SEPANG: Malaysian authorities took all the precautionary measures when receiving Malaysians evacuated from coronavirus-hit Wuhan in China at the KL International Airport (KLIA) along with their spouses and children, some of whom are non-Malaysians.
They had arrived home at 5.57 am on board a special AirAsia flight in a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission mounted by the Malaysian government.
The 133 passengers and crew were met, among others, by a Hazardous Material (Hazmat) team and Health Ministry personnel on the tarmac before being taken a short distance by bus to the Air Disaster Unit (ADU) at KLIA where the decontamination process and health screening took place.
Mindful of the danger posed by the virus that has reportedly killed more than 360 people, mostly in China, the government laid out stringent procedures for the group arriving from Wuhan Tianhe International Airport to ensure the elimination of any risk of infecting others.
The plane skipped the normal parking bay at KLIA, coming to a halt instead at a designated area not far from the ADU while those who disembarked from the aircraft did not enter the KLIA building, reducing the risk of contact with other people.
The transfer of passengers and crew from the plane to the ADU took about two hours, with only one bus belonging to the Fire and Rescue Department deployed for this in another move taken to check any spread of the virus.
Even the bus driver was seen wearing protective gear as he undertook the duty of ferrying the face mask-wearing passengers to ADU.
Following the health screening procedure, two Fire and Rescue Department buses left the ADU with police escort at about 9 am for a monitoring facility called the Home Surveillance Centre where those who were brought there will undergo a 14-day quarantine.
Two other buses were also seen leaving the ADU for the monitoring facility later.
So far, there has been no official word on the number of people brought to the facility or taken to hospital.
It was reported earlier that those with symptoms would be sent to hospital while those who cleared the screening would be sent to the monitoring centre which has been put under tight security.
The mission to fly home the Malaysians and non-Malaysians was undertaken by 12 AirAsia crew members, eight mission officers as well as six officials from the Malaysian embassy in Beijing.
The aircraft, which left Malaysia for Wuhan at 3.50 pm yesterday, also brought along 500,000 pairs of rubber gloves as a contribution to the Chinese government which is battling to deal with the coronavirus outbreak which has also spread to dozens of countries.