Andrew Pierce brands Government quarantine policy "a joke"

7 August 2020, 19:57 | Updated: 7 August 2020, 20:02

Andrew Pierce challenges Tory MP over quarantine breach fines

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Andrew Pierce brands the Government's quarantine policy "a joke" after just one fine was issued by police.

Andrew challenged Lee Rowley the Conservative MP for North East Derbyshire and Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party over the number of fines issued for people who broke quarantine.

Travellers entering the UK from a variety of countries where the coronavirus levels are high have been told they will need to self-isolate for 14-days or face a fine.

Andrew pointed out to the Tory MP that there are fines between "£100 and £1,000 for people who break that policy."

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When he asked the MP "do you know how many people have been fined" the MP was quick to say he did not.

"I don't know that, and I'm not sure whether that information has been released yet."

Andrew was quick to point out the data had been released, and so far just one person had been fined, "doesn't that show the policy is a joke?" The LBC host asked.

"No, I don't think it does show the policy's a joke," Mr Rowley said.

He added that since March the Government had asked people to "do what's right for their communities, and for their local areas and their friends and their neighbours."

"We can't put a policeman on every single street corner," he said, adding it would not be possible to "put an enforcement officer in every single house."

He said the Government was relying on people to do the right thing, and "the vast majority of people are doing that."

Read more: Luxembourg becomes second country to be added to UK quarantine list

Data from the National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) shows police forces in England and Wales have issued just one fine for breaking coronavirus quarantine regulations.

The data from the NPCC does not include fines issued by UK Border Force, the Home Office body had issued three penalties by July 10.

The single ticket was issued by Lincolnshire Police.

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But, as we reported earlier, the Government has brought in a scheme run by Public Health England (PHE) as part of border security measures called the Isolation Assurance Service which randomly calls some of those required to isolate to check they are staying at home.

However, authorities will not visit addresses in person, and will instead monitor one in five arrivals with three daily phone calls at different times each day, PHE officials told reporters.

Staff will rely on clues such as background noise suggesting they are 'on public transport or at a social gathering' to assess the truthfulness of any responses, the Metro newspaper reported.

Police Federation chair predicts officers will not fine people

Read more: Quarantine could be cut to 10 days for Brits returning from Spain

Quarantine measures were announced on Thursday evening for travellers arriving into the UK from Belgium, Andorra and The Bahamas - with Brits advised against all but essential travel to the three countries.

It follows British holidaymakers having their summer holiday plans thrown out the window after Spain was put on the quarantine list almost a fortnight ago, followed by Luxembourg last week.

The restrictions - which mean those arriving will have to self-isolate for 14 days - came into force at midnight in Wales, with the same rules applying in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from 4am on Saturday.

The Times reported France could be next to face restrictions due to rising infections in the country.

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A PHE spokesperson told LBC: “PHE support the government’s border health measures, PHE has set up the Isolation Assurance Service that calls a random sample of eligible UK arrivals to ask them for assurance they are self-isolating as well as providing advice on COVID-19 symptoms and what to do if they experience them."

The spokesperson added that so far "the majority of those contacted have confirmed they are following the requirement to self-isolate for two weeks on their return to the UK.”

Currently, Public Health England randomly samples 1,000 eligible arrivals per day into England and Northern Ireland with limited details are securely passed to a contractor to make the calls.

Each person contacted is given advice to understand why they need to self-isolate, how to do so and what to do if they are experiencing symptoms.

The department said to date there has been a high level of compliance and the vast majority of people contacted have confirmed they will self-isolate for two weeks on arrival to the UK.