Jakarta. The Indonesian Air Force has put three aircraft on standby as the country's diplomats continue to lobby the Chinese government to allow the evacuation of hundreds of Indonesians from cities in China on lockdown from the coronavirus outbreak.
The 2019 nCoV novel coronavirus was first detected in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province and by Wednesday it has infected 6,057 people – the number doubling in just two days. A total of 132 had died from the pneumonia-like infection and 110 had recovered.
The Chinese government has banned 56 million people from leaving their cities in Hubei, including 244 Indonesians living there.
The Indonesian government has decided to evacuate them but is still waiting for a green light for the evacuation operation from the Chinese government.
China has banned transportation to and from the Wuhan area.
In the meantime, the Indonesian Air Force is preparing for the complex operation.
"We've prepared [two] Boeing 737 and one C130 Hercules aircraft. This is a decision made two days ago with the Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Law and Human Rights and the Foreign Affairs Ministry," First Marshal Fajar Adriyanto, the head of the Air Force's information desk, said on Wednesday.
He said Air Force personnel from its health battalion have also been training for the operation, but it is not known how many of them would be deployed to China.
Fajar said the team was still waiting for instructions from the Foreign Affairs Ministry for their deployment.
"We've prepared anti-contagion gears for the crew. Their food must also be under strict supervision," Fajar said.
He said the Air Force has also readied a new facility to quarantine the crew when they return from China.