Shortly after take-off, the 28-year-old stood up and got the attention of the passengers around him.
He then said: 'I just came back from Hunan province, the capital of the coronavirus… I’m not feeling too well. Thank you.'
Airline staff wearing masks moved Potoc to the back of the plane to sit by himself while the flight returned to Canada to make an emergency landing.
He was forced to wear masks and gloves, while other passengers filmed him being removed from the aircraft.
Afterwards, Potoc, who describes himself as an artist, said he was hoping to create a viral video by posting the footage on social media.
He told Global Media: 'I figured it would invoke some type of reaction. Not on the plane, more people seeing that on social media saying: 'wow, this kid's got balls.''
He admitted the prank had backfired, causing delays to other holidaymakers.
'What I did was wrong. I ruined the flights for 200-odd people,' he said.
Back in Canada, Potoc was tested and found to be disease-free.
He was then arrested on charges of mischief and breach of recognisance, also known as breach of peace bond.
He will appear in court in March.