The UK has warned travellers coming into the country against lying about their travel history as the country plans to impose a jail term of 10 years for violators of this policy.
UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said that from Monday, residents of UK and Ireland arriving in England from the places on the government’s “red list” will have to purchase a “quarantine package” that costs 1,750 pounds per person and covers accommodation, virus testing and other items.
Following this new policy, any individual trying to conceal their travel history would serve a jail period of 10 years, a decision that did not rest well with some MPs and former judges.
Hancock, while addressing lawmakers said, “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. People who flout these rules are putting us all at risk.”
UK Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, explained that these recent restrictions is in the interest of the country as the government intends to safeguard residents at all cost.
“What we’re dealing with now are the variants and with variants, we cannot risk it in these final stages where we’ve got the vaccine rolled out – that we might end up with a difficulty from variations, although we think so far that we’ll be able to take care of them through the vaccines.
“And, because of that, we think things like prison sentences for lying about being in one of those red list countries are appropriate,” Sky News quoted him saying.
He disclosed that the government has over 5,000 hotel rooms immediately available for people to quarantine in.
However, former UK Supreme Court judge, Lord Jonathan Sumption, queried Hancock’s announcement noting that the jail term is too harsh for the offence of lying.
The former judge wrote in an article for the Daily Telegraph, “Ten years is the maximum sentence for threats to kill, non-fatal poisoning or indecent assault. Does Mr. Hancock really think that non-disclosure of a visit to Portugal is worse than a large number of violent firearms offenses or sexual offenses involving minors, for which the maximum is seven years?”