Arrivals to Britain from red list countries who lie about where they have been face ten years in jail
The UK Health Secretary on Tuesday revealed tough new measures and warned those coming back from Covid “red" countries like South Africa, Brazil or Dubai will be treated as criminals if they deceive border authorities.
He said: “People who flout these rules are putting us all at risk.
"We're also coming down hard on people who provide false information on the passenger locator form.
"Anyone who lies on the passenger locator form and tries to conceal that they've been in a country on the red list in the ten days before arrival here will face a prison sentence of up to ten years."
Mr Hancock also announced new rules requiring mandatory coronavirus tests paid for by everyone coming into the country.
In a Commons statement, Mr Hancock explained all passengers must take a PCR test that costs £100 each on days two and eight after they arrive.
Anyone who fails to take the first test will be fined £1,000, which will go up to £2,000 if failing to take the second test.
He said: “We’re strengthening testing. All passengers are already required to take a pre-departure test and cannot travel to this country if [the test] is positive.
“From Monday, all international arrivals, whether under home quarantine or hotel quarantine, will be required by law to take further PCR tests on day two and day eight of that quarantine.
“Passengers will have to book these tests through our online booking portal before they travel. Anyone planning to travel to the UK from Monday needs to book these tests and the online portal will go live on Thursday.
“If either of these post-arrival tests comes back positive, they’ll have to quarantine for a further ten days from the date of the test and will of course be offered any NHS treatment that’s necessary.
“Any positive test will automatically undergo genomic sequencing to confirm whether they have a variant of concern.”
This will require a compulsory hotel quarantine for ten days for anyone from red list countries, costing £1,750.
Passengers will be escorted to the hotel and cannot leave the room for the duration of the quarantine.
Under existing rules, people travelling to the UK are only required to provide a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of arriving.
Mr Hancock also revealed the government had signed deals with 16 hotels, securing 4,600 rooms for arrivals coming in from “red” nations.
Business chiefs have now called for extra help for the aviation sector following the tougher border measures.
The Confederation of British Industry’s chief UK policy director Matthew Fell said: “These new quarantine rules and testing requirements are a further reminder of just how challenging the situation is for the international travel sector right now.
“Further, immediate support is now essential to protect companies and jobs in the aviation sector and its supply chains in the difficult months ahead. The Government should also be clear on a road map to relaxing restrictions when health data permits.
“The UK’s world-class aviation sector, which underpins so much of our economic activity, must be supported so that it can play its full part in the country’s recovery.”
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