.
Low-income people who cannot work while in isolation may receive a payment of £ 500 (R $ 3,500).
Nearly 4 million people receiving social benefits in England will be eligible for the aid, and it will be retroactive once the scheme is properly established at the beneficiary’s place of residence, the Health Department said.
‘As important as catching criminals and fighting fires’
Interior Minister Priti Patel added that the new fines are “a clear sign that we will not allow those who break the rules to reverse the hard-won progress made by the law-abiding majority”.
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And Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government “would not hesitate” to introduce new measures if the number of cases continues to increase.
According to Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, the UK’s public health agency, told the BBC, the testing and tracking system “has now become as important in one sense as catching criminals, fighting fires and treating heart attacks”.
“It is a fundamental public service and, if it doesn’t work, we all suffer,” he said.
“We all have a role to play in making this service work – if you have symptoms, you need to get tested quickly; if the test is positive, you need to isolate yourself and share your close contacts with the authorities.”
He said that in the winter the country would need “probably four times more tests than we currently have” and said there was a need to build test facilities much closer to where people live and work.
Covid-19 cases triple in England compared to August
In the last week of August, more than 19,000 fines were issued in England and Wales for alleged violations of coronavirus laws, the attorney general said in a statement.
The UK government hopes that the new fines will be replicated in the other nations that make up the country – Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – which are empowered to define their own rules for the coronavirus.
Earlier this month, the Scottish health secretary said the matter would be under discussion.
Meanwhile, Wales is the last part of the UK to introduce new local containment rules, with new restrictions in Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan starting at 6pm (1400 GMT) on Monday.
As a result, almost two-thirds of the population of Wales will be confined – people will not be allowed to enter or leave their county, unless for a limited number of reasons, and will be prohibited from meeting other families indoors.
Under government self-isolation rules, a person cannot leave the house – not even to buy food or other essentials, or to exercise.
Anyone with symptoms or a positive diagnosis must isolate themselves for 10 days, while family members or people who have been contacted by Test and Trace must be quarantined for 14 days.
The British government decided to tighten its grip on offenders after a survey commissioned by the Department of Health showed that the number of people with symptoms following the rules of self-isolation was low.
Although people’s intention to isolate was high, around 70%, only 11% of people were quarantined after being asked by health authorities.
The most common reasons people gave for not isolating themselves were because they had to go to the supermarket or pharmacy or because their symptoms improved.
UK faces ‘second wave’ of coronavirus, said Prime Minister Boris Johnson – Photo: Reuters via BBC
Men and youth are also less likely to follow the rules, the research added.
Hancock also promised that health and social workers will receive enough PPE as the number of coronavirus cases in the UK increases again.
He said it was a “big challenge” to get enough supplies early in the pandemic – amid widespread shortages.
“That is why we have been working every day since then to ensure that we have an uninterrupted supply to meet the challenges of the coming months and to protect those who are protecting us,” he said.
The Department of Health reported that 70% of the expected demand for PPE would be met by UK manufacturers from December.