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.