United Kingdom to fine quarantine-breakers up to $13,000

Pedestrians some wearing protective face masks walk along Oxford Street amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Lond

Among the demonstrators are coronavirus conspiracy theorists who claim that COVID-19 was a hoax, advocating against people wearing masks, and accusing the government of concealing the truth.

However they are likely to alarm some Conservative MPs already concerned at the wide-ranging powers being taken by ministers to curb the disease with little or no debate in Parliament.

Ministers are thought to be looking at a temporary two-week "circuit break" in an attempt to break the chain of transmission.

Iceland ordered entertainment venues and pubs in the capital area to close for four days starting on Friday until tomorrow, while in Ireland, indoor restaurant dining and indoor events were banned in Dublin after a surge in cases in recent days.

The Conservative government is widely expected to impose further restrictions after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that Britain is seeing a second wave of infections, following the trend elsewhere in Europe. "The new rules will mean that if you are a virus or you have been asked to do so by NHS tests and traces, you are legally".

He added: "We need to do all we can to control the spread of this virus, to prevent the most vulnerable people from becoming infected, and to protect the NHS and save lives".

The new fines will start at £1,000 - in line with breaking quarantine after global travel - and rise to £10,000 for repeat offences and the worst breaches, including businesses that threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy, officials said.

The £1,000 starting fine is the same as that for people who fail to quarantine after arriving from one of the countries which is not on the UK's travel corridor list.

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.

CDC - again - changes COVID-19 guidelines. Now asymptomatic people need a test
The agency's previous position recommended testing all people who have had close contact with anyone diagnosed with Covid-19. According to the agency, people who have likely been exposed to an infected person do not necessarily need to get tested for.

Prosecutions could follow in "high-profile and egregious" cases of non-compliance.

Like other coronavirus rules, there are special exemptions for those who need to avoid illness or damage when they are isolated, and for those who need care.

It is also urging the government to reverse its stance on getting workers back to the office by encouraging the public to work from home, in order to reduce contact between people including on public transport.

For Labour, shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds welcomed the "belated" announcement of additional financial assistance.

The new measures include a one-off £ 500 support payment for low-income people and a penalty for employers punishing self-isolated people.

The new restrictions come after coronavirus cases, and deaths, across England continue to rise.

At least 13.5 million people, or nearly 20% of the United Kingdom population, are already facing local restrictions.

Prof Ferguson said the country was caught in a "perfect storm" following the easing of lockdown restrictions over the summer, and that swift action was needed to stop the virus spreading out of control.

"The number of people in hospital is doubling every eight days or so ... we will do what it takes to keep people safe", Hancock said. "We're now at about the same infection level as in late February in this country, and if we wait for another two to four weeks, we'll be back to where we were in mid-March, and that's going - or could - cause fatalities, "added Neil Ferguson".

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