Nope, this ain’t a Monsters Inc. cosplay showcase. Fully clad in bright yellow protective suits and toting canisters of chemicals, Indonesian officials were filmed spraying Batik Air passengers with mists of disinfectant as they disembarked a plane.
The passengers were, after all, returning home from Wuhan, the epicentre of a coronavirus crisis that has so far racked a death toll of 425 in China itself.
Footage of the unusual deplaning procedure has since gone viral on social media — a showcase of the calamity’s gravity that has impacted places as far from China as Batam, where the Hang Nadim international airport and the scene of the clip is situated.
Photos and videos show passengers exiting a Batik Air flight on Sunday (Feb 2) morning, only to be greeted by a generous dousing of disinfectant liquid on the tarmac. Though the labels on the backpacks are noted as “ALKOHOL” (which translates to alcohol in Indonesian), it’s more likely that what’s being sprayed is antiseptic, as noted by Reuters.
Here’s some context: Indonesia sent a chartered plane on Feb 1 to fetch 250 of its citizens stranded in cities in the Hubei province. They were flown to Batam, where they will be transported to Natuna island in the Riau province to be quarantined for two weeks at a military facility, reported The Straits Times.
Indonesia’s foreign minister Retno Marsudi informed reporters that health protocols would be observed during the course of the trip from China to Indonesia, and will continue post-arrival.
The evacuees have all been declared healthy according to World Health Organisation standards, The Jakarta Post quoted a presidential spokesperson.
Online, netizens have been taken aback by the footage, commenting on the strict procedure. And of course, their familiar suits.