AGENCIES, London: The Boris Johnson administration is bracing for a second wave of Covid-19 infections in Great Britain and the government has announced a slew of measures to contain it. Wave two lockdown will see stricter measures and people will be encouraged to stay indoors with financial incentives or stronger policing.
Among ideas mooted by Prime Minister Johnson is to support weaker sections of the society with payments of £500 (Rs47,500) to stay indoors and steep £10,000 (Rs 9.5 lakh) fines for those breaking self-isolation rules. Around four million people on low incomes who cannot work from home if self-isolating will benefit from the programme.
The new guidelines and strictures were announced on Saturday that says from September 28, people will be legally obliged to self-isolate if they test positive or are told to by the National Health Service (NHS) tracing programme.
“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 in a statement.
“And so nobody underestimates just how important this is, new regulations will mean you are legally obliged to do so if you have the virus or have been asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.”
Currently people who have symptoms or test positive are asked to self-isolate for 10 days. Those who live with someone who either has symptoms or tests positive must self-isolate for 14 days.
The new fines will start at £1,000(Rs 95k) — in line with breaking quarantine after international travel — and rise to £10,000 ((Rs 9.5 lakh) for repeat offences and the worst breaches, including businesses that threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy, officials said.
“While most people are doing their absolute level best to comply with the rules, I don’t want to see a situation where people don’t feel they are financially able to self-isolate,” Johnson said.
Almost 42,000 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 have died in Britain, the worst death count from the pandemic in Europe.
After a summer lull, cases are rising rapidly again and Johnson warned on Friday of a second wave.
New rules limiting social gatherings to six people from different households came into effect this week, and local measures have been introduced across the country.
But Johnson has expressed his reluctance to introduce another nationwide lockdown and some of his Conservative lawmakers are increasingly vocal in condemning current restrictions.