People who attempt to force others to self-isolate by falsely sharing their details to NHS Test and Trace will be hit with a £1,000 fine under new coronavirus regulations.
The new law is a bid to prevent people who have tested positive for Covid-19 targeting those they dislike by forcing them to self-isolate.
It punishes those who fail to comply with a £1,000 fine for a first offence, which rises to £10,000 for a fourth repeating offence, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said.
“Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a fine of up to £10,000.”
It is understood that the regulations will also impact those who knowingly fail to mention if they have been in close contact with a friend or relative in an attempt to prevent them from having to self-isolate for two weeks.
Under the new measures which came into force today, anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 and does not isolate is breaking the law.
The DHSC said that police will check compliance in the highest incidence areas and in high-risk groups based on “local intelligence”.
High profile and “egregious” cases of non-compliance will be investigated and prosecuted while action will be taken on tip-offs from “third parties” about people who have tested positive but are not self-isolating, the DHSC added.
But people on low incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result will also be eligible for a new £500 test and trace support payment, it added.
Under new rules in England wedding ceremonies will also be restricted to 15 people.
Meanwhile three more council areas in South Wales will go into local lockdown from 6pm on Monday, the Welsh Government has announced.
Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan will be covered by the restrictions, which mean people will not be able to enter or leave the areas without a reasonable excuse.
They will not be able to meet indoors with anyone they do not live with, with extended households suspended.
Restrictions are already in place in Cardiff, Swansea, Llanelli, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport, and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government will “not hesitate” to introduce further measures if case numbers continue to rise.
He added: “Anyone can catch coronavirus and anyone can spread it.
“We all have a crucial part to play in keeping the number of new infections down and protecting our loved ones.
“As cases rise it is imperative we take action, and we are introducing a legal duty to self-isolate when told to do so, with fines for breaches and a new £500 support payment for those on lower incomes who can’t work from home while they are self-isolating.
“These simple steps can make a huge difference to reduce the spread of the virus, but we will not hesitate to put in place further measures if cases continue to rise.”
Additional reporting by PA Media.