The fines apply to people who aren’t infected by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus. Individuals caught breaking quarantine will face fines of up $510. Should the infractions result in harm to health or death, the fines go up to anywhere between $1,900 and $3,800.
The penalties are steeper for officials, who can be fined up to $6,370, and for legal entities, which can be liable for up to $12,740 in fines and the risk of a forced 90-day closure.
The Duma approved the amendments to the administrative code a day after the mayor of Moscow ordered the city to be locked down. Residents can only leave their homes for essential tasks such as emergency medical care, trips to the supermarket and pharmacy, and throwing out the trash.
Russia confirmed 500 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours on March 31 for a total of 2,337 cases and 17 deaths.
Russian President Vladimir Putin asked citizens to stay home for one week starting March 31. The president stopped short of ordering a nationwide lockdown and left it to local officials to enact social distancing measures.
Moscow, the epicenter of the outbreak, has the majority of the nation’s confirmed cases. Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has increasingly tightened restrictions on movement throughout the city. Days before the citywide lockdown, he ordered all bars, restaurants, shops, and parks closed.
Sobyanin has warned that harsher measures are in store. Authorities are working to install facial recognition systems on 175,000 surveillance cameras around the city, intending to use the technology to enforce self-isolation orders, according to documents reviewed by the Kommersant newspaper. Authorities also plan to use cellphone location data and banking data to determine people’s locations, according to the newspaper.
Local officials in other regions are taking similar steps. The Bryansk region, which had three confirmed CCP virus cases as of March 31, imposed a Moscow-style lockdown starting March 31. The Republic of Karelia shut down all public transportation last week.
The newly confirmed cases in the capital include the chief physician of a Moscow hospital for CCP virus patients.
“My dear friends, I very much appreciate your concern. Indeed, I have tested positive for the CoV virus but I feel quite well. I have self-isolated in my office where I have everything I need to telecommute,” Denis Protsenko wrote on Facebook.
Nikolai Briko, chief epidemiologist from the country’s Health Ministry, projected that the pandemic will peak in Russia in late April or May.
“What we are seeing today is not a peak yet,” Briko said, according to TASS. “The list of those infected keeps growing in this country and around the world. I believe that we are pretty close to the peak. I would like to think so. I believe that late April and early May is the period when there will be far fewer new cases and the epidemic will subside.”