Malaysians and their families evacuated from Wuhan to be quarantined 14 days upon arrival.
An AirAsia flight left for Wuhan, China, this afternoon to evacuate a group of Malaysians following the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
A total of 141 people, comprising 117 Malaysians and 24 non-citizens (spouses and children), will go through health screenings at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan before being allowed to board the flight back to Malaysia.
The flight also brought 500,000 rubber gloves to help China in its fight against the outbreak which has seen more than 17,000 positive cases and at least 361 deaths in the country.
“At 3.50pm today, AirAsia flight AK8264, together with 12 crew and eight members of a task force, left from klia2 to Wuhan, China, to bring back 141 people,” said Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also the chairman of the National Disaster Management Agency, in a statement today.
“Right now, we cannot confirm how long it will take for us to go through the health screening and immigration and to get the approval to depart,” she added.
Wan Azizah said that the flight’s passengers – which on the return trip, will include six officials from the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing – will undergo another screening at the Air Disaster Unit (ADU) in KLIA once they land.
“Those who have symptoms will be brought straight to the hospital while the rest will be brought to a quarantine centre where they will be quarantined for 14 days,” she added.
Those infected with the coronavirus may take up to 14 days before the symptoms start to show.
The passengers will be quarantined at an undisclosed location and barred from receiving visitors.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said they might be allowed to stay in touch with relatives “through telecommunication.”
“The passengers, officers involved in the mission and crew members will not enter the building of the terminal.
“Instead, they will be transported using a special bus to the Air Disaster Centre (ADU), in which they will undergo a decontamination process and a health entry screening.
“I was informed that the Fire and Rescue Department’s Hazardous Materials Unit (HAZMAT) together with officers from the Health Ministry is already at the ADU,” he told reporters today.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) last Friday declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.
On Sunday, the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing sent an advance team to Wuhan to coordinate and assist in the evacuation process.