From today, it is officially illegal to ignore self-isolation instructions. Those who ignore instructions to self-isolate will be issues with fines up to £10,000.
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Quarantine is compulsory for anyone who has been told they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. Self-isolation is also mandatory for anyone who has tested positive for the virus.
The government conducted an official study which showed that only 18% of people who showed symptoms went into quarantine. This is the reason behind the legal implications now enforcing self-isolation under the given circumstances.
It is now a punishable offence if you fail to self-isolate after being officially instructed to do so. Fines start at £1,000 but can escalate to £10,000 for repeat offenders or those who are in serious breach of the instruction.
Enforcement is being handled through “local intelligence”, according to the government. The law is now also enforceable following the release of the NHS Track and Trace app. Official notifications from the NHS, either via the app or through other channels, mean that quarantine is mandatory.
Priti Patel, the UK Home Secretary, told the BBC the introduction of these 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".
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has also said that the government will "not hesitate" to implement stricter measures should the numbers continue to rise.
The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, told BBC Breakfast that NHS Test and Trace "has now become as important in a sense as catching criminals, fighting fires and treating heart attacks".
He further added, "it's a key public service and if it doesn't work, then we all suffer."
With the winter months drawing closer and a growing concern amongst frontline workers that the virus will spread further, the government have promised that the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline workers will be uninterrupted.
The Department of Health has said that PPE such as masks, visors and gowns have been stockpiled for four months and will be available to frontline workers from November.
Economically, there is growing concern that many people cannot afford to self-isolate, since they need to go to work for their pay. In these cases, the government has implemented a compensation scheme, whereby people earning lower incomes and cannot work during self-isolation can claim a payment of £500. The Department of Health has said that over 4 million people will be eligible for the payment.