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We can all do our part to limit the spread of Coronavirus by following quarantine rules.
As travel picks up again, it’s important to understand what quarantine rules are, as well as the consequences for violating them. Discover what happens if you violate quarantine rules while traveling.
Several months into the global COVID-19, it is quite reasonable to experience wanderlust. Regardless of where your travels end up taking you, ignoring Coronavirus travel rules can have negative ramifications for both yourself and others.
What Do We Mean by Quarantine Rules?
First and foremost, it is worth asking what is meant by the term ‘quarantine rules.’ For the purpose of this post, quarantine rules are an intentional period of isolation from others at large in order to mitigate the introduction, transmission and spread of COVID-19.
This includes legally-mandated quarantine-upon-arrival, as many countries and states have begun to institute. But this also includes precautionary isolation for anyone who has been in proximity to someone with Coronavirus, has shown symptoms of the virus-like shortness of breath or a fever, or anyone who has tested positive themselves.
Putting Yourself at Risk
Now that we have defined what we mean by quarantine and the levels of jurisdiction, we can begin assessing the consequences of breaking Coronavirus quarantine rules while traveling.
The most imminent threat for breaking quarantine rules is that you may expose yourself to Coronavirus.
The Very Nature of Travel Puts You At Risk
For example, some states like New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have begun imposing 14-day quarantine-upon-arrival restrictions for travelers from current hotspots like Texas and Arizona. While the Tri-State area may no longer be a hot spot itself, the highly contagious nature makes travel to a densely populated area dangerous, especially as residents begin to relax their guard.
Travel to such areas may pose less risk of transmission than a couple of months ago, but travel to places outside of your current daily or weekly routine naturally introduces new opportunities for exposure to COVID-19.
There’s Reason To Be Concerned Even if You’re Young & Healthy
In early March, as the Coronavirus tidal wave began reaching the US many people – particularly young people took advantage of cheap airfares and booked trips. As one individual tweeted “(Do) you wanna die with the Eiffel Tower in the background, or you wanna die with I-20 in the background?”
Granted, the risk is less for theoretically lower for young people, especially those in good health. But there has been a troubling trend in young and middle-aged folks, of COVID-19 occasionally leading to strokes and death. So although the perceived risks may be lowered, the severe consequences to yourself could be unavoidable if you break quarantine rules.
Putting Others at Risk
A more likely and yet potentially dangerous outcome of breaking quarantine rules is that you may spread COVID-19 to others. The real danger likes in the contagious nature of the Coronavirus. The potential is to spread COVID not to just those you encounter, but to their loved ones, anyone they encounter, and so forth.
A prime example of this multiplicative effect getting out of hand is the cautionary tale of so-called “Patient 31″ in Daegu, South Korea.
After an unidentified 61-year-old woman who occasionally commuted to Seoul tested positive for Coronavirus on February, public health officials began tracing her contacts and previous activity. What they found out shocked them:
“…the woman had, during the previous 10 days, attended two worship services with at least 1,000 other members of her secretive religious sect…https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/how-one-patient-turned-koreas-coronavirus-outbreak-into-an-epidemic/articleshow/74333157.cms
Within 24 hours, the nation’s number of confirmed cases starting multiplying exponentially. The tally rose by 20 during that period (from just 30 confirmed cases in South Korea at the time, mind you), doubled the following day and then doubled again on the third day…the count skyrocketed past 1,000 – a more than 30-fold increase in a week.”
This case is highlighted here not to cast blame toward South Korea, or to criticize church-goers. The power of this example is that could be repeated almost anywhere, and is pertinent to the widespread harm that can occur by breaking quarantine rules.
You May Subject to Legal Penalties and Even Jail Time
As the pandemic continues to vary in effect from country to country, and even state to state, it makes sense that quarantine rules and travel restrictions vary accordingly.
We have already helped many travel lovers to complete their COVID-19 international trip or reunite with their family. And we generally wouldn’t advise you to make any travel plans right now unless you consult with a professional.
A good source of information on travel restrictions in general, as well stipulations like quarantine-upon-arrival is Kayak’s travel restrictions by country page.
While the European Union has begun to open its borders to external borders, it has remained closed to travelers from the United States.
But international penalties for breaking quarantine rules can be much stronger than simply denying entry:
- An American pilot was jailed in Singapore for a total of four (4) weeks after breaking a quarantine order.
- In May, the United Kingdom (UK) announced that arriving passengers could face a £1,000 (~$1,240) fine for not self-isolating upon arrival for 14 days.
- In March, Saudi Arabia announced fines of up to $133,000 for travelers that do no accurately disclose health information and travel details upon arrival.
Federal Laws give the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the authority to detain, medically examine and release persons suspected of carrying communicable diseases who are either arriving in the United States, or traveling between states.
Breaking a federal quarantine order carries a fine of up to $100,000 and/or a year in jail.
State and Local Laws
In addition to the CDC, states and even some local health officials also have the legal authority to enforce quarantine rules. While quarantine policy and enforcement are subject to vary on a state-by-state basis, this can and occasionally does include the ability to detain or arrest anyone violating quarantine rules.
One very useful source for COVID-19 guidance on a state-by-state basis, is the law firm Husch Blackwell. In addition to news and re-opening plans in all 50 states, their site includes an interactive map for looking up a particular state’s quarantine rules.
As cases Coronavirus spike once again in hotspots around the country, more and more states are pushing for mandatory 14-day quarantines, and have begun to show they take quarantine violations seriously, as Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors stated:
“We have a $5,000 violating (for violating quarantine)… It’s a misdemeanor, which means it’s punishable by a year in prison.”https://www.npr.org/2020/07/02/886596560/some-states-to-out-of-towners-if-you-come-visit-plan-to-quarantine-for-two-weeks
One couple on their honeymoon learned this lesson the hard way this past spring. Despite repeated reminders of Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine order by hotel staff, the couple failed to comply. The Attorney General’s office was notified, and the couple was arrested.
While their may be some variance from state to state, following statewide quarantine rules is strongly advised.
What Points Panda Recommends
COVID-19 cases have been rampant lately, especially in many parts of the United States. We can all do our part to limit the spread of Coronavirus by following quarantine rules.
Doing so might not only save yourself from a fine or jail time – it could save others. But let’s admit it. Sometimes you just have to go on that business trip or booked vacation that you paid thousands for.
You can try to figure out everything on your own and take the above mentioned huge risks. Or you can take advantage of our Coronavirus concierge service. We, as expert travelers can help you understand what you can and can’t do so you have a seamless COVID-19 trip.