Repeatedly refusing to wear a face mask could lead to a fine of up to £3,200, Boris Johnson announced last night.
At present those who do not cover their faces in shops or on public transport can be ordered to pay a penalty of £100 – or £50 if they pay within a fortnight.
But the Prime Minister said those caught without a mask for a second time will now face a fine of £200, with the amount doubling on every repeat offence to a maximum of £3,200.
As part of stricter rules brought in to prevent a second wave of coronavirus, organisers of illegal raves will face fines of up to £10,000. The tough fines will apply to anyone organising unlawful gatherings of more than 30 people.
At the same time, however, the Prime Minister said bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos would be allowed to open and beauty salons, tattoo studios, spas and barbers can offer close contact services.
Wedding receptions for up to 30 people will resume and indoor performances with socially distanced audiences will recommence.
The Prime Minister said those caught without a mask for a second time will now face a fine of £200, with the amount doubling on every repeat offence to a maximum of £3,200
Mr Johnson said: ‘Most people in this country are following the rules and doing their bit to control the virus, but we must remain focused and we cannot be complacent.
‘That is why we are strengthening the enforcement powers available to use against those who repeatedly flout the rules.
‘At every stage I have said our plan to reopen society and the economy is conditional and that it relies on continued progress against the virus. Today, we are able to announce some further changes which will allow more people to return to work and the public to get back to more of the things they have missed.
‘However, as I have always said, we will not hesitate to put on the brakes if required, or to continue to implement local measures to help to control the spread of the virus.’ Masks were made compulsory on public transport on June 15 and in shop on June 24.
But it emerged at the weekend that just 33 fines have been issued since June 15. This was despite the fact that police had stopped almost 30,000 people to warn them for not covering their faces.
At present those who do not cover their faces in shops or on public transport can be ordered to pay a penalty of £100 – or £50 if they pay within a fortnight (pictured: Yorkshire, August 13)
At present those who do not cover their faces in shops or on public transport can be ordered to pay a penalty of £100 – or £50 if they pay within a fortnight (pictured: A commuter on The Underground)
Masks are not compulsory for children under 11, people with breathing difficulties, people with any disability that makes it difficult for them to wear or remove a face covering and those travelling with or assisting somebody who relies on lip reading.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘We introduced mandatory face coverings on public transport to protect people and stop coronavirus spreading. I’m grateful to all those who have complied, and of course many people have legitimate reasons not to wear face coverings – but for those who aren’t exempt, there is no excuse. That’s why we must get tougher on repeat offenders.
3.4m ‘have antibodies’
More than 3million people in England have had coronavirus – 12 times higher than the number of confirmed cases, according to major study.
A mass home testing programme, led by Imperial College London, found that just under 6 per cent of the country’s population – around 3.4million – had antibodies to Covid-19 by mid-July.
This is compared to the Government figure of just over 270,000, who have been officially tested for the virus during the pandemic.
Those living in London, working in care homes and healthcare, living in large households and those from minority ethnic groups were most likely to have contracted the virus.
More than 100,000 volunteers took part in what was the world’s largest home testing programme. It uses a drop of blood to check for antibodies.
‘This new system will look to ensure everybody who is not exempt wears a face covering on public transport, continuing the public’s excellent efforts in helping this country recover.’
Police forces across England and Wales have already stepped up patrols to prevent illegal gatherings in areas of concern – such as Leicester and Greater Manchester – where deployments have sometimes been larger than on New Year’s Eve.
Last weekend, West Midlands Police shut down 125 parties and raves and closed a pub as part of action to stop illegal gatherings and anti-social behaviour. Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘Coronavirus remains a real and present threat to all of us and the majority of the British public are doing the right thing. I will not stand by and see these sacrifices undermined by a small minority of senseless individuals.
‘These measures send a clear message – if you don’t cooperate with the police and if you put our health at risk, action will follow.’
n Wearing face coverings in public could help cut the number of Covid-19 deaths by 5 per cent, researchers have revealed.
Those who use even a simple cloth to shield their nose and mouth can help significantly reduce the number of deaths.
Scientists say if this was combined with handing out surgical masks to the elderly and those with symptoms, the effect could be doubled.
The study, by scientists from the Broad Institute in Massachusetts and the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, concluded the adoption of universal face coverings provided a ‘considerable reduction’ in total deaths. Surgical masks are thought to be three times more effective than homemade masks.
NHS waiting times hit a record high
Coronavirus has taken a ‘wrecking ball’ to NHS waiting times with record numbers facing delays for routine treatments, figures show.
The number of people waiting longer than 18 weeks for planned operations and treatments was more than 1.85million in June, the highest since records began in December 2007.
More than 50,000 have been waiting for more than a year, compared to 1,613 in February. Cancer referrals are also down by a fifth on last year.
Only 48 people were treated on time in England compared to more than a thousand a month last year, NHS England figures reveal. Hospitals have been urged to try to catch up on the backlog during the summer when virus cases are lower.
Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: ‘Covid has taken a wrecking ball to waiting time targets.
‘Each of these numbers represents another patient waiting in need, potentially in pain.’
This week Boris Johnson announced NHS trusts in England will get £300million to upgrade facilities ahead of the winter to help maintain essential services and reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection.
