Jakarta. An Airbus plane carrying 238 Indonesian evacuees from the Chinese coronavirus-stricken city of Wuhan landed at the Hang Nadim Airport on Batam island on Sunday morning.
The commercial plane, operated by Lion Air’s subsidiary Batik Air, arrived at the airport at around 8.45 a.m.
Any passenger coming out of the plane was sprayed with disinfectant by medical staffs in yellow protective coats to follow procedures from the World Health Organization.
The passengers were accompanied by five Foreign Ministry officials who assisted their return from Wuhan and several other cities in Hubei province.
The evacuees then moved to three Air Force personnel planes that took them to the Natuna Island where they were placed in quarantine.
Tight security was applied at Natuna’s Raden Sadjad Airport, which was completely closed to the public.
The government said earlier all the evacuees would undergo medical examination for two weeks on the island to make sure that they are not infected by the deadly virus.
Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said there should have been seven more Indonesian citizens to be evacuated from Wuhan.
"The number of evacuees should have been 245," Terawan said in Natuna, Riau Islands province.
He explained that four Indonesian citizens refused to return and prefered to stay in the Chinese city. They have signed a statement on the refusal.
Three other Indonesians failed to pass the Chinese government’s obligatory medical check and were not allowed to leave the city, he said.
"That gave us security because all the evacuees were deemed healthy by the Chinese government," Terawan said.
However, Indonesian authorities will place quarantine to make sure that the virus won’t spread in the country, he said.
"It’s now our turn to make sure if they are really healthy. We are following procedures from the WHO," Terawan said.
Indonesian Military (TNI) Chief of Staff Chief Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said the Natuna island was selected to accommodate the evacuees because it’s far from residential areas with sufficient healthcare facilities managed by the military.
"The military hospital can accommodate up to 300 patients,” Hadi said.