Passengers Being Sprayed Before 14 Day Quarantine After Leaving Wuhan

Batik Air flew passengers stranded in Wuhan, China to Batam, Indonesia on Sunday. All 243 people on board had been screened for coronavirus prior to boarding. Then once they made it to Indonesia they were flown on board military aircraft to Natuna Island for quarantine.

Disembarking in Batam everyone was sprayed with an unknown substance, though individuals in hazmat suits had backpacks that read ‘ALHOKOL’ and it’s separately been reported that the substance was “an antispetic.”

Everyone on board had already been ‘declared healthy’ prior to the 14 day forced quarantine.

Is this an overreaction? Despite legitimate civil liberties concerns about forced quarantines in the United States there’s barely been a glimmer of opposition. Most people reflexively defer to a powerful executive (this may help President Trump’s re-election if stories of the virus persist). No one wants to say something is an overreaction and turn out to be wrong.

Indeed I considered writing something about passengers avoiding Hong Kong (Hubei is 500 miles inland), and U.S. airlines cancelling flights as a result of poor loads and crew being unwilling to fly – coronavirus cases in Hong Kong have reportedly been limited – but who wants someone to interpret that as advice to travel to Hong Kong and then be one of the people who actually gets sick?

While there’s much advocacy in the U.S. from candidates across both parties for cracking down on social media companies, using anti-trust law and passing new campaign laws, Indonesia’s government already has such power and is prosecuting a woman for posting incorrect information about a coronavirus case there. Meanwhile China is warning countries within its sphere of influence against ‘overreacting’ to coronavirus.

Meanwhile Emirates is eliminating flights to China except for Beijing telling departing passengers there to show up 8 hours prior to flight for screening and Air China is looking to cut its U.S. flying to 7 a week flying to San Francisco via Los Angeles and to Washington Dulles via New York JFK.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Horrible
    Reminds me of my fears of the days when they sprayed pesticide on people and in the cabin overseas
    Dangerous stuff yet they said all natural!

  2. I think it’s okay to spritz the pax with alcohol. It’s not going to kill them–but the virus might. Also, look at all the countries we pax fly into where the crew walks through the cabin with those aerosol sprays going full blastic, and we have no idea what’s in those cans. What’s a little alcohol must going to do, other than potentially disinfect the pax?

    Just ask those pax if they would rather be listed with alcohol or remain in Wuhan. Guess what their answers will be.

  3. Scenario: You order something online and when it arrives at your house, you notice the the point of origin was Wuhan, China.

    Surely the box does not have symptoms but wouldn’t you feel more comfortable knowing that box was “disinfected”?

    Remember not all carriers will exhibit symptoms or become infected.

  4. I just had to laugh. These poor people come off the plane and guys in hazmat suits are spraying them. That can’t be based on sound science. In terms of the quarantines I don’t give a crap about civil rights liberties. The inconvenience of being detained for a short period of time does not supersede the wellbeing of society as a whole. As long as its based on sound science they just have to deal.

  5. If it is isopropyl 91% alcohol as long as one closes his or her eyes and holds ones breath there is no issue. I use rubbing alcohol everyday to disinfect after throwing out the garbage in my building or checking the mail box and touching stairwell door handles or elevator buttons.

    From a civil liberties perspective the only thing that should occur is people being allowed to be quarantined at home if they display no symptoms or even if they have symptoms and live in a rural private house, be quarantined there. As long as people agree to not break quarantine conditions and allow exit doors to be sealed with hazard warning tape, there isn’t much risk to it.

  6. @Gary said: “Despite legitimate civil liberties concerns about forced quarantines in the United States there’s barely been a glimmer of opposition.”
    (1) “legitimate civil liberties”. I am usually with you on civil liberties issues. However, in the case of a true pandemic or epidemic, forced quarantine may be the most (read only) effective method for preventing spread and preventing a severe death toll. These quarantines have been done throughout history, in every country. In my opinion, medical quarantines are non-controversial, somewhat like forced forced vaccination of children.
    (2) However, there is a legitimate concern about serial pandemic panics. So far, the coronavirus has not killed more people worldwide than the flu. Overreaction is a serious concern. I think SARS, Swine Flu, Bird Flu led to panics. Running around willy nilly quarantining people every time there is a new disease should be avoided, because there is always a new disease somewhere in the world.
    (3) Blaming Trump for the USA reaction to the coronavirus is absurd. The world is reacting to the Chinese shutting down travel to over 50 million people and shutting down Macau. Most major companies have been shutting down businesses in China (again, not a Trump executive order). Examples are Starbucks shutting down many coffee shops and Disneyland shutting down its parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

  7. @Mark, if you look at the video, it appears that passengers were sprayed directly. My concern is that the spray could be carcinogenic or lead to other health issues.

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