Italian region introduces €1,000 fine for breaking quarantine

Veneto says it will fine people who flout quarantine rules up to €1,000, amid a new outbreak of coronavirus in the region.

Italian region introduces €1,000 fine for breaking quarantine
A gondola ride in Venice, in the region of Veneto. Photo: Andrea Pattaro/AFP

The north-eastern region around Venice has seen infections rise in the past week in an outbreak traced back to a resident who returned from an overseas trip and refused to go to hospital despite showing symptoms.

READ ALSO: Here are the current rules on travelling to Italy

In a new ordinance issued on Monday, regional governor Luca Zaia set a fine of €1,000 for anyone who breaks quarantine rules – even if they have tested negative for the new coronavirus. 

If someone is caught leaving isolation to go to work, their employer is liable to pay €1,000 for every employee exposed.

Meanwhile health authorities are obliged to report anyone who tests positive but refuses to isolate to the police for possible criminal charges.

A 14-day quarantine is obligatory for anyone who enters Veneto from outside the EU, Schengen Zone or UK. People who come into contact with someone who tests positive for the coronavirus, or who show symptoms of being sick with Covid-19, must also self-isolate for at least two weeks.

On top of quarantining, people who travel for work must test negative twice before being allowed to return to their workplace as normal.


While the new rules are only applicable in Veneto, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza has said that he is considering allowing hospitals to section people who refuse to be admitted for Covid-19.

Currently people who test positive can be fined up to €5,000 and jailed for up to six months for failing to quarantine, but there is no way to force them to go to hospital if they refuse.

Veneto's new ordinance comes as the region's effective reproduction number (Rt) rose from 0.43 to 1.63 by Friday. If a disease is to be wiped out, epidemiologists say the Rt needs to be below 1.

The region has traced at least five cases of the virus back to three businessmen who travelled to Serbia and Bosnia in June before returning to the cities of Vicenza and Verona. One of the people they came into contact with has since died from Covid-19.

One of the men from Vicenza did not self-isolate when he got back and was slow to inform health authorities when he first developed symptoms or about who he had been in contact with since returning. He also initially resisted going to hospital, where he is currently being treated in serious condition.

The regions of Lazio and Emilia-Romagna have also seen their Rt number rise above 1 in the past week after outbreaks in Rome and Bologna.

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Former Italian PM faces investigation over Covid response

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte is set to undergo a judicial inquiry over claims his government's response to the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020 was too slow.

Former Italian PM faces investigation over Covid response

Prosecutors in Bergamo, the northern city that was one of the epicentres of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, targeted Conte after wrapping up their three-year inquiry, according to media reports.

Conte, now president of the populist Five Star movement, was prime minister from 2018 to 2021 and oversaw the initial measures taken to halt the spread of what would become a global pandemic.

Investigating magistrates suspect that Conte and his government underestimated the contagiousness of Covid-19 even though available data showed that cases were spreading rapidly in Bergamo and the surrounding region.

They note that in early March 2020 the government did not create a “red zone” in two areas hit hardest by the outbreak, Nembro and Alzano Lombardo, even though security forces were ready to isolate the zone from the rest of the country.

READ ALSO: ‘Not offensive’: Italian minister defends Covid testing rule for China arrivals

Red zones had already been decreed in late February for around a dozen other nearby municipalities including Codogno, the town where the initial Covid case was reportedly found.

Conte’s health minister Roberto Speranza as well as the president of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, are also under investigation, the reports said.

Bergamo prosecutors allege that according to scientific experts, earlier quarantines could have saved thousands of lives.

Conte, quoted by Il Corriere della Sera and other media outlets, said he was “unworried” by the inquiry, saying his government had acted “with the utmost commitment and responsibility during one of the most difficult moments of our republic.”

READ ALSO: Italy’s constitutional court upholds Covid vaccine mandate as fines kick in

Similar cases have been lodged against officials elsewhere, alleging that authorities failed to act quickly enough against a virus that has killed an estimated 6.8 million people worldwide since early 2020.

In January, France’s top court threw out a case against former health minister Agnes Buzyn, a trained doctor, over her allegedly “endangering the lives of others” by initially playing down the severity of Covid-19.