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Couple arrested for boarding United Airlines flight to Hawaii after testing positive for COVID-19

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 12/3/2020 Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY
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A Hawaiian couple that boarded a flight from San Francisco to Lihue, Hawaii after knowingly testing positive for COVID-19 has been arrested. 

The Kaua‘i Police Department confirmed to USA TODAY that Wailua residents Wesley Moribe and Courtney Peterson were taken into custody Sunday for "placing the passengers of the flight in danger of death."

According to a police report, Moribe, 41, and Peterson, 46, were ordered by the Quarantine Station at the San Francisco International Airport to isolate after testing positive for the highly contagious virus. 

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The couple, however, defied airport orders and boarded a United Airlines flight from San Francisco to the islands. Moribe and Peterson were accompanied by a 4-year-old child. 

Hawaii tightens its travel rules, requires negative COVID-19 tests prior to arrival

Once the couple arrived at the Lihue Airport, they were identified by officers that "escorted them to a designated isolation room for further processing and investigation," KPD Public Information Officer Coco Zickos said in a statement. 

Moribe and Peterson were charged with reckless endangering. They both posted bail at $1,000 each.

In a statement to USA TODAY, United Airlines representatives said they were "investigating this matter further to assess these passengers’ ability to fly on United in the future." The company statement added that the "health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority."

Todd G. Raybuck, Kauai's Chief of Police, concurred, saying the police "remain diligent in protecting the health and safety of our island."

"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," Raybuck said in the statement.

Last week, Gov. David Ige approved the island of Kauai's request for a temporary moratorium from the state's pre-travel testing program, which means all visitors arriving on the island will have to quarantine for 14 days. The state's testing program allows travelers who test negative for the novel coronavirus in advance of travel to bypass a 14-day quarantine.

a man posing for a photo: Wesley Moribe and Courtney Peterson were arrested after they knowingly boarded a flight from San Francisco to Lihue, Hawaii after testing positive for COVID-19. © Kaua‘i Police Department Wesley Moribe and Courtney Peterson were arrested after they knowingly boarded a flight from San Francisco to Lihue, Hawaii after testing positive for COVID-19.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Couple arrested for boarding United Airlines flight to Hawaii after testing positive for COVID-19

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