U.K. to Fine as Much as $13,000 for Breaking Isolation Rules

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The U.K. will issue fines of as much as 10,000 pounds ($13,000) for people who break self-isolation rules, marking the latest bid to curb the recent jump in coronavirus cases across the country.

Penalties will start at 1,000 pounds for breaking the restrictions starting from Sept. 28, the prime minister’s office said in a statement. Charges will increase for repeat offenders and “the most egregious breaches,” such as business owners who threaten to lay off self-isolating staff if they don’t report to work, it said.

Covid-19 cases have been climbing across Europe in recent weeks, with governments weighing new limits on public life and increases in testing to stem the spread. The U.K. reported 4,422 more cases on Saturday, the most since May 8, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he’s considering whether to “go further” with national restrictions.

“The best way we can fight this virus is by everyone following the rules and self-isolating if they’re at risk of passing on coronavirus,” Johnson said Sunday in the statement. “And so nobody underestimates just how important this is, new regulations will mean you are legally obliged to do so if you have virus” or have been asked to isolate by the National Health Service.

To enforce the protocol, test-and-trace call handlers will regularly contact those in self-isolation and police can check for compliance in high-incidence areas or among high-risk groups, the prime minister’s office said. People with lower incomes who can’t work from home will be given payments of 500 pounds.

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