UK Politics

Anger and bafflement at 10-year jail term for fibbing travellers

BY Caitlin Allen   /  10 February 2021

Ten years in prison is a punishment for felonies including firearms dealing, actual bodily harm and non-fatal poisoning. But now, there’s a new crime that carries this sentence: lying on your passenger locator form at Heathrow airport.

The draconian measure, announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday, is part of the government’s new quarantine travel rules and is coming under intense scrutiny.

Under the new laws, which come into force on Monday, UK and Irish residents arriving in England returning from the 33 “red list” countries – including Brazil, Portugal and South Africa – must spend 10 days in hotel quarantine. But anyone who makes a false declaration on the form completed by all international arrivals – in order to conceal their visit to one of these countries in the ten days prior to arriving in England – could face a decade in jail.


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