‘You are writing how bad it is in China, actually all’s well’: plane with Russian tourists back in Kazan

342 Russian tourists did tests for coronavirus at the airport and gave consent to medical examination

‘You are writing how bad it is in China, actually all’s well’: plane with Russian tourists back in Kazan
Photo: Maksim Platonov

The penultimate plane from China landed at the Kazan airport on 31 January. Another 342 Russian tourists left the resort of Hainan Island. After a nine-hour-long flight, the passengers had to go through not only passport control but also several stages of epidemiologic control: give a throat swab for the new type of coronavirus, go through thermal imaging and give consent to keeping in touch with nurses. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report about the medical examination of the tourists from China, why they began to demonstratively sneeze and cough on camera upon arrival in Kazan and if the situation in the Celestial Kingdom was really awful.

The Chinese are doing a great job: the locals are concerned, while we keep having a rest as we did”

The penultimate plane with Russian tourists arrived from China to Kazan on 31 January. F7 9734 charter flight operated by IFly from Sanya transported 342 passengers. At the airport of Kazan, they had to go through tightened quarