Prison for Defying Quarantine

Prison for Defying QuarantinePrison for Defying Quarantine

Stung by the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome with 181 confirmed cases of the disease MERS, including 31 deaths, South Korea has passed a law authorizing prison terms of up to two years for people who defy quarantine orders or lie about their potential exposure to an infectious disease. The spread of MERS here has been attributed mainly to poor infection control at the country’s hospitals, as well as failures of communication and coordination on the government’s part. But the public has also been angered by reports of people flouting orders to stay home while they were being monitored for symptoms, reports

The new law was passed Thursday and takes effect in six months. People who defy the orders can be sentenced to up to two years in prison or fined up to 20 million won, or about $18,000. The same penalties can be imposed for lying about one’s potential exposure to infectious disease.