Breaking UK’s new travel rules could lead to 10 years in prison, says Hancock
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Breaking UK’s new travel rules could lead to 10 years in prison, says Hancock

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Travellers entering the United Kingdom who conceal that they have been in a country on the UK’s red-zone list risk a prison sentence of up to ten years, Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock announced on Tuesday.

Currently, a total of 33 countries are included on the red list, including most of South America, southern Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Portugal.

“Anyone who lies on the passenger locator form, and tries to conceal that they have been in a country on the red list in the ten days before arrival here, will face a prison sentence of up to ten years,” Hancock said.

“These measures will be put into law this week, and I have been working with the Home Secretary, the border force and the police, to make sure that more resources are being put into enforcing these measures,” he added.

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From 15 February, UK nationals entering the UK from one of the countries on the red list will have to spend ten days in quarantine in a hotel, which will cost £1,750 (almost €2,000).

Those who do not quarantine in one of the 16 government-approved hotels risk fines of up to £10,000.

Additionally, he announced a new “enhanced testing” regime for all international travellers, who will be required to take two tests during their quarantine, starting from Monday.

All passengers to the UK are already required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test, and cannot enter if it is positive, Hancock stressed.

“From Monday, all international arrivals – whether under home quarantine or hotel quarantine – will be required by law to take further PCR tests on day 2 and day 8 of that quarantine,” he said, adding that booking these tests will be possible through an online portal that will go live on Thursday.

International arrivals who fail to take a mandatory test will get a £1,000 penalty. “A £2,000 penalty [will be issued] to any international arrival who fails to take the second mandatory test, as well as automatically extending their quarantine period to 14 days,” Hancock said.

Additionally, a £5,000 fixed penalty notice – rising to £10,000 – will be issued for arrivals who fail to quarantine in their designated hotel.

“I make no apologies for the severity of these measures,” Hancock said. “We as a country are dealing with one of the greatest dangers to our public health in history.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times