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Russia’s lower house to debate bill on stricter punishment for violating quarantine

In most severe cases the draft law stipulates deprivation of the right to work for a certain period and even imprisonment, according to official data

MOSCOW, March 25. /TASS/. A bill on imprisonment and fines for violating quarantine rules and conditions has been submitted to Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) for review on Wednesday, the press service for the lower house’s Committee on State Building and Legislation said.

The draft bill stipulates that violating epidemiological rules and procedures that resulted in a mass outbreak among citizens can entail fines of up to 1 million rubles ($13,000), deprivation of the right to work in certain positions or conduct certain businesses of up to three years or up to three years behind bars. If such a violation led to a death or was coupled with a deliberate intent to infect many people, the fines double to up to 2 million rubles ($26,000) or prison terms of up to five years may apply. If two or more people die, the punishment will be set for up to seven years in prison.

"By its second reading, the bill will have been expanded by adding sanctions for disseminating false information about the coronavirus situation, the so-called fakes, which disorient and mislead citizens, brazenly interfering with measures taken in the country to prevent the virus from spreading," the press service quoted Pavel Krasheninnikov, the committee’s chair.

Krasheninnikov and State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin sponsored the bill. On Wednesday, the lower house will convene for an urgent meeting to discuss these amendments.

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in more than 190 countries, including Russia.

On March 11, the WHO declared the outbreak a global pandemic. As of now, over 403,000 people have been infected around the world and more than 18,000 have died. Russia has identified 658 cases so far, 29 patients have recovered.