Covid-19: 10-year jail term for travel lies defended

A maximum 10-year jail term for lying about recent travel history has been defended by the government.

From Monday 15th February, people arriving in England from “red list” countries must isolate for 10 days in hotels, costing £1,750.

It follows concerns that existing vaccines being rolled out in the UK may struggle to control new virus variants identified around the world.

Meanwhile, Mr Shapps said people should not be booking holidays either in the UK or abroad, and that it was too soon for sun-seekers to plan getaways.

“People shouldn’t be booking holidays right now – not domestically or internationally,” he told the Today programme.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs the public would need to “get used to the idea of vaccinating and then re-vaccinating in the autumn” due to new variants.

And, speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, he said the hotel quarantine plan was “measured” and “proportionate”.

Failing to quarantine in a designated hotel after arriving from a “red list” country will carry a fine of between £5,000 and £10,000.

The 10-year jail term would be the maximum penalty for anyone found to have falsified their travel history on the mandatory passenger locator form filled in by travellers when they arrive in the UK.

New border measures also require international arrivals to pay for additional tests during their quarantine period.

Asked about harsh penalties attached to the new measures, Mr Shapps told BBC Breakfast those who are fined as much as £10,000 would have to “go out of their way to lie and cheat” the new system.

Mr Shapps said the 10-year maximum jail term reflected the “serious” nature of the offence.

“I think the British public would expect pretty strong action” for those who seek to evade hotel quarantine, he said.

Around 1,300 people a week are arriving into the UK from the 33 red list countries – including Portugal, Brazil and South Africa – at the moment, Mr Shapps said.

Source: BBC news