coronavirus quarantine virus outbreak fines
(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

If you're returning from abroad or have been in contact with an infected person, it's time to lock your doors. Depending on where you live, you could be slapped with a fine in the tens of thousands for disobeying quarantine orders. 

These laws are, unlike the coronavirus, not novel or new. But despite their age, they’ve never been enforced before. Crikey takes a look at how much in fines dissenters can face, and why. 

A question of state

There are two mechanisms that Australian governments can use to force people into quarantine: the Biosecurity Act 2015 (which can order people to provide body samples, to undergo treatment and to restrict their behaviour) and state-based public health acts.