Police to start coronavirus spot checks: Officers will launch drive to enforce self-isolation rules this week by calling on people at HOME as a Tory revolt on latest Covid-19 restrictions grows
- People who are meant to be self-isolating could be visited by ‘Covid police’
- Anyone contacted by Test and Trace must quarantine for ten days from Monday
- Rule flouters or companies who force workers to come in face £10,000 fines
- Government yesterday confirmed a further 5,693 cases of coronavirus
Police will carry out spot checks and act on tip-offs to enforce strict new Covid-19 self-isolation rules from today.
People ordered to quarantine after they or a contact test positive for the virus face a knock on the door from officers to check they are not leaving their home.
It comes amid a growing revolt by Tory MPs over the way Boris Johnson’s Government is infringing liberties with restrictions to tackle the pandemic.
Signalling a tough crackdown, Home Secretary Priti Patel warned last night that ministers ‘will not allow those who break the rules to reverse the hard-won progress made by the law-abiding majority’.
From today, people across England are required by law to quarantine for ten days if they test positive for Covid-19 or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
Those who do not self-isolate – or employers who force staff to turn up to work – will be hit with fines of up to £10,000.
The police will be used to ‘check compliance’ with the rules and will investigate claims by informers that a person who should be in quarantine is flouting the requirement. In other developments:
- Ministers faced mounting pressure to review their ‘shambolic’ 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants after it caused huge crowds across city centres;
- A Mail poll found that a third of patients have avoided or delayed making a GP appointment in the past six months;
- Three more areas of South Wales were added to the local lockdown list yesterday, meaning two-thirds of the Welsh population are covered by restrictions;
- Labour called for a delay to the new university term in England after 1,700 students locked down in Manchester were unable to find out if they have Covid-19;
- Universities faced mounting pressure to refund tuition fees as thousands of students faced lockdowns, online-only courses, and the prospect of spending Christmas in their halls;
- More than 10 million Britons have downloaded the virus tracing app;
- Ministers promised they would provide four months’ worth of personal protective equipment to frontline health and care staff over the winter.
People ordered to quarantine after they or a contact test positive for the virus could face a knock on the door from officers to check they are not leaving their home. Pictured: Drinkers out in Nottingham around closing time
Signalling a tough crackdown, Home Secretary Priti Patel warned last night that ministers ‘will not allow those who break the rules to reverse the hard-won progress made by the law-abiding majority’. Pictured: Police attempt to disperse crowds gathered in London
The Prime Minister could suffer a hugely damaging defeat within days over his use of emergency legislation to push Covid-19 restrictions through the Commons without proper debate.
Conservative backbenchers are increasingly angry about the imposition of the ‘rule of six’ without debate in Parliament – and believe they have a good chance of winning a vote on Wednesday.
The Government said yesterday there had been a further 5,693 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus. While an increase on last Sunday’s total, this is nowhere near the doubling that chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance suggested last week was on the way.
Last night ministers unveiled the steps they will take to ensure people comply with self-isolation rules. The Government said it would ‘use police resources to check compliance’ in areas of the country with the highest rates of disease, and on people in high-risk groups.
The Prime Minister could suffer a hugely damaging defeat within days over his use of emergency legislation to push Covid-19 restrictions through the Commons without proper debate
Officers will ‘investigate and prosecute high-profile and egregious cases of non-compliance’, and ‘act on instances where third parties have identified others who have tested positive, but are not self-isolating’.
The rules state that if someone receives a positive test result, they are required by law to self-isolate for ten days after they first displayed symptoms, or ten days after the date of the test if they did not have symptoms.
Other members of their household must self-isolate for 14 days after the onset of symptoms, or after the date of the positive test.
If someone is instructed to self-isolate because they have had close contact with someone outside their household who has tested positive, they are legally required to self-isolate for the period instructed by NHS Test and Trace.
Users of the NHS contact tracing app are not covered by the new rules. They are anonymous and the Government cannot force them to self-isolate.
People on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result will be eligible for a new £500 ‘test and trace support payment’.
The legal obligation to self-isolate has exemptions, including for those who need to escape from illness or harm during their isolation.
Tories are urged to call time on ‘shambolic’ 10pm pub curfew as swarms of young people are seen dancing in the streets after kicking-out time
As city centres were swamped with revellers over the weekend, the Government came under mounting pressure to review its ‘shambolic’ 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants last night.
Astonishing footage emerged of swarms of young people singing and dancing in the streets after kicking-out time.
Photographs captured across the country showed drinkers leaving pubs and bars at 10pm – and simply heading to off-licences or supermarkets to purchase more alcohol.
The weekend was the first with the new rule in effect.
MPs, business leaders and publicans condemned the measure as a ‘big mistake’ and ‘another random and arbitrary move’.
Leading hospitality figures also hit out at the lack of consultation before the curfew came into force.
Speaking to the Mail, Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s, which operates 420 pubs, said: ‘You can see from the photographs the problem with dispersing customers at exactly the same time. This creates the wrong signal that the customer is better off socialising at home in people’s houses.
‘I think it was clearly a big mistake and the Government has to be sensible and review their decision.’
Tim Martin, founder of JD Wetherspoon, added: ‘The main problem with the 10pm curfew is that it’s another random and arbitrary move by the Government which lacks logic or scientific credibility.’
Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said: ‘It’s very clear across the UK that this ill-thought-out 10pm curfew has pushed everyone out of venues with socially distanced measures into the streets, into off-licences, supermarkets, overcrowded public transport and house parties. Every operator predicted this. Shambolic.’
Senior Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood added that the curfew ‘makes no sense’.
The criticism came as Professor Graham Medley, a member of the Sage group advising the Prime Minister on the virus, yesterday revealed scientists had ‘never discussed’ the curfew.
Professor John Edmunds, another member of the committee, added that the 10pm shut-off was ‘fairly trivial’ and ‘will have a very small impact on the epidemic’.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden yesterday insisted that there was ‘definitely science’ behind the measure as he was grilled by the BBC’s Andrew Marr, who suggested the measure was actually making matters worse.
Mr Dowden said: ‘We are reducing the closing times in order to stop people staying later and drinking. The point about all of this is that everyone has their part to play.’
But critics of the curfew said many would simply retire to one household or wander around city centres in groups in breach of Covid-19 guidelines.
Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said he was ‘not clear’ where the science behind the move had come from, adding that it led to people ‘bubbling out of pubs… hanging around towns and they’re potentially spreading the virus’.
A Government spokesman yesterday said all measures were kept under ‘constant review’, adding: ‘These measures strike a balance between saving lives by protecting our NHS and the most vulnerable and minimising the wider impact on the economy and schools.
‘The latest data suggests a considerable rise in the infection rate from within the hospitality sector in recent weeks.’