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Jail threat for Covid red list rule-breakers criticised

The 10-year jail sentence for Brits who lie about travelling to high-risk Covid countries has been criticised.

The 10-year jail sentence for Brits who lie about travelling to high-risk Covid countries has been criticised. As “extraordinarily high” as the backlash to the Government’s plan to tackle new Covid variants grows.

Covid rule-breaking penalties criticised

From February 15, UK residents coming back to England from any of the 33 “red list” countries will be required to pay £1,750 to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel assigned by the government. Anyone who is found out attempting to lie about their movements may receive a £10,000 fine or 10 years behind bars.

Lord Sumption, a former Supreme Court justice, is one of the many who have voiced their opposition to the penalties. The punishment is harsher than sentences for firearms and child sexual offenses.

However, only 5 of the 196 £10,000 lockdown fines issued in England have been paid. According to certain statistics from early January. 53 were being formally contested. 42 had been ignored, and 96 still had time left to pay.

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has defended the proposed penalties by saying that: the British public “would expect pretty strong action”.

During an interview on BBC Breakfast, he said: “It’s up to 10 years, it’s a tariff, it’s not necessarily how long somebody would go to prison for. I think it is serious if people put others in danger by deliberately misleading and saying that they were not in Brazil or South Africa, or in one of the countries on the red list, which as you say includes Portugal. But I think the British public would expect pretty strong action. Because we’re not talking now just about: “oh there’s a lot of coronavirus in that country and you might bring some more of it back when we already have plenty of it here”. What we’re talking about now are the mutations, the variants, and that is a different matter because we don’t want to be in a situation where we, later on, discover that there’s a problem with vaccines.”

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