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England Travel Ban: Four Travellers Fined £10,000 Each For Lying On Passenger Locator Form

England Travel Ban: Four Travellers Fined £10,000 Each For Lying On Passenger Locator Form

Four passengers who flew into Birmingham International Airport (BHX) on Monday have been fined £10,000 ($14,000 USD) each for failing to tell border officers on a mandatory passenger locator form that they had actually travelled from one of 33 ‘Red List’ countries.

West Midlands Police revealed that its officers had issued the fines on the first day that tough new border rules, including mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers from Red List countries, came into force.

Some of the countries subject to Red List restrictions include South Africa and Brazil, as well as Portugal, the United Arab Emirates and much of South America. Home Secretary Priti Patel has not ruled out adding more countries to the list as part of England’s efforts to keep out new variant’s of the COVID-19 virus.

If referred for prosecution through the courts, the four passengers could face a maximum sentence of 10-years imprisonment – three more years than the current maximum penalty for rape. Legal observers doubt whether any court could ever justify imposing a 10-year jail sentence for lying on a passenger locator form.

By midday on Monday, West Midlands Police said they had stopped the four travellers and slapped them with hefty fines for trying to avoid mandatory hotel quarantine at a cost of £1,750 per person for 10 days and 11 nights accomodation.

Also included in the quarantine ‘package’ is transport to and from the hotel, three meals per day and round the clock security. Travellers are only allowed to leave their rooms for short periods of exercise but only after getting permission first.

Unlike hotel quarantine programmes in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, passengers arriving in England from Red List countries are free to mingle on flights and in airports with passengers from other countries who are allowed to self-isolate at home.

Although passengers are expected to book and pay for their quarantine package before landing in England, it’s up to border guards and police to carefully check each passenger’s travel history to make sure they aren’t lying and trying to skip hotel quarantine.

The British government has nearly 5,000 hotel rooms immediately available to quarantine arrivals and a further 58,000 on standby.

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