British Health Secretary Matt Hancock Tuesday introduced tough new travel rules for British and Irish residents who travel from COVID-19 hot spots, and penalties for those who break them, including fines of more than $13,000 and 10-year jail sentences.
Hancock announced the new rules to Parliament, saying they build on rules that are already in place and noting that it is already illegal to travel abroad without permission.
He said the new rules require legal residents arriving in Britain from the most high-risk countries — those on the "red list" such as South Africa — quarantine in an assigned hotel room for 10 days from the time of arrival, and pay $2,400 for the “quarantine package,” covering the cost of accommodation, transport and testing.
Hancock said anyone failing to quarantine in hotels when required faces fines of nearly $7,000, rising to nearly $14,000. Arrivals who fail to declare they have been in any of the 33 red list countries face prison sentences of up to 10 years.
Hancock told Parliament the new program begins Monday, and 16 hotels have so far been contracted for the program. He said a new "enhanced testing" regime for all international travelers would also begin on Monday, with two tests required during the quarantine process.
"People who flout these rules are putting us all at risk," Hancock said. “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.”