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COVID-positive couple arrested on reckless endangerment charges after boarding flight with 4-year-old son


What is even happening here?

Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Hawaii authorities arrested a COVID-19-positive couple after they boarded a flight with their 4-year-old child.

What are the details?

According to a Thursday night report from NBC News, police arrested Wesley Moribe and Courtney Peterson, who, authorities said, knew they were positive for coronavirus when they boarded a United Airlines flight from San Francisco, California, to Lihue, Hawaii.

A Kauai police spokesperson told the outlet, "[The couple] knowingly boarded a flight aware of their positive COVID-19 test results, placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death."

The spokesperson said that San Francisco International Airport officials instructed the couple — who live in Wailua, Hawaii — to self-isolate and avoid traveling, but Moribe and Peterson apparently refused.

People reported that California's pre-travel testing system determined that the couple was COVID-19 positive and alerted San Francisco International Airport officials, who took the family into a quarantine station at the airport.

At the time of this reporting, it does not appear that the quarantine station is affiliated with United Airlines.

Officials inside the quarantine station reportedly told them not to board the plane. The couple apparently boarded the plane anyway. United Airlines is working to investigate the incident, according to the outlet.

When Moribe and Peterson landed in Hawaii, police were present and escorted the family to a private isolation room for investigation.

Authorities later arrested the two on second-degree reckless endangerment charges and notified Child Protective Services. The couple posted a $1,000 bail. If convicted on the reckless endangerment charges, the couple could face up to one year in jail as well as a $2,000 fine.

A spokesperson for the Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center on Wednesday said that the state's health department received notice of the positive diagnosis before the couple attempted to travel.

"Rather than quarantining and contacting their health provider, they went on a plane," the spokesperson said in a statement on the incident.

In a news release obtained by CNN, Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck said, "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' website states, "Following CDC guidelines, you will not be able to travel on United for at least 10 days after the date you tested positive and only after you have two successive negative COVID-19 results that were administered at least 24 hours apart."

A spokesperson for the airline told NBC News that passenger safety is the airlines "highest priority."

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