Parents can disclose that police force holiday workers across the country are facing thousands of potential violations of the rules governing the separation of those involved.
There have been calls for “further action” by Border Force officials and public health authorities, who have been tasked with ensuring that returnees comply with regulations designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Top scientists warn that the UK is fast approaching an important moment. With another rise in the number of positive cases recorded on Friday, they called on people to abide by the rules or risk a massive lockdown across the UK.
“We have reached a point where there is a risk that Covid’s wide-ranging transmission could increase again,” said Katherine Knox, a professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering at the University of Leeds and a member of the government’s scientific advisory council for emergency (SJ).
“Transmission depends on the amount of communication between people, and with schools and universities returning and more people returning to work, the level of communication within the community is likely to increase.”
The government’s daily figures showed 1,940 new cases since the warning came – the highest since May, and political battles are raging between England, Scotland and Wales over their different approaches. New developments include:
Public Health England (PHE) has identified Leeds as an “area of concern” following a rise in cases of coronavirus testing in parts of north-east England.
Documents obtained by SJE show that scientists told ministers that the term could lead to a significant outbreak of the virus in higher education. They say infected students are at risk of spreading the seeds across the UK.
The Scottish and Welsh governments accused the Boris Johnson administration of ignoring scientific advice on the evacuation of returning passengers from Portugal and Greece.
The largest UK-owned airport team called on the government to conduct coronavirus tests for urgent arrivals, saying “there is ongoing uncertainty and confusion about the restrictions that the British will face when traveling abroad”.
Anyone returning to the UK after international travel except for a few countries needs a self-separation period of 14 days. However, the countries on the waiver list are scattered across the UK, creating more confusion about exactly what restrictions people are hoping to comply with.
Those who need to be self-isolated in England can contact the PHE to check if they are following these rules.
However, after several attempts, if no response is received, the Border Force sends the details of the person to the police, who then send an officer to the person’s home address.
Metropolitan Police said it had received more than a thousand referrals from the UK Border Force for quarantine checks since early August.
So far, officers have met with 840 people who have returned from overseas provinces and planned to contact another 301 people who have recently returned to the UK.
Greater Manchester Police said it had received 263 separate requests from the UKBF regarding individuals whose officers were not responding to the need for self-separation. Officials say they have also issued two fixed-penalty notices for repeatedly violating self-separation rules.
The Avon and Somerset Police and the West Midlands Police, England’s second largest force, are also understood to have had numerous cases referred to them for investigation.
“We’ve come to a point where it’s really important for people to follow the rules,” Knox said. “It is very important that we do not allow lawsuits to escalate so that we can avoid more elaborate sanctions. This means that people should maintain social distance, wash their hands, cover their faces in indoor public spaces and make sure that the spaces shared in the buildings have good ventilation. “
Another Sage member, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Guardian that it was not clear why events such as France and Spain were not growing in the UK, but he said such growth would probably reach “appropriately”.
“The number of population contacts is a zero-sum game when it comes to controlling new infections and keeping them below or below. If we add a lot of new opportunities for communication now, with the return of schools and students to both high school and later Inevitable.
“The question is whether it can be included as a controlled epidemic or whether the infection can widen the community again.
“It simply came to our notice then. Either we go to a place in winter where we feel confident that we have this problem in a string, or it is still a wild animal that we can’t control. My suspicion is the latter.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said officers going on holiday who failed to answer three phone calls from public health and Border Force officers suggested they were violating quarantine rules subject to them.
Super Andrew Sidebotham said it was important for people to be self-isolated for a full 14 days after returning to the UK from abroad, as it could take this long time for coronavirus symptoms to develop.
“Even if you have no symptoms during this time, you can inadvertently spread the virus to others,” he said.