London, Sep 20 (IANS) UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Sunday warned that Covid-19 restrictions in England will get tougher if rules were not followed, as the government has introduced 10,000 pound fines for people who fail to self-isolate.
Speaking to the BBC, Hancock said the country was facing a “tipping point and we have a choice”.
“If everybody follows the rules then we can avoid further national lockdown,” he added.
According to the government, people in England who refuse an order to self-isolate could be fined up to 10,000 pounds from September 28.
The new legal duty requires people to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus, or are traced as a close contact.
New measures also include a one-off 500 pounds support payment for those on lower incomes, and a penalty for employers who punish those told to self-isolate.
Fines will initially start at 1,000 pounds rising to 10,000 pounds for repeat offenders, and for “the most egregious breaches”.
Up until now, advice to self-isolate has been guidance only.
Last week, the Attorney General had said that over 19,000 fines have been issued in England and Wales for alleged breaches of coronavirus laws, but more than half have not been paid so far, the BBC reported.
On Saturday, the UK reported 4,422 new Covid-19 cases and 27 fatalities, which took the overall caseload and death toll to 392,844 and 41,848, respectively.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hinted a ban on households mixing, and reducing opening hours for pubs.
The move could take the form of a two-week mini lockdown in England, being referred to as a “circuit breaker”, in an aim to stem the recent surge in cases.