London: Refusing to self-isolate when asked to has become illegal in England starting from Monday onwards and those who violate will be fined up to 10,000 pounds ($12,852).
From Monday, it will be a punishable offence not to comply with an official instruction to self-isolate, with fines starting at 1,000 pounds and rising to 10,000 pounds for repeat offenders or serious breaches, the BBC reported.
Police officers can check that people are complying with the rules in virus hotspots and among high-risk groups based on “local intelligence”, the government said.
The law applies to people who have tested positive for coronavirus, or who have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate because they have been in close contact with someone with the virus.
And if someone tests positive, it is illegal to knowingly give false information about their close contacts to NHS Test and Trace.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the NHS Test and Trace App, which launched on September 24, had been downloaded by 10 million people by Sunday.
While Home Secretary Priti Patel said the new fines were “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”, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government would “not hesitate” to introduce further measures if case numbers continued to rise.
NHS Providers Chief Executive Chris Hopson told the BBC on Monday that NHS Test and Trace “has now become as important in a sense as catching criminals, fighting fires and treating heart attacks”.
“It’s a key public service and if it doesn’t work, then we all suffer,” he said.
As of the last week of August, more than 19,000 fines had been issued in England and Wales for alleged breaches of coronavirus laws.
As of Monday, the country has reported a total of 437,517 confirmed cases, with 42,077 deaths.