A man and woman in Bolton have been issued with £1000 FPNs by police for failing to quarantine upon their arrival back into the UK after travelling abroad.
Bolton is one of the areas in the UK that has been hardest hit by the current rise in COVID-19 cases.
Bolton has an infection rate per 100,000 of the local population of 4,157, which is one of the highest rates of infection.
The man – aged in his 40s – from Horwich, had returned from a trip to Spain on Sunday 20 September.
He was instructed to quarantine for 14 days, as per The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) Regulations 2020.
However, it transpired that during this period, the male had gone to work at his business in Horwich rather than self-isolating. Officers from GMP’s Bolton division attended the males business premises on Tuesday 22 September and informed him of the £1000 fine as a result of his breach.
Officers also issued another £1000 Fixed Penalty Notice to a woman from Darwen who had returned to her job at a high school in Bolton, despite flying back from Amsterdam two days before.
The woman – aged in her 20s – was visited by officers on Tuesday 22 September and was issued with the £1000 fixed penalty notice.
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police confirmed that the force has so far handed out four £1000 FPNs to people failing to self-isolate on arrival from countries which are on the UK’s quarantine list.
A self-isolation period of 14 days is a requirement of anyone arriving back to the UK after international travel, except for certain countries.
Those that are required to self-isolate may be contacted by Public Health England (PHE) to check they are following the regulations.
If there is no response after several attempts of trying to make contact, the details of the individual will be referred to the police by Border Force.
Reports are also received from members of the public about people who are suspected of failing to quarantine.
Chief Inspector Nicola Williams, of GMP’s Bolton district, said:
“I hope these fines send out a clear message to those who wrongly believe they are exempt from this rule that we will enforce this wherever we find there to be breaches.
“This is an immensely challenging time for all of us – whether it’s the impact these restrictions are having on our personal lives, or on our working lives.
“However, it is absolutely vital that the town comes together and does what it can to curb what is a worrying rate of transmission in the area, and we have been working tirelessly at GMP and alongside the council to ensure that we too are doing all we can.
“This includes those who recklessly flout quarantining rules when coming back from abroad and who run the risk of infected others; especially when they are working or socialising with groups of people and putting them at risk.
“We are still working by the principles of engaging, explaining and encouraging before opting for the last resort of enforcing, but there is no tolerance for those who are blatantly ignoring the rules that the rest of us are doing our best to abide by on a daily basis.”
Most police forces around the country now have a reporting system in place that can be used by anyone who wishes to report breaches of COVID-related restriction.
Check on your forces website for more information.