Those who violate self-isolation orders in the U.K. risk facing steep fines as the country sees a sharp surge in coronavirus infections.
Britain’s government said Sunday it is introducing fines up to 10,000 U.K. pounds, or $13,000, for people who refuse an order to self-isolate, which will go into effect on Sept. 28. Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC that the country is facing a “tipping point” amid a surge of infections.
“If everybody follows the rules then we can avoid further national lockdown,” Hancock said Sunday.
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The new rule obliges people to self-isolate if they test positive for the coronavirus or are traced as a close contact.
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 500 U.K. pounds ($633).
The latest figures show the reported 3,899 COVID-19 cases and 18 additional deaths on Sunday, according to Sky News.
An official estimate also shows that new infections and hospital admissions are doubling every seven to eight days in the U.K.
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The Conservative government is widely expected to impose further restrictions after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that Britain is seeing a second wave of infections, following the trend elsewhere in Europe.
“Obviously, we’re looking carefully at the spread of the pandemic as it evolves over the last few days, and there’s no question, as I’ve said for several weeks now, that we could expect, and we are now seeing, a second wave coming in,” he said Friday.
The U.K. has largely opened its economy, including schools — which resumed full, in-person learning at the beginning of the month.
Officials have been wary about rolling back those national re-openings, and Johnson expressed similar reservations — although he did not rule out a second national lockdown
London’s mayor has also said tighter restrictions could be needed soon in the British capital.
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During his interview with the BBC, Hancock denied overreacting given deaths and hospital admissions still remain low.
He added that the highest fines will be for “the most egregious breaches.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.