Coronavirus: First Arrest in British Isles for Failing to Self-Isolate Reported

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 19: Clinical support technician Douglas Condie extracts viruses from swab samples so that the genetic structure of a virus can be analysed and identified in the coronavirus testing laboratory at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, on February 19, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA …
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Manx police arrested a man who refused to self-isolate after landing on the Isle of Man in what is believed to be the first arrest in the British Isles for breaking coronavirus isolation laws.

While the British House of Commons is currently passing emergency measures to allow police and other officials to detain those who have or are suspected of having coronavirus and who refuse quarantine, the Isle of Man, which lies between Great Britain and the island of Ireland, has already passed strict emergency measures that force all new arrivals to self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms or where they travelled from.

The self-governing British Crown Dependency, famous for motorcycle racing, passed the emergency measures on Tuesday. Those who refuse self-quarantine can be prosecuted and face three months in prison or a £10,000 fine.

The 26-year-old unnamed British man is said to be held “in a specially cleaned” area at the island’s constabulary headquarters in Douglas which is “designated for those who should be self-isolating”, reports the BBC. He had arrived by boat on Thursday.

A Manx police spokesman said: “We currently have one male in Police Custody for failing to adhere to the new legislation requiring him to self isolate.

“Please follow the guidance issued by the Government and think about the safety of the community. This is an ever evolving situation and it is important we act in the best interests of keeping people safe.”

The Isle of Man also recorded its first case of coronavirus on Thursday, with Manx Radio reporting that the person had recently returned from Spain, which is the fourth-hardest hit country in the world with 767 deaths and 17,147 confirmed cases.

Chief Minister Howard Quayle told the Manx parliament, the Tynwald: “We are entering an unprecedented period in the Island’s history which requires the Government to mitigate a serious threat to the health of our population.

“We cannot allow our critical health services to become overwhelmed and must have the means to prosecute those who choose to act irresponsibly.”

“Protecting the vulnerable in our community is our highest priority and invoking emergency powers will enable us to do so swiftly, as well as acting as a deterrent,” Mr Quayle added.

While British police have enhanced powers to detain as a result of the emergency coronavirus bill, so far the government is only strongly advising social distancing and Britain’s external borders remain open with no requirement for new arrivals to self-isolate.

The EU, however, is under lockdown and France has warned the UK that unless it shuts its borders and enacts stricter measures, it may decide to bar Britons — who are currently exempt from restrictions — from entering.

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