In a bid to strengthen border controls, the Government announced strict new penalties for anyone arriving in the UK who tries to conceal they had been in a ‘red list country’ within 10 days before their arrival. Ten-year prison terms are among a range of new punishments being brought in to improve compliance with border controls designed to block the arrival of new foreign Covid variants to the UK.

At the present time, it is estimated that 1,300 people are arriving into the UK from red list countries including Portugal, Brazil, and South Africa. There are 33 countries on the red list at the present time.

Jail terms could be given to anyone who lies on a passenger locator form to hide the fact they have been to a red list country within 10 days of arriving.

10 years in prison? Is this ever likely to be imposed or is it just a warning shot across the bow for anyone thinking of flying from a red list country into an airport not on the red list and then into the UK?

As many have seen in news articles, the so-called ‘influencers’ that flew out to Dubai and other places for ‘work purposes’ during the lockdown, only to be seen sipping champagne and posing for photographs. Not bad work if you can get it. Was bending the rules as such more likely than not to have led to this current situation of jail terms being threatened?

10 years in prison is the maximum jail term for threats to kill, non-fatal poisoning or indecent assault. Is lying on a form worse than the large number of violent firearms offences involving minors, for which the maximum is 7 years?

It is unlikely that any Judge is going to impose such a sentence and that is the consensus within the legal world, but is the very threat of it going to be enough to stop people from breaking the law?

The Covid regulations for some reason do not appear to have the desired effect on infection rates and deaths in the UK. From those who don’t believe in it’s existence at all, to those who just don’t like being told they can’t do something, and those who just bend the rules to suit their own needs.

As from Monday anyone arriving in England from the ‘red list’ countries will have to pay £1750 which will cover the cost of their 10-day quarantine hotel stay, transport to the hotel, and coronavirus tests, this is on top of having to provide a negative test result 72 hours before traveling.

Anyone in England who does not comply with the rules faces fines of up to £10,000.

Scotland has announced similar measures but has gone one step further by requiring arrivals from all Countries (not just red list) to quarantine in hotels upon arrival.

Should harsh sentences be left for those who commit terrible crimes rather than those who tick the wrong box? 

This blog was written by Lynn Mahon

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