A Hawaiian couple who boarded a United flight from San Francisco to Lihue, Hawaii, after knowingly testing positive for COVID-19 has been banned from flying with the airline, Leigh Schramm, spokesperson for United Airlines, told USA TODAY in a statement Friday.
“We have banned these customers while we investigate this matter,” Schramm said, noting in the statement that the the “health and safety of our employees and customers is our highest priority.”
The Kaua‘i Police Department confirmed to USA TODAY on Wednesday 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.
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.
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.
After they continued with their plans, despite the positive tests, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alerted authorities in Lihue, Zickos told NBC.
Moribe and Peterson were charged with reckless endangerment. They both posted bail at $1,000 each.
Todd G. Raybuck, Kauai’s Chief of Police said 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.
Contributing: The Associated Press