Instagrammer thrown off plane after yelling he had coronavirus in 'prank'
Originating in China, the number of cases of Coronavirus reportedly stands at 24,622. At the time of writing, the death toll is 493, but 990 people have recovered, as per WorldOMeter which is providing live updates.
Now, an Instagrammer has been thrown off a plane after yelling that he has coronavirus in a "prank".
The incident took place onboard a flight from Toronto to Jamaica and was carried out by 28-year-old Potok Philippe from Ontario, Canada, causing the plane to turn around mid-flight.
This comes just a day after a second cruise ship containing more than 3,000 people was quarantined off Hong Kong after a passenger tested positive for coronavirus.
Yesterday, Philippe was arrested and charged with "mischief" after his actions resulted in the cancellation of his own WestJet flight and a second plane.
The 28-year-old filmed himself telling the other 243 passengers that he had visited "the capital of the coronavirus" and was not feeling well.
He told City News: “It would be something else if I said hey guys I have a bomb strapped to me, I have a weapon on me, people blew it out of proportion. To me, it was simply a joke.This Wuhan medic broke down in tears because of the stress she's under:
"About midway through the flight, I stood up, pulled my video camera out – I was going to post it to Instagram, send it to 6ixbuzz so it goes viral."
Philippe, whose real name is James Potok, recounted to the news outlet exactly what he told the other passengers.
He said: "Can I get everybody's attention, please. I just came back from Hunan province, the capital of the coronavirus. I'm not feeling too well. Thank you."
Per Business Insider, the outbreak actually started in Wuhan, which is located in China's Hubei province.
The 28-year-old was then forced to wear protective clothing and a mask and was filmed wearing the items as he left the plane. He later spoke out on the incident, saying that he did not understand the extent of the outbreak.
He said: "I'm very, very sorry for my ignorance and not understanding that its an epidemic, that people hear the word and its become synonymous with threats.
"I thought it would spark a reaction. I did not think what I was doing would be considered illegal [or] warrant that type of response. In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best thing to do."
Philipe was subsequently tested for the virus at Toronto's Pearson Airport, and according to authorities, he showed no symptoms.
The 28-year-old is set to appear in Ontario Court of Justice on March 9.