What can we do with those people who still decided to travel (for skiing, example) and causing huge problems after they return, even though they know the fact that corona virus (or anything new in the future) is deadly and already spreading around the world?

-- Update:

According to Phillip, I want to point out a specific country like Finland, with Finnish law, for Finnish people who traveled to Italy.

-- Update 2:

I asked this question because I think in this way: If you're drunk and going to drive, and because of your irresponsible action could lead to the danger for some (one, two, maybe ten people), so you will be punished, even when you have not made a scratch to anybody.

But then why do there are people who would do something which leads to the danger of thousands of people, free to walk away?

Of course, we can exclude people who do not know, and people who have important things to do.

  • 2
    I think this question needs more focus. Different EU countries have different laws and regulations which could be applied in this situation. The EU law focuses more on commerce regulation and not so much on regulating the behavior of individual people. If anything, the EU is an obstacle to travel restrictions due to the principle of guaranteeing free movement of people within the EU.
    – Philipp
    Mar 12, 2020 at 15:29
  • Thanks, I will focus more.
    – Sang Dang
    Mar 12, 2020 at 18:04

3 Answers 3


Communicable diseases are endemic to the human condition

Some places, times and situations are riskier than others but there is always a risk in widespread travel. Outside of disease spread, there are other risks in travel; for example, if no-one traveled at all there would be no motor vehicle deaths.

On the flip-side, not traveling has its own dangers; for example, you will not die in a house fire if you are in your car.

Of course, there are enormous benefits to widespread travel; economic, cultural and personal - life is to be experienced after all.

If you stop the skier from skiing, then you have just damaged the livelihood of all the people who depend on tourism; the airline, the hotel, the bartender, the ski technician, the baker in the ski resort etc.

Everything is allowed unless it is prohibited

By and large, this is the way that the law works. It's legal to do anything you like. Unless it isn't.

It isn't illegal to travel to, say, Finland. So you can.

If the government (of whichever country) decides that the costs of allowing people to travel to Finland now outweigh the benefits then they can prohibit it. However, that is a political decision; not a legal one.

As for your drink-driving example, I am old enough to remember when it wasn't illegal to drive drunk, although I was too young to drive. Of course, if you are in Somalia or Kenya it's still legal. Also, what counts a drunk varies by country - you can have a couple in Finland but cross over into Russia and you are breaking the law. Why does Finland allow such recklessness? Because it's a political decision and politicians in Finland and Russia have reached different conclusions about what level of risk is acceptable. Same with travel restrictions.

  • Thanks for detailed and interesting answer.
    – Sang Dang
    Mar 13, 2020 at 7:58

This is a matter of a balancing of rights and responsibilities.

When a person acts in a negligent mannor, then they can be held responsible for their actions.

Who (and how) does one determin if a person has acted in a negligent mannor?

  • mostly through an impartial Judge implementing civil and criminal laws

So if a citizen (in their wisdom and against the advice of their government) goes skiing in a virus infected area and causes other citizens to be infected, the Government will, after cleaning up the mess that the beloved citizen caused, send a bill.

Should the citizen (in their wisdom) deside that the bill is not justified and refuses to pay, the matter will land in a court of law.

There the Judge (in their wisdom), will deside who is right and who is wrong.

This due process ('a citizen's fair treatment within the rules of a government's legal system'), based on the Jurisdiction, may be implemented in different ways.

The Czech government declared a 30-day state of emergency over coronavirus across the country as of 14:00 today, citing a threat to the health of population, PM Andrej Babis (ANO) said after the cabinet’s extraordinary meeting today. The state of emergency is a crisis measure the state adopts in serious situations that considerably endanger people’s lives, health or property, or the country’s internal order and security

It has also issued additional restrictions on social gatherings and other types of public activity.

The State has also banned foreigners from 13 high-risk countries from entering the country, including neighbouring Germany and Austria, while Czechs are banned from visiting these countries, except for rescuers and drivers of delivery services.

People will be allowed to cross the Czech borders with Germany and Austria only at selected crossings as of Friday midnight, with border checks being reintroduced, Interior Minister Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said.

The government has also stopped the issuance of Czech visas and acceptance of visa applications. No permits for Czech stay over 90 days will be issued, he said.

Prague, March 12 (CTK) – All the passenger bus, train and ship transport to all neighbouring countries will be banned and air traffic will be reduced as of Saturday, the Czech Transport Ministry said after a government meeting today.
It will only be possible to travel abroad by car.

What should I do if I am returning from a high-risk area? According to the Ministry of Health, anyone returning from Italy to the Czech Republic must stay in home quarantine for two weeks, with a 3-million CZK fine for violating the regulation.

Upon return contact your healthcare provider immediately — whether you are showing symptoms or not — to let them know. Your healthcare professional will work with health officials to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

Reinforcing health measures at the Schengen Borders
Under the Schengen Border Code, all decisions to refuse or accept entry to the territory of a Member State must be subject to an individual assessment undertaken by the competent authorities. It is the responsibility of the Member States to refuse entry on public health grounds to individual third country nationals.

Based on Czech and EU laws, no Czech judge should have any objections about these measures.

From the comments:

This requires some fairly specific government rulings to reduce travelling. A priori citizens are free to travel pretty much anywhere. If for example I travel within Germany to the most affected county and then back to a major metro area, one could argue that I'm not very responsible but unless either me or the county are officially quarantined, I'm not liable for anything.

In this case home quarantine for two weeks is mandatory and can be fined with € 115240,50.

Any futher malicious activities (as done by the Japanese man, going out to deliberately ‘spread the virus’) by a person could lead to further civil and criminal charges (including liability for any cost or damages).

Article 2 [Personal freedoms]

(1) Every person shall have the right to free development of his personality insofar as he does not violate the rights of others or offend against the constitutional order or the moral law.

(2) Every person shall have the right to life and physical integrity. Freedom of the person shall be inviolable. These rights may be interfered with only pursuant to a law.


  • My, that downvoter is a fast reader, within 1 minute of posting. Mar 12, 2020 at 12:36
  • The government will send the citizen a bill for what, exactly? Mar 12, 2020 at 18:09
  • 1
    @NuclearWang Mainly to reimburse the costs, that the taxpayer would otherwise have to pay, caused by their negligent activities. Mar 12, 2020 at 18:14
  • Can an individual/group/network etc sue them?
    – Sang Dang
    Mar 12, 2020 at 18:18
  • 1
    Yes, Civil Code Section 823(1): A person who, intentionally or negligently, unlawfully injures the life, body, health, freedom, property or another right of another person is liable to make compensation to the other party for the damage arising from this. Mar 12, 2020 at 18:25

You would need to show at the very least that skiing in Finland has a higher chance of getting infected than doing whatever hundreds of millions of people are doing anyway. Good luck.

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