Just 10 fines issued to people breaching coronavirus travel quarantine rules

Just 10 fines have been issued to people who broke coronavirus travel quarantine rules after arriving in the UK from abroad.

Nine of the fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were handed out by Border Force officials at the border since the restrictions were introduced, the Home Office said.

It had previously been revealed police had fined only one person between 8 June, when the rules came in, and 27 July.

The Border Force can issue FPNs of between £100 and £1,000 to those who break government rules around the completion of passenger locator forms.

The form, which people arriving in the country are told to fill in online at least 48 hours before entering, allows arrivals from countries deemed high-risk – including Spain, France and the US – to tell authorities where they will be isolating for two weeks and provide contact details.

It is unclear how many people have had their passenger locator forms checked upon entering the UK, but many travellers are believed to have done so without being questioned by officials.

A government spokesperson, however, insisted the low number of fines was due to a high level of compliance among those arriving in the UK.

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“The quarantine system is informed by science, backed by the public and designed to keep us all safe,” they said.

“We are seeing a high level of compliance and we expect this to continue as everyone plays their part to help stop the spread of this disease.”

It is understood Border Force staff have been instructed to continue using the “four Es” in an effort to avoid fines – to engage, explain, encourage and finally enforce as a last resort.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), which collects details of the number of coronavirus quarantine fines issued by forces in England and Wales, was unable to provide the latest figure on fines. They are not releasing more data until 24 August.

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After it was revealed only one person had been fined by officers between 8 June and 27 July, Home Secretary Priti Patel also claimed this was due to there having been a high level of compliance with the measures.

But a report released earlier this month by the Commons Home Affairs Committee said it remained “unconvinced” by Home Office claims that an estimated 99.9% of the public subjected to quarantine restrictions were abiding by the rules.

It called for the findings to be “better evidenced” and routinely published.

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