Coronavirus: Couple arrested in Hawaii after boarding plane knowing they tested positive

A couple from Hawaii is facing charges of second-degree reckless endangering after they boarded a plane, knowing they had tested positive for the coronavirus, authorities said.

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According to police, the couple, Wesley Moribe, 41, and Courtney Peterson, 46, of Kaua’i, knew they had tested positive for COVID-19 when they boarded a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Lihue Airport over the weekend, Kaua’i police spokesperson Coco Zickos said Wednesday.

Officials said the couple participated in California’s pre-travel testing program and received a COVID-19 test before their flight, Hawaii News Now reported. They were taken to the airport’s quarantine station at San Francisco International Airport, the television station reported.

They had been instructed by San Francisco International Airport officials to isolate and not travel, Zickos said.

However, Moribe and Peterson decided to board the flight anyway, accompanied by a 4-year-old child, Hawaii News Now reported.

In a statement, Kaua’i police said the two were stopped after arriving in Lihue. They were escorted by police to a designated isolation room for further processing and investigation and then arrested, KNTV reported.

“They knowingly boarded a flight aware of their positive COVID-19 test results, placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death,” Kaua’i police said.

The two were released after posting bail of $1,000 each, Hawaii News Now reported.

Child Protective Services was notified after the child was released into the care of a family member, KITV reported.

“The Kauai Police Department, working alongside our county and state partners, remain diligent in protecting the health and safety of our island,” Chief of Police Todd G. Raybuck told KITV. “We continue to request visitors and residents alike to follow the governor’s emergency rules and take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

United Airlines issued a statement after the arrests.

“The health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority, which is why we have various policies and procedures in place as part of a multi-layered approach to create a safer travel environment,” United Airlines stated. “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. We are investigating this matter further to assess these passengers’ ability to fly on United in the future.”

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