A Canadian man has been arrested after joking about having the Wuhan coronavirus on a plane.
Monday’s WestJet flight 2702 from Toronto to Montego Bay, Jamaica, returned to Toronto after a man claimed to be feeling unwell after having just returned from China. At some point during the flight, the man stood up and announced:
“I just came back from Hunan province, the capital of the coronavirus…I’m not feeling too well. Thank you.”
Never mind the fact that Wuhan is in the Hubei province, but…
At that point the crew followed standard infectious-disease protocols “out of an abundance of caution,” and the flight ended up returning to Toronto.
By the time the plane turned around it was already just south of the border between Georgia and Florida, so in total the plane was in the air for over four hours. That’s roughly the same as the usual flight time for this route. Suffice to say that this inconvenienced all 243 passengers onboard.
The passenger was inspected medically, and was found to be free of symptoms. He has been charged criminally, and he has a court case on March 9.
What was the guy’s motive?
“I’m an artist. Any publicity for myself is good publicity.
I had my camera with me — I was looking to get a viral video. I was looking to get it up on all the social-media platforms. I figured it would invoke some kind of reaction — not on the plane, more people seeing on social media going, ‘wow, this kid’s got some balls,’ or, ‘this kid is crazy,’ whatever it is.”
The man says that on a previous flight he got up and made a similar announcement, except he simply said that Lil Wayne’s new album dropped, and that everyone should get it. Passengers had no problem with it, and the plane landed without incident.
Yet somehow he doesn’t see the difference between that and suggesting to other passengers that he has the coronavirus. The man admits that what he did was wrong, though still doesn’t appear particularly remorseful.
Here’s an interview with the passenger:
I hope the guys get a serious fine or some jail time for this.