James O'Brien's brilliant Covid quarantine observation

10 February 2021, 13:48

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

"If you lie about travelling during lockdown you could be sent to jail for ten years by politicians who queued up to defend Dominic Cummings..."

After Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced tough new rules for those who violate coronavirus quarantine restrictions LBC's James O'Brien examined the topic.

Yesterday the Health Secretary announced arriving travellers will be put in quarantine hotels will be charged £1,750 for their stay.

Passengers arriving into England face fines of up to £10,000 for failing to quarantine, and those who lie on their passenger locator forms face up to 10 years in jail.

Raising the issue of former Government adviser Dominic Cummings, who faced criticism after taking a trip during lockdown.

Mr Cummings claimed he drove 60 miles to a beauty spot during the height of lockdown to "test his eyesight" after recovering from suspected coronavirus.

Read more: Grant Shapps -'Red list' rule breakers must face tough penalties to save lives

This led to James pointing out certain hypocrisy within the Government.

"So Dominic Cummings either lied about travelling in lockdown, and then got a pay rise, if you lie about travelling during lockdown you could be sent to jail for ten years under a law introduced by precisely the same politicians who queued up to defend Dominic Cummings."

James said it was another one of those moments that left him wondering "why we bother."

Watch: James O'Brien's reaction to 10 year jail threat for travel rule breakers

UK nationals or residents returning to England from 33 "red list" countries will be required to spend 10 days in a Government-designated hotel.

Mr Hancock indicated the measures might be in place until the autumn if vaccine booster jabs are needed in response to coronavirus variants.

He told the Commons that 16 hotels have been contracted to provide 4,600 rooms for the quarantine programme, which begins on Monday.

Read more: Quarantine hotels: Tory MPs slam £10k fine and jail threat for hiding 'red list' visits

Anyone who attempts to conceal that they have been in a "red list" destination in the 10 days before arrival faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years, Mr Hancock said.

He also confirmed the new "enhanced testing" regime for all international travellers, with two tests required during the quarantine process from Monday.

Those who fail to take a test face a £1,000 fine, followed by a £2,000 penalty and an extension to their quarantine period, to 14 days, if they miss the second test.

Mr Hancock told the Commons: "People who flout these rules are putting us all at risk.

He added: "I make no apologies for the strength of these measures, because we're dealing with one of the strongest threats to our public health that we've faced as a nation."

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