- Antara Foto/via REUTERS
- Airplane passengers who flew from Wuhan, China to Batam, Indonesia were sprayed with a substance when they disembarked, according to photos and videos.
- According to the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 243 people returned from China’s Hubei province and are now in isolation at Natuna Island in Indonesia.
- The government said all passengers who returned to the country had passed health screenings before being allowed off of the Batik Air flight.
- The death toll from the novel coronavirus has reached 304 with all but one occurring in China.
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Passengers exiting a flight from Wuhan, China to Batam, Indonesia can be seen being sprayed with a substance as they disembark from a plane in photos and videos posted online.
In one video posted to Twitter on February 2, passengers can be seen exiting a Batik Air Indonesia flight. When they disembark, individuals wearing yellow hazmat suits and backpacks with the word “ALKOHOL” inscribed on them briefly spray each passenger with a clear mist. It’s not immediately clear what the passengers were being sprayed with, though Alkohol translates to Alcohol. A caption on photos of the spray from Reuters, also posted on February 2, taken by Indonesia-based Antara Foto, refers to it as an “antiseptic.”
“Indonesian citizens in Wuhan have arrived in Batam,” a translation of the tweet says.
According to The Jakarta Post, an English-language newspaper located in Indonesia’s capital city, the passengers arrived in the Indonesian city on Batam on February 2. A spokesperson for the nation’s president said that the passengers on the plane consisted of people who had been trapped in Wuhan and other cities in the Hubei province amid the city’s travel shutdown, The Jakarta Post reported.
WNI di Wuhan sudah tiba di Batam. Dan alhamdulillah semua sementara ini dinyatakan sehat. Meskipun demikian mereka tetap akan menjalani karantina selama bbrp hari di Natuna pic.twitter.com/zD7Em6ik9m
— ꦩꦸꦂꦠꦝ (@MurtadhaOne1) February 2, 2020
“All have been declared healthy according to World Health Organization standards,” the spokesperson said Sunday, per The Jakarta Post.
The plane landed in Batam at around 8:45 a.m. local time in the city and the passengers were expected to be transported to Natuna Island to remain in isolation on a military base with medical facilities for 14 days before being released.
A press release from the Indonesia Ministry of Foreign Affairs said 243 people arrived in the country on the flight, 237 being Indonesian citizens, 1 being the husband of an Indonesian citizen, and 5 being members of the “Advance team of the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing.” Seven Indonesian citizens stayed in China, four by choice and three because they did not meet health requirements for the flight.
A request for comment to the office of the Indonidea Ministry of Health was not returned, though a photo posted alongside the press release shows the passengers being sprayed with a substance. All passengers have made the journey to Natuna, the press release said.
The around 245 on board were flown from Bantam to Natuna on three separate military aircraft, The Jakarta Post reported.
The news comes as the novel coronavirus continues to spread and take lives. The death toll now stands at 304 with all deaths but one that occurred in the Philippines having occurred in China. At least eight cases of the virus that originated in Wuhan have been reported in the US. President Donald Trump on January 31 announced a ban on all foreign nationals who had been to China within the past two weeks and restrictions on US citizens re-entering the country from the Hubei province.
A student at the University of Massachusetts Boston was confirmed on February 1 to have the virus after returning from Wuhan.