Break quarantine, pay money — a lot of money.
That’s what the United Kingdom’s government wants. Top officials have announced a plan to fine people up to 10,000 pounds ($13,000) if they refuse an order to self-isolate, Stars and Stripes reports.
The new rule orders all residents to undergo quarantine if they test positive for COVID-19 — or even if they are traced to have had contact with someone who tests positive. The rule takes effect Sept. 28.
“The government will help those on lower incomes who face a loss of earnings as a result of self-isolating with a one-time support payment of $633,” Stars reports.
The new move comes as COVID-19 cases are rising in the U.K., hitting 4,422 one day last week, the highest since early May.
Health minister Matt Hancock on Sunday said Britain is at a tipping point on COVID-19 and warned that a second national lockdown could be imposed. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is calling the new spike in cases a “second wave,” and officials across Britain have enacted stricter lockdown measures.
“The nation faces a tipping point and we have a choice,” Hancock told Sky News. “The choice is either that everybody follows the rules … or we will have to take more measures.”
Said Johnson: “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. And while most people are doing their absolute level best to comply with the rules, I don’t want to see a situation where people don’t feel they are financially able to self-isolate,” the prime minister said.
Rules on social gatherings are tightening across the country, and several cities and regions in Britain have had “local lockdowns: imposed, limiting “even more strictly when, where, and how many people can meet up socially,” Reuters reported.
Other nations have enacted strict rules after COVID-19 cases began to rise. Melbourne, Australia, underwent a near-total lockdown for six weeks, which ended Sept. 13. The rules:
- Must stay within 5km (3 mi) radius of home.
- Only one person from a household is allowed to shop per day.
- No more than one hour of exercise per day and groups limited to two.
- Recreational activity is banned.
- Curfew from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.
Some U.S. cities have also enacted steep fines for violating COVID-19 regulations.
West Hollywood, California, in July, began fining residents for not wearing masks. For a first offense, there’s a $250 fine plus $50 processing fee, the sheriff’s department said in a statement. The second offense brings a $1,000 fine, the third a $2,000 fine — and for a fourth offense, a whopping $5,000 fine.
The sheriff’s department said they simply had no other choice but to implement fines. “Our last option was to conduct enforcement by issuing an Administrative Citation, but the risk to community health is too great,” the statement said.
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