France air bridge axed from SUNDAY: Holiday chaos for 400,000 Brits as they are told they will have to quarantine for two weeks amid surge of Covid cases – with visitors to Holland, Malta and parts of the Caribbean also affected
- UK Government has placed quarantine on France set to come in at 4am Sunday
- A review of the UK’s quarantine rules expected to be completed later today
- France expected to be kept on the exemption list despite mounting Covid cases
- Netherlands and Malta are considered more at risk of being subject to the rules
France was added to the UK’s quarantine list today in a savage blow to tens of thousands of British holidaymakers.
After a week of speculation ministers acted on a worsening coronavirus situation across the Channel, ministers ordered travellers returning from the popular destination to isolate for 14 days.
The quarantine is set to come in at 4am on Sunday – and with an estimated British 500,000 holidaymakers in France, a weekend of chaos looms.
France recorded 2,669 new cases of coronavirus today, up from 2,524 on Wednesday. It is a record figure for the nation since it came out of lockdown.
The move came after Boris Johnson said the UK would be ‘ruthless’ when it came to travel quarantine even with its ‘closest and dearest friends’.
‘We have got to be absolutely ruthless about this, even with our closest and dearest friends and partners. I think everybody understands that,’ Mr Johnson told reporters as he visited Northern Ireland today.
‘We will be looking at the data a bit later on this afternoon – looking exactly where France and other countries are getting to.
‘We can’t be remotely complacent about our own situation. Everybody understands that in a pandemic you don’t allow our population to be reinfected or the disease to come back in.
‘That is why the quarantine measures are very important and we have to apply them in very strict way.’
The review of the rules today saw the Netherlands, Monaco and Malta added to the quarantine list – and Portugal remains on it, along with Spain.
The Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba in the Caribbean have also lost their places.
The Prime Minister spoke as he visited Northern Ireland this afternoon ahead of an expected decision on which nations will be placed on the restricted travel list
Pictured: A graph showing the countries from which travellers arriving in the UK are currently exempt from the 14-day coronavirus quarantine, and the number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in each country. Speculation is mounting that France could be removed from the list of exempt countries, but there a number of others that have higher or similar figures
Speculation has been mounting about quarantine exemptions being scrapped as infections rise across much of Europe.
Hundreds of thousands of Britons are either on holiday in France or planning to go there, but yesterday it recorded more than 2,500 cases – a record since lockdown was eased.
The country appears to be perilously close to the yardstick of 20 cases per 100,000 population in a seven-day period.
But ministers are believed to be prepared to hold off on restrictions when changes are announced today, with the situation kept under close observation.
The quarantine list already includes Spain and Portugal. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not believed to have signed off on the adjustments yet.
Travellers are expected to be given around 30 hours notice of any changes coming into force, so they can make new arrangements if required.
Hundreds of thousands of Britons are either on holiday in France or planning to go there, but yesterday it recorded more than 2,500 cases – a record since lockdown was eased. Pictured, Cergy-Pontoise, north west of Paris
The Netherlands (23.1 per 100,000), Gibraltar (35.6), Monaco (38.2), Malta (46.7), San Marino (53.0), the Faroe Islands (198.5), Turks and Caicos (278.9) and Aruba (547.9) all have higher rates of new cases per 100,000 than France.
Those on the list with a slightly lower rate than France are Denmark (15.3 per 100,000), Iceland (14.7), the Czech Republic (14.0), Switzerland (13.3) and Poland (12.7).
All the above have now overtaken Portugal’s rate of 12.4 new cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, but despite this, Portugal remains on the list of countries from which all arrivals to the UK, including those returning from holiday, must quarantine for two weeks.
Downing Street reminded potential holidaymakers this week that ‘there is no risk free way of travelling overseas’ with Boris Johnson adding that he ‘would not hesitate’ to bring in travel restrictions for other countries.
The latest data on coronavirus cases on foreign soil is being analysed by the Government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre (JCB), which reports to Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Britons in France and other countries could be forced to make a dash home or risk being forced to quarantine on their return to the UK, should the government decide to remove more countries from the list.
Despite Portugal having a lower rate of new Covid-19 cases in the past seven days than a number of countries on the government’s exemption list, travellers entering the UK from Portugal are required to self-isolate on their arrival in the UK. Pictured: Beachgoers crowd Praia da Duquesa, in Cascais, Portugal. on August 09, 2020 as tourism slowly returns
UK Ministers are believed to be planning new measures for a swathe of countries amid a surge in European coronavirus cases
The Netherlands is among the countries exempt from the UK’s quarantine rules, but saw a rate of 23.1 new cases per 100,000 people in the last week- a higher rate than France
On Tuesday, the UK updated its travel ‘green list’, but did not take Portugal off the quarantine list, in a blow to the country’s economy that benefits greatly from tourism from the UK.
The UK Government was warned that cases in Portugal had not fallen fast enough to be able to safely add the country to the ‘green list’.
On Monday, France reported the first significant rise in the number of coronavirus patients in hospital since the lockdown was lifted, although it fell again on Tuesday before rising two days on the bounce.
France’s prime minister Jean Castex (pictured at a hospital in Montpellier this week) has told his citizens to ‘pull themselves together’ amid a fresh surge in coronavirus cases in France
Jean Castex said the public was becoming careless and raised the spectre of a second lockdown after a rise of more than 10,000 cases in the last week.
‘If we don’t act collectively, we expose ourselves to the heightened risk that the rebound in the epidemic becomes hard to control,’ Castex said on a visit to an intensive care ward in the South of France.
Some parts of France have tightened their mask rules despite the summer heatwave, with police now set to ramp up checks on face coverings – while neighbouring Belgium has today made masks compulsory in all public spaces including outdoors.