Good morning. With the government still facing criticism for allowing travel to amber list countries, and reports that thousands of holidaymakers are taking advantage of this even though ministers only want people to travel to these places in exceptional circumstances, Priti Patel, the home secretary, has intervened to encourage people to think twice before heading to a country such as Spain.
People returning from amber list countries have to quarantine at home for 10 days on their return. Officials have been carrying out checks for some time, but there is evidence the system has not been very rigorous and relatively few people have been fined for not obeying the rules. But, in an interview with the Daily Mail, Patel has said that the checks are going to become more rigorous. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, told the No 10 press conference last night that 30,000 checks had been carried out over the past week. Now the Home Office has told the Mail that it has the capacity to carry out 10,000 checks a day. Asked if people visiting amber list countries could expect a knock on the door when they got home, Patel said:
Yes, people should. There is a service, provision is in place, capacity has been increased for that very reason. People will not go unchecked.
Significant resources have been put in place – millions of pounds – in terms of the follow-up checking of people around their testing and making sure they stay at home. It has been stepped up.
According to the Mail, the Home Office is expecting many more fines to be issued. In their story Jason Groves and Claire Ellicott report:
A Home Office source said 7,000 home visits were carried out by Test and Trace officials on Tuesday.
The ministry has also established a new Isolation Assurance and Compliance service to monitor arrivals from amber-list countries.
Where people are found to be away from home, police are called to issue fines. A total of 639 have been handed out to date, though this number is now likely to rise significantly.
Here is the agenda for the day.
Around 11.30am: Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, makes a statement to MPs about plans to reorganise the rail industry as Great British Railways.
12pm: Downing Street is expected to hold its daily lobby briefing.
1pm: Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, and other experts speak at an Imperial College London seminar on the global vaccination programme.
2pm: Public Health England publishes its weekly Covid surveillance report.
2.30pm: Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, gives evidence to a joint meeting of the Commons Scottish, Welsh, Northern Ireland and public administration committees about the UK union.
Politics Live has been a mix of Covid and non-Covid news recently, and that is likely to be the case today. For more Covid coverage, do read our global live blog.
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