Quarantine Laws Preventing Spread of COVID-19 Around the World

On March 11 COVID-19 was declared as pandemic by World Health Organization, based on report of  118,000 cases from across 114 countries. Since then the entire globe has waged a war against this biological threat. techniques used to extinguish Covid-19 are mainly precautionary and preventive in nature. The primary method to eradicate this virus is identified as Social Distancing. Social distancing breaks the chain of transmission of virus thereby circumscribing it to those who are already affected. This technique proved effective on earlier accounts of outbreak of Plague, Ebola.

Social Distancing involves maintain a distance of 3feet from from anyone who coughs or sneezes. However, with the increase in number of cases Social Distancing alone does not prove to be effective. It called for further step of Social Isolation. Every nation advised it citizens who ever returned from COVID-19 hit areas to isolate themselves for a period of 14 days. Ignorance and brushing off the self imposed safety measures lead to inflation of COVID-19 cases count. In order to flatten the curve quarantine measures were imposed in most of the COVID-19 affected nations. People were advised home quarantine to prevent Phase III of COVID-19.  Affected nations mobilized decrees, orders, resolutions and laws in favour of home quarantine, in order to flatten the covid-19 curve.


The Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 proved to be savior. It provided under section 3 to punish any person disobeying any regulation or order made under this Act by virtue of section 188 of Indian Penal Code. Section 188 of Indian Penal code provides for simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or fine which may extend to ₹200 or both if any person disobeys the order promogulated by Public Servant deployed by Government in tackling the pandemic situation. It also provides that if such disobedience causes or tend to cause danger to human life, health or safety, such person shall be punishable with an imprisonment which may extend to six moths or fine which may extend to ₹1000 or both. In  addition, The Disaster Management Act, 2005, vide section 51, punishes any person with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or both, if such person without reasonable cause obstructs any Public Servant deployed by Government to carry out his functions of disaster management, or refuses to comply with the directions of Government put into effect amid the quarantine prevalent situation throughout the country. It further provides that if such obstruction or refusal results in loss of lives or imminent danger, such person shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.


With total number of deaths crossing 1000 due to COVID-19, USA has put a complete ban entry of Chinese and Iranian Nationals vide section 212 (a)(1)(A)(i) of Immigration and Nationality Act, 1952. In addition to that periodic regulations are being issued by Food and Drug Administration by virtue of The Public Health Safety Act,1994 for prevention of introduction, transmission or spreading of communicable diseases. Quarantine is imposed throughout the country. Any person breaking quarantine rules would be liable to punishment vide Part 42 of Code of Federal Regulation.  § 271 of Code of Federal Regulations imposes a fine not more than $1000 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, to any person who violates any regulation issued by Government related to quarantine. Further, § 70.18 of 42 Code of Federal Regulations imposes a penalty which may extend to $100,000 or jail term of one year or both in case the violation of interstate quarantine rule. In case, if violation of interstate quarantine results in death of any person, such person will be subjected to penalty which may extend to $250,000, or a jail term of one year or both.


After China, Italy is worst affected by COVID-19. Entire country is declared red zone. To flatten the curve, Italy has brought into effect Decree-Law No. 6 on Urgent Containment and Management Measures of the Epidemiological Emergency from COVID-19 (20A01522) which set out entire Italy on state of Emergency till July 31. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has imposed IorestoaCasa Decree which translates into “I Stay Home”. Citizen infringing the decree will be arrested. Failure to observe any obligation set out by the Government in preventing the COVID-19 situation is punishable in accordance with the Article 650 of  Rocco Code, 1930.


To control COVID-19 in France, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced a new Decree of quarantine which has been in effect since Tuesday. According to that Decree any person leaving home shall need to fill up a form which shall state the persons purpose for visit, and it may be rejected in case the state considers the visit to be without justified errand. Further, penalty will be imposed for any violation of the Decree. A fine of €135 shall be levied on first breach. Any subsequent violation of Decree within 15 days of the former violation will attract a fine of €1500. If anyone violates the provision of Decree 4 times within the time period of one month, he will be subjected to a fine of €3700 and a jail term of 6 months.


Quarantine measures has been imposed upon Australia as well. Australia has made necessary amendments in its Public Health Act, 2005 in order to handle the Corona crisis. It had incorporated Part 7A under Chapter 8 into the Public Health Act which specifically deals with battling through Corona. Section 326D of the Act provides for a 100 penalty units (1 penalty unit=$100) in case a person avoids any public health direction applicable on him without any reasonable excuse. Anyone who has returned from overseas is to observe a self quarantine period of 14 days. If any person fails to comply with such preventive measures he will be subjected to enforced quarantine by the State and would also be liable to a fine up to $13.345 in accordance with the Queensland Health under the Public Health Act, 2005. Any person obstructing a Hazard Management Officer from conducting his official duty which is been implied upon him for management of COVID-19 would be liable to pay a fine $50,000 under section 85 of Emergency Management Act, 2005.

About Author

Md. Ali Ibrahim

Md. Ali Ibrahim is a postgraduate student of Law currently pursuing his LL.M. degree from Aligarh Muslim University. His areas of interest include Criminal Law, Cyber Law, and Family Law. He is known among his friends for his simplicity and multiple talents. Apart from academic carrer he is a trained Equestrian.

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