Hawaii lineman faces charges of violating virus quarantine

HONOLULU — A University of Hawaii football player was among those arrested on suspicion of violating a 14-day quarantine imposed on travelers to control the spread of the coronavirus, officials said.

The COVID-19 Joint Information Center said Venasio Vaipulu was arrested Monday by special agents from the attorney general’s office after a witness reported he had returned from a trip on May 18 but left his designated quarantine location almost every day.

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It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had an attorney. A voicemail message left with the public defender’s office was not immediately returned. University of Hawaii spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said the school had no comment.

An emergency order issued by the governor requires that people arriving from out of state or traveling between islands stay in their lodgings for 14 days. They may leave only for medical emergencies.

Vaipulu is listed on the football team’s roster as Solo Vaipulu, a junior offensive lineman. Last year, he played in 10 games and started in nine.

Agents arrested Vaipulu on suspicion of a self-quarantine violation and unsworn falsification to authority. He was booked, charged and his bail was set at $4,000.

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Hawaii law enforcement personnel have arrested dozens of travelers suspected of quarantine violations since March 26, when the requirement took effect.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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