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Covid-19: £10,000 fine regime comes into force in UK – world news

A new regime of fines up to £10,000 for those who do not self-isolate or breach quarantine rules came into force on Monday as the Boris Johnson government grappled with a spike in new coronavirus cases, with more areas under local lockdowns.

As of Sunday evening, 5,693 new cases were recorded, the same level of daily cases in the peak of April and May. The number of daily deaths has remained low at 17, compared to the peak of nearly 1,000 per day in April. Another national lockdown is one of the official options.

The government is facing a new front in at least 40 universities, where the new academic year has begun, but thousands of students have been placed in isolation due to the outbreak of new cases. There are demands that universities refund the high fees given the situation, which includes mainly online teaching in all universities and students not getting the ‘university experience’.

The new regime also includes a payment of £500 to those who test positive, self-isolate and cannot work from home. Fines for those breaking the rules start at £1,000 and increase up to £10,000 for repeat offenders.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Anyone can catch coronavirus and anyone can spread it. We all have a crucial part to play in keeping the number of new infections down and protecting our loved ones.

“As cases rise, it is imperative we take action, and we are introducing a legal duty to self-isolate when told to do so…These simple steps can make a huge difference to reduce the spread of the virus, but we will not hesitate to put in place further measures if cases continue to rise”.

Home secretary Priti Patel added: “These new measures are about saving lives. Everyone must take personal responsibility and self-isolate if they test positive or if told to do so…For those who fail to do so, the police will enforce the law”.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week announced more financial support to employees and those self-employed, but struggling sectors such as hospitality despaired over new rules that make it mandatory to close at 10pm. Wedding planners and tourism sectors have also been struggling.

In Wales, two-thirds of the population have been placed under local lockdown, including in two its biggest cities, Cardiff and Swansea. Several areas in north England and the Midlands are under similar local lockdowns, with London placed on the watchlist following rise in new cases.

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