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Transport secretary Grant Shapps is in the dark about the number of people who have been fined for breaking quarantine rules after returning to the UK, he has admitted.
Shapps – who was himself forced to self-isolate for 14 days after quarantine restrictions were imposed on Spain while he was on holiday in July – was asked how many people had been given fines for failing to quarantine after travelling to the UK from countries with surging cases of coronavirus.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, people who do not self-isolate can be fined up to £1,000. In Scotland, the fine is £480.
Shapps told BBC Breakfast how his wife had been “randomly” called by Border Force after returning from their holiday to check she was remaining at home.
Asked whether people had received fines for breaking quarantine rules, he said “yes” – but was unable to give any specific figures.
“Border Force figures will announce those figures in time, I don’t have their data,” he said.
“You’re the transport secretary, why don’t you have the data?,” presenter Naga Munchetty asked.
Shapps hit back: “Because in this country, we allow the authorities to get on with their job and they release the information, not ministers.”
It comes after Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago were dropped from the UK’s list of safe travel corridors, meaning holidaymakers returning from these countries after 4am on Saturday will have to self-isolate for two weeks.
France and Spain – among the most popular holiday destinations for British tourists – have already been added to the list of quarantine countries, along wit a number of others.
In July, HuffPost UK revealed that the government did not know how many people who had been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace had actually done so.