(Image: AAP/James Ross)

Victoria has implemented strict new penalties for city-slickers trying to escape to regional areas of the state.

Residents of Greater Melbourne, who are subject to stage four lockdown restrictions, trying to escape to regional Victoria where restrictions have been slightly eased will be slapped with a $4957 fine.

But it’s nothing compared to some of the sanctions around the world. Crikey takes a look at some of the strictest — and strangest — COVID-19 punishments out there. 


Indonesia: Photos of people in East Java forced to dig graves as punishment for disobeying mask mandates had people talking last week. The punishment was more of a publicity stunt than anything else, designed to send a message to anti-maskers.

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Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte hasn’t shied away from gross human rights abuses in the past, so why would a pandemic change anything? Human Rights Watch has accused police and local officials of locking young people in dog cages, forcing people to sit for hours in the sun, cutting children’s hair, and forcing them to walk home naked as punishment for breaking restrictions. 

India: police in India have resorted to some weird tactics, forcing rule-breakers to perform squats and push-ups, and writing “I have violated lockdown restrictions, keep away from me” on their foreheads. 

More seriously, others have been beaten with batons for not obeying curfew or obeying physical distancing. 

They didn’t break any rules, but in the early days of the pandemic migrant workers returning from Delhi were sprayed with bleach to disinfect them.

New Zealand: Returned travellers refusing COVID-19 tests simply have to stay in self-funded hotel quarantine a little longer. They can be held for up to 28 days for refusing a test. The rules are more strict for those who break out of quarantine: with fines of up to $4000 or six months’ jail. 


Germany: A woman from the United States faces possible assault through negligence charges. She worked at a popular ski resort, returned to Bavaria from abroad and despite having COVID-19 symptoms she kept socialising while waiting for test results.  

Spain: For the first time in history, Spain has banned smoking on the street to help minimise virus transmission. Those who break the rules face fines of hundreds of euros. 

Greece: Knowingly breaking COVID-19 restrictions and spreading the virus can land you behind bars for life in Greece. Those who break the rules unwittingly face up to two years in prison.


Kenya: In late March, a 13-year-old boy was shot and killed while standing on his balcony as police enforced the coronavirus curfew. Others were beaten and had tear gas fired at them hours before a curfew was implemented. 

South Africa: Police forced rule-breakers to roll along the road and do squats, and officers in Johannesburg used water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse people clustered outside a grocery store.

South America

Paraguay: Those who disobeyed quarantine were forced to do star jumps while being threatened with a taser.

Columbia: Armed groups not officially associated with the government have begun enforcing the law, threatening, killing and assaulting those who disobey.