Quarantine dodgers in Russia could face 7 years in jail

COVID-19: Quarantine dodgers in Russia could face up to 7 years in prison

A woman wearing a face mask, amid concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus, walks in front of Moscow's Kazansky railway station on March 20, 2020. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP)

Russian lawmakers have proposed imposing severe punishments -- including up to seven years in prison -- for people breaking coronavirus quarantine rules.

Legislation due to be discussed on Wednesday foresees fines of between 500,000 rubles ($6,400) and two million rubles ($25,700) for violating a quarantine.

If a quarantine dodger were found guilty of causing a person's death or intentionally infecting many people, they would face up to five years in prison, and up to seven years if two or more people died.

The amendments to Russia's Criminal Code were proposed by Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house State Duma, and another senior lawmaker of the governing United Russia party, so are expected to pass.

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The Duma will consider the proposed legislation next Tuesday.

Russia, which has a population of 144 million people, reported 658 cases of the coronavirus as of Wednesday.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who is heading a coronavirus task force, warned President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that the actual number of cases is probably "significantly" higher than official figures.

All people arriving in Russia from abroad are required to self-isolate for 14 days but officials have complained that many break quarantine rules.

Italy, the country worst affected by the coronavirus in Europe, this week toughened penalties for those out on the streets without a legitimate reason, increasing fines from 206 euros to between 400 and 3,000 euros ($430-$3,225).

Romanians face up to 15 years in jail if they do not comply with restrictions related to the coronavirus and their behaviour leads to a death.

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