Shocking pictures show students being sprayed with disinfectant by fearful officials as they exit a plane from China’s coronavirus “ground zero”.
The images of passengers flanked by hazmat suits as they arrive in Indonesia capture the desperation and fear surrounding the killer bug in a nation which currently has no confirmed cases.
The 245 Indonesians on board faced the very real prospect of contracting the deadly disease after spending more than a week in Wuhan under a lockdown put in place by the Chinese government to contain the outbreak.
Indonesia lobbied China to allow Indonesians to leave the area and got the green light on Friday.
The Southeast Asian country also agreed to send medical supplies and equipment which is currently under short supply in the province.
The evacuees arrived at Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, Riau Islands, on Sunday morning and were immediately directed to passenger planes operated by the Indonesian air force to be flown to Natuna Island for quarantine.
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They disembarked one by one with long intervals in between, in which officers wearing hazmat suits checked on the passengers and sprayed them with disinfectant.
Officers then escorted the locals to a military base in Natuna equipped with hospital facilities for observation.
They must be quarantined for at least 14 days before being allowed to return to their families, which will allow authorities to monitor them throughout the virus’ estimated incubation period.
The military base is around 6 kilometres away from the nearest residential area and seaports, minimising the risk of virus contagion should the passengers be carrying coronavirus.
Presidential spokesperson Fadjroel Rachman said the 245 Indonesians previously trapped in the locked-down city of Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province are in good health.
Mr Rachman said in statement on Sunday: “All have been declared healthy according to World Health Organisation standards.”
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It comes as a 44-year-old man has died from coronavirus in the Philippines, in the first fatality from the virus outside of China.
The man has become the 305th victim of the virus and the number of reported cases is now more than 14,000.
His death was confirmed by a Dr Rabi Abeyasinghe from the World Health Organisation who said “we need to keep in mind” that the man was a resident of Wuhan.
“San Lazaro Hospital and the Department of Health assured that infection prevention and control measures are in place, including personal protective equipment to health workers,” he said.
Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in Hubei province, has been quarantined for more than a week after it was reported the outbreak started at a meat market in December.
More than 130 cases have been reported in 25 other countries including the US, France, Russia, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission