The verdict of the European Court of Human Rights states: the coronavirus lockdown does not violate the right to freedom.
The court in Strasbourg was held on the claim of a Romanian citizen. Despite the fact that, as he claims, he was not infected and was not in contact with patients with coronavirus, he had to sit in the lockdown for 52 days. He claims that his rights were violated, since quarantine can be equated with imprisonment. However, the court’s decision stated that in this case, the measure introduced by the government could not be equated with house arrest.
In Romania, due to the pandemic, a lockdown was imposed amid a public health emergency. Romanian citizens were prohibited from leaving their homes without an officially confirmed good reason, and violators were fined.
The complaint of a Romanian citizen was the first. When considering it, the ECHR assessed whether Clause 5 of the Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to liberty and security, is applicable to the lockdown. The court’s decision is as follows:
“The degree of intensity of the restriction on the applicant’s freedom of movement was not such that general quarantine could be considered a deprivation of liberty. in general, the current situation should therefore be characterized as an “exceptional and unpredictable context”.
The arguments of the court are also given:
the measure was generally applicable to everyone in the state; the applicant could have left the house for valid reasons listed in the law; he was not subject to individual supervision by the authorities; the applicant did not claim that he was forced to live in close quarters and that he was not deprived of all social contacts.
Final verdict reads:
“Consequently, the conditions of quarantine cannot be equated with house arrest, tantamount to ‘imprisonment’ for the purposes of court practice.”