An expert from St Petersburg University, Chairman of the Board of the St Petersburg Association of Medical Law, Professor Igor Akulin spoke about the consequences and liability for intentional violation of quarantine.

Anyone who has just returned from abroad should stay in quarantine for two weeks according to a decree of the Chief Sanitary Doctor of Russia adopted on 18 March. There is an incubation period of 14 days during which a person may develop the first symptoms of COVID-19 infection. Also, a doctor might quarantine those whom he suspects to have the virus.

Coronavirus is listed as a dangerous disease along with HIV, tuberculosis, cholera, etc. It is therefore mandatory to comply with this provision. This is in contrast to self-isolation, which is a voluntary decision by a person.

Should the quarantine be deliberately violated, a person shall face liability, either administrative or criminal, from a fine to imprisonment for several years.

Chairman of the Board of the St Petersburg Association of Medical Law, Professor Igor Akulin

So, if it has been proved by a process of investigation that the actions of an infected person have led to a mass infection of other people, the quarantine violator faces: a fine of up to 80,000 roubles; up to 360 hours of community service; or up to a year of imprisonment. If the quarantine violation resulted in the death of a person, the violator may be sentenced to up to five years' imprisonment.

According to experts, it is not always quick and easy to track down all quarantine violators, so everyone must take responsibility. ‘It is wrong to think that it's okay to leave the house, just because you won't get caught. You must understand that every person who violates the quarantine exposes others to danger. Under the circumstances, the main thing is self-discipline and awareness of how dangerous this can be,’ said Igor Akulin.

In a situation when you have returned from a country where a disease outbreak has occurred, or had contact with an infected person, or doctors suspect you of having the virus, it is better to take precautions and stay in quarantine. This is really important.

Chairman of the Board of the St Petersburg Association of Medical Law, Professor Igor Akulin

‘It's a very contagious disease, and every case of contagion multiplies by a huge number of contacts. The virus spreads in a geometrical progression, and the problem is that young people often have no symptoms at all. What we can' t see seems to be not as dangerous, but it is not the case at all,’ said Igor Akulin. Doctors note that coronavirus is especially dangerous for elderly people and people with a weakened immune system or chronic diseases.