With new COVID Restrictions in place, The Secretary of State for Health, Matt
Hancock, announced that anyone returning from “red list” countries and who
then fail to disclose that they have returned from such a place, could receive a 10-
year prison sentence to anyone breaching the new COVID-19 rules regarding the
entry requirements into the United Kingdom.
The news has come with great ridicule, with Sir Keir Starmer criticising the
proposed maximum 10-year jail term for people lying about their recent travel
history as an “empty threat”. But critics, including the ex-Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption, have argued and
compared giving lower tariffs for sex offences, making the new law itself even
more ridiculous to so many.
From Monday 15th February, people arriving in England from “red list”
countries were told that they must isolate for 10 days in hotels, costing
approximately £1,750. With these new charges coming in, this is leading to many
not declaring that fact due to the high personal expenses, and now the
governments new law is being ridiculed to be stricter for doing far less compared
to the much more serious crimes gaining less of a sentence.
However, the news has come that Downing Street have said MPs will not be
asked to vote on the plans as the government have included the restrictions
under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.
Other crimes with the same maximum 10-year sentence in England and Wales
Possession of firearms with intent to cause fear of violence.
Indecent assault on a man or woman.
Engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child.
Meeting a child following sexual grooming.
Taking/having indecent photographs of children.
Making threats to kill.
Cruelty to children.
Administering poisons so as to endanger life.
Failing to quarantine in a designated hotel after arriving from a “red list” country
will carry a fine of between £5,000 and £10,000. Then to lead to a maximum 10 –
The 10-year jail term would be the maximum penalty for anyone found to have
falsified their travel history on the mandatory passenger locator form filled in by
travellers when they arrive back in the UK.
It is said that around 1,300 people a week were arriving back into the UK from the
33 red list countries – including Portugal, Brazil, and South Africa.
Conservative MP Alberto Costa, a ministerial aide to the Attorney General, has
said that knowingly flouting the regulations and putting other’s lives at risk was,
as he said, “a serious matter, and people need to understand that”.
Mr Costa also added: “It is about reinforcing in people’s minds the importance of
the Covid restrictions and abiding by them.”
International travel is currently banned, other than for a small number of
permitted reasons, including for essential work, medical appointments, and
education. Holidays are not allowed.