Ministers are set to adopt an emergency “carrot and stick” plan to control the second wave of coronavirus sweeping the country.
With infections rising at rates last seen before the full lockdown in March, around four million people on low incomes and in receipt of benefits, who cannot work from home, will also be given special “stay home” payments of £500 to compensate for lost earnings.
From September 28, under the emergency package announced by the prime minister last night, people will be required by law to self-isolate if they test positive or are contacted by the test and trace system as having been in contact with an infected person.
Fines will start at £1,000, rising to £10,000 for “egregious” offences and serial offenders.
More police resources will also be directed to find offenders in high-incidence areas. Officers will be told to act on tips from neighbours.
“People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“We need to do all we can to control the spread of this virus, to prevent the most vulnerable people from becoming infected, and to protect the NHS and save lives.
“And while most people are doing their absolute level best to comply with the rules, I don’t want to see a situation where people don’t feel they are financially able to self-isolate,” he added.