Man with COVID disguises as wife on flight

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. disguise / dɪsˈgaɪz / (v.) – to change how a person looks to hide his/her identity

    Anthony disguised himself as a clown to surprise his son on his birthday.

  2. negative / ˈnɛg ə tɪv / (adj.) – indicating that a person does not have something, such as a disease or condition, that he/she was tested for

    He tested negative for the virus.

  3. cover / ˈkʌv ər / (n.) – something that’s not what it appears to be and is used to hide something else

    The mafia used the shop as a cover for their illegal business.

  4. lavatory / ˈlæv əˌtɔr i / (n.) – bathroom

    Please use the lavatory upstairs. The one on this floor is being cleaned.

  5. in the grip of (something) / ɪn ðə grɪp ʌv / (idiom) – controlled or greatly affected by something undesirable or unpleasant

    Many people are worried because the country has been in the grip of an economic crisis.


Read the text below.

An Indonesian man with the coronavirus boarded a domestic flight disguised as his wife, wearing a niqab covering his face and carrying fake IDs and a negative PCR test result.

But the cover didn’t last long.

Police say a flight attendant aboard the Citilink plane traveling from Jakarta to Ternate in North Maluku province on July 18 noticed that the man changed clothes in the lavatory.

“He bought the plane ticket with his wife’s name and brought the identity card, the PCR test result and the vaccination card with his wife’s name. All documents are under his wife’s name,” Ternate police Chief Aditya Laksimada said after the man was arrested upon landing. He was identified by only his initials.

Police took him for a COVID-19 test, which came back positive.

The man is currently self-isolating at home and police said the investigation will continue.

Indonesia is in the grip of the worst coronavirus surge in Asia. On July 22, there were 1,383 deaths, around three times the peak in January. (AP)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The man was able to get on the plane simply by wearing a niqab and using his wife’s documents. Do you think the airport or airline should be blamed for this major security incident? How can they improve their process for checking passengers’ identities? Discuss.
  • Police took the man for a COVID-19 test, which came back positive. What, if anything, should the airline do for the other passengers and staff on the same flight as the man (ex. notify them of his positive test, pay for their tests)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The man used false ID and flew despite having COVID. What punishment, if any, should he receive (ex. be banned from using the airline, spend a month in jail)? Why? Discuss.
  • The man used his wife’s identity and documents to get on the plane. Do you think she should also be investigated and/or punished for breaking COVID safety protocols and committing fraud? Why or why not? Discuss.