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Couple Arrested for Flying After Testing Positive

airplane

December 4, 2020 -- A couple from Hawaii was arrested when they flew home from California after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Wesley Moribe, 41, and Courtney Peterson, 46, received positive results from a pre-travel test and boarded a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Lihue, according to NBC News.

When the couple arrived in Hawaii, police escorted them to an isolation room for investigation. They were arrested and charged with second-degree reckless endangerment.

“They knowingly boarded a flight aware of their positive COVID-19 test results, placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death,” Coco Zickos, a spokeswoman for the Kauai Police Department, told NBC News.

According to the police report, the San Francisco International Airport quarantine station ordered them to isolate after testing positive. Instead, they boarded the flight with their 4-year-old son, according to USA Today.

The couple posted bail, which was set at $1,000 each. If convicted, they could face a $2,000 fine and up to a year in jail. The couple’s close contacts are being identified, instructed to self-isolate and offered a test, according to ABC News.

Both Hawaii and United Airlines policies say people who test positive for COVID-19 aren’t allowed to fly. The United Airlines policy states that passengers can’t travel for at least 10 days after the date of a positive test, and they can’t fly until they have two negative tests given 24 hours apart.

“Prior to traveling, all United customers are required to complete a ‘Ready to Fly’ checklist acknowledging they have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days,” an airline spokesperson told NBC News.

Now United Airlines officials are investigating the case further to decide whether the couple can fly with the company in the future.

Last week, Hawaii Gov. David Ige approved the island of Kauai’s request to return to the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers, which went into effect on Wednesday, ABC News reported. The restriction applies to all incoming travelers, including residents and visitors.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

NBC News, “Couple who tested positive for Covid are arrested after boarding flight.”

USA Today, “Couple arrested for boarding United Airlines flight to Hawaii after testing positive for COVID-19.”

ABC News, “Hawaii couple arrested after boarded flight knowing they had COVID-19: Health officials.”

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