Refusing to self-isolate when told to is now illegal in England from Monday, with fines of up to £10,000.
Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19, or has been told they have been in contact with someone who has, now has a legal duty to quarantine.
It comes as a study commissioned by the government found just 18% of people who had symptoms went into isolation.
Meanwhile, the government has promised an “uninterrupted supply” of PPE for front-line workers over the winter.
rom Monday, it will be a punishable offence not to comply with an official instruction to self-isolate, with fines starting at £1,000 and rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders or serious breaches.
Police officers can check that people are complying with the rules in virus hotspots and among high-risk groups based on “local intelligence”, the government said.
The law applies to people who have tested positive for coronavirus, or who have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate because they have been in close contact with someone with the virus.
And if someone tests positive, it is illegal to knowingly give false information about their close contacts to NHS Test and Trace.
People on low incomes who cannot work and are losing income while self isolating will be able to get a £500 payment.
Nearly four million people who receive benefits in England will be eligible for the money, and it will be backdated once the scheme is properly set up in their council area, the Department of Health said.