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Couple arrested for knowingly boarding flight while COVID-19 positive

The Hill logo The Hill 12/3/2020 Aris Folley
a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: Couple arrested for knowingly boarding flight while COVID-19 positive © Getty Images Couple arrested for knowingly boarding flight while COVID-19 positive

A Hawaii couple is facing charges after authorities discovered they boarded a United Airlines flight despite testing positive COVID-19.

According to a local ABC station, the couple had been flying from San Francisco to Kaua'i, where they live, over the weekend.

Before boarding the flight, the couple had reportedly tested positive for the illness while going through pre-travel screenings.

Under United Airlines' current guidelines, customers who test positive for COVID-19 ahead of their flights will not be able to fly for at least 10 days after receiving their diagnosis. And even then, the company states that customers must have "two successive negative COVID-19 results that were administered at least 24 hours apart."

A spokesperson for the airline said in a statement to The Hill on Wednesday that it will be "investigating this matter further to assess these passengers' ability to fly on United in the future."


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"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, including mandating that everyone onboard wears a mask," the company said.

"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," the company added.

The local station reported that Kaua'i Mayor Derek Kawakami confirmed this week that the couple has since been arrested following the incident and are facing charges of second-degree reckless endangerment.

The couple is reportedly in isolation for the time being.

The local station reports that travelers arriving to the island from Wednesday onward will be required to quarantine for at least two weeks.

According to Hawaii State Databook, the island had a population of roughly 64,000 people in 2008.

So far, over 130 COVID-19 cases have been counted on the island so far in recent months. Of those case, only 17 are currently active, including the couple, according to the news station.

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