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People in England who refuse to self-isolate to stop the spread of the coronavirus could face a fine of up to £ 10,000 ($ 13,000) under tough new regulations announced on Saturday, to combat an increase in cases.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week that the UK would see a second wave of COVID-19, imposing new restrictions on millions of people in the North West, North and Central England.
In another move announced late Saturday, he said that beginning September 28, people will be required by law to self-isolate if they test positive or are asked to do so by the National Health Service (NHS) traceability program .
"The best way to fight this virus is for everyone to follow the rules and isolate themselves if they are at risk of passing on the coronavirus," Johnson said in a statement.
"And so nobody underestimates the importance of this. New regulations mean you are legally required to do so if you have the virus or have been told to by NHS Test and Trace."
Currently, people with symptoms or a positive test are asked to self-isolate for 10 days. Those living with someone who either has symptoms or tests positive will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
The new fines start at £ 1,000 – in line with quarantine after international travel – and go up to £ 10,000 for repeat offenses and the worst violations, including companies threatening self-isolating workers with layoffs.
As an incentive to encourage people to comply, low-income individuals can claim an additional lump sum of £ 500 if they cannot work from home while in isolation.
"While most people do their best to obey the rules, I don't want to see a situation where people feel financially unable to self-isolate," said Johnson.
Nearly 42,000 people who tested positive for COVID-19 have died in the UK, the worst death toll from the pandemic in Europe.
After a summer break, cases are picking up again and Johnson warned of a second wave on Friday.
"We see it in France, in Spain and all over Europe – I'm afraid it was absolutely inevitable that we would see it in this country," he said.
New rules went into effect this week restricting social gatherings to six people from different households, and local measures have been introduced across the country.
But Johnson has expressed reluctance to introduce another statewide lockdown, and some of his conservative lawmakers are increasingly condemning the current restrictions.
In London, anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police in Trafalgar Square on Saturday. According to the police, 32 people were arrested.
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Fined $ 13,000 for violating virus rules in England (2020-09-20)
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