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Harsh penalties are in place for those who do not comply with new quarantine and public event orders in NSW.

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Coronavirus & the law in NSW

Coronavirus (Covid-19) quarantine and public event laws in NSW

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is now a global pandemic. Governments worldwide are using legislative measures to isolate and quarantine people to slow the spread of the highly contagious and potentially fatal virus. Under the provisions of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) the Minister for Health and Medical Research can make orders or directions they consider necessary to deal with the risk. On 17th March 2020 two orders made by Brad Hazzard, MP became enforceable.

Public Health (COVID-19 Public Events) Order 2020

The Covid-19 Public Events Order came into effect on the 16th March 2020. The order dictates that no person can hold a public event where there is, or is likely to be, 500 or more people in attendance. This includes sporting, musical, cultural entertainment, political or religious events whether or not a ticket is required for attendance. The order does not apply to, or prevent the operation of schools, TAFE, universities, courts, public transport or workplaces where there are 500 or more people in attendance. At this time the order is in force until 14th June 2020.

Public Health (COVID-19 Quarantine) Order 2020

The Covid-19 Quarantine Order came into effect on the 17th March 2020. The order affects any person arriving in NSW who has immediately before that arrival been in another country. In these circumstances you are to travel from your point of arrival directly to a residence suitable for quarantine and remain at that premises for 14 days. Leaving the premises is only permitted for the purposes of medical care, to avoid close contact with others, or in an emergency. You are also not permitted to allow entry to others unless they usually reside at the premises, they are also under quarantine, for medical purposes, or it is an emergency. Flight crew are exempt and at this time the order is in force until 15th June 2020.

Penalties for not complying with public health quarantine orders

The penalties for failing to comply with an order are significant.  The maximum penalty is a period of imprisonment for 6 months and a fine of up to $11,000. Further fines of up to $5,500 apply for each additional day that the offence continues.

Penalties for non compliance with coronavirus laws in new south wales

What further orders can be made?

If the government considers that there is likely to be a risk to public health, they may take action to reduce or remove risk to the public. Further orders that can and may be made in the future include;

  • Segregating, or isolating people
  • Preventing or conditionally permitting access to an area
  • Ordering that a person refrain from specified conduct;
  • Ordering a person to undergo specified treatment;
  • Ordering that a person discloses who they have been in contact with
  • Ordering a person to disclose their symptoms
  • Ordering a person to undergo specific testing; and
  • Ordering that a person be detained at a specific place.

Covid-19 and the Biosecurity Act 2015

The Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth) authorises the Commonwealth to implement even further measures to stop the spread of infection or disease in Australia. Directions and orders can range from providing certain biosecurity information to self-quarantining or isolation. The penalty for failing to provide information as required is up to $12,600. While the penalty for failing to comply with a biosecurity control order is up to 5 years imprisonment and/or fines up to $60,000. This order has not been made as yet, however if there is ongoing non-compliance with state-based orders, then it may only be a matter of time.

If you are worried you have breached an order, you should contact a lawyer.  

Could a lockdown be ordered in NSW due to Coronavirus?

Yes, both the State and Federal government have the powers available under the Public Health Act and Biosecurity Act to implement a full lockdown of NSW.

Who is exempt from the coronavirus quarantine orders?

At present, all members of a flight crew returning to NSW from overseas are exempt.

What is the fine for not self isolating or quarantining?

In NSW the maximum penalty for breaching the self isolation or quarantine orders is a period of imprisonment for 6 months and a fine of up to $11,000. Further fines of up to $5,500 apply for each additional day that the offence continues.

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