A special AirAsia flight carrying a total of 89 people from the Chinese city of Wuhan safely landed at KLIA this morning, 26 February
It was the second such flight this month to bring back Malaysians who were stranded in China amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
According to Bernama, AirAsia flight AK8265 landed at 6.50am today.
The flight was chartered specifically for a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) mission initiated by the Malaysian government to evacuate the rest of the Malaysians left behind during the first mission that took place earlier this month.
Of the 89 people onboard the flight from Wuhan, 46 are Malaysians, 20 are non-citizens who are family members of the Malaysian nationals, 12 are crew members, nine are government representatives, and two are officers from the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the mission was to bring back 75 Malaysians and their family members, however, nine of them failed to come onboard
The ministry said that out of the nine, six individuals were denied boarding the flight at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport due to health reasons.
"One passenger withdrew, also from health reasons, without being present at the airport, another could not make the trip because of work commitments, while one more individual could not leave Wuhan due to logistical issues," the statement to Bernama read.
The flight departed from Wuhan in the early morning at 1.45am.
Meanwhile, all the 66 passengers will undergo health screening at the Air Disaster Unit (ADU) in KLIA
After the screening, the group will be placed under a 14-day observation at the Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT) in Seremban, reported Malaysiakini.
During the period, the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) said no one is allowed to visit the 66 individuals, including their close family members.
"Family members or friends are asked to understand the situation and cooperate," NADMA said.
The individuals will undergo health checks twice a day while being quarantined and those who are found infected with the COVID-19 will be sent to Tuanku Jaafar Hospital.
The second mission was carried out despite the current state of political uncertainty looming over Malaysia
NADMA confirmed yesterday, 25 February, that the humanitarian mission to China would proceed even though the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition government has collapsed.
Since Monday, 24 February, the Ministry of Health is no longer headed by Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad and Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has stopped serving as the Deputy Prime Minister, whose office oversees NADMA.
On social media, photos of the mission have gone viral with many netizens commending authorities and the staff involved
A photo showing a health officer overseeing three children clad in oversized hospital gowns was especially loved by many Twitter users
Some have voiced that they miss Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad serving as the Health Minister.