Travel News

Breaking Lockdown: What Happens to People Who Violate the Quarantine in Various Countries

Written by Charlie

With the coronavirus all over the world, here is what some countries are doing to people who violate the quarantines – including huge fines or jail time!

With current numbers putting the people who are at home at over 3 billion, many countries have enacted penalties for those that break the lockdown rules. Some countries just tell people to stay in place without a penalty while others are handing out large penalties ranging from thousands of dollars in fines to actual jail time. Here is a look at a few countries and what they do to people who violate the quarantine.

Breaking Lockdown: What Countries Are Doing to People Who Violate the Lockdowns

At present, the US has many states that have a stay-in-place order but most are not backing it up with any kinds of fines or penalties. The mayor of Chicago has now said that people outside for anything beyond a “brief respite” can face arrest. This includes, according to her own words, “long bike rides, 5K runs, playgrounds” so any runner in Chicago needs to be aware of this!

Outside of the US, governments are cracking down in many ways. Violators of the quarantine measures in United Arab Emirates can face up to 5 years in jail and a fine from DH50,000 – 100,000 ($13,60USD – $27,200). In, Spain, breaking the current quarantine lockdown can mean up to €30,000 for the more serious violations, plus it can even include jail time. Apparently, most of the over 3,000 people who have been fined have “only” around €600.

Continuing on in Europe, Italy, of course, has some strict fines for people who break quarantine as well. The fine has been raised in Italy to now be between €400 and €3,000. This is apparently in response to the over 100,000 people who have been breaking the quarantine up to this point. According to reports, soon people who have tested positive for the Coronavirus in Italy could get up to 5 years in prison if they break their quarantine.

In Norway, anyone breaking the quarantine rules will face an equivalent of a $2,000 fine or 15 days in jail. If someone is staying in a “country cabin outside of their home municipality” they risk a fine equivalent to $1,500 or 10 days in prison. For Greece, there are far fewer cases of the virus for them (less than 1,000) and they are doing their best to keep it that way. For anyone violating the lockdown rules, there will be a fine of €150. In France, there have already been over 91,000 fines issued and the fine is now at €135 (up to the maximum from when it was introduced). I have even heard that this may go to the thousands since people are not following it.

Once you move further to the east, the rules can be more severe. In Jordan, breaking the curfew results in arrest and placement in quarantine centers that are guarded by the army. After that quarantine, they could face up to one year in prison. So far, over 1,600 people have been arrested since Sunday. Saudi Arabia is fining those who break the curfew with the equivalent of a $2,777 fine. Break it again, it gets doubled. A third time will land that person in jail for up to 20 days.

For Israel, the cost for breaking the quarantine is currently at the equivalent of $1,365. For those who had returned from East Asia, breaking the home quarantine could get them up to 7 years in prison. But, that is for those who knowlingly break the quarantine. For those who break it out of negligence, it would involve a 3 year prison sentence. Israel is even calling people who are to be in quarantine to have them come to their balconies or the door to prove they are inside.

What Kind of Activity is Allowed?

Of course, each person in the country they are in will need to check what is allowed but the common purposes allowed include going to pharmacies, grocery stores, hospitals, and essential work. Some countries allow (and even encourage) going for walks, runs, cycling but all of those activities typically are only allowed for a max of two people in a group and distancing must be observed.

Even for allowed activities, many countries require each person to fill out a form provided online that gives the valid reasons to be out. The person must fill out the form each time they are outside of their home or face a fine.

Again, check what the rules are for the country you are in as being ignorant of the law does not mean you will be exempted!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Fill out a form, LOL. Hawaii has a $5k fine for breaking quarantine. Denver encourages hiking outside but there aren’t really any hiking trails in Denver but they clarified you can’t leave Denver to hike. It’s all silly. Like closing beaches.

  • I don’t think it’s silly at all. I still can’t believe at the selfishness of people who don’t care about the spreading of a deadly virus for many sick elderly. Obviously they don’t care for their parents or grandparents…
    Yes. This people must be disciplined. They act like children and should be treated as such!

  • Liz is wrong. It is silly and unhealthy keep people from going outside. I wouldn’t be surprised to see long term legal consequences for some places due to infringement of rights.

  • @Danin. I do not advocate for people to be prevented to go outside. I am advocating for restricting any crowded assembly. Of course if you keep social distance it is ok. I myself run outside and go out to buy groceries….
    I was mainly referring to the disregard of many young people who keep gathering in groups like the crowded beaches in Miami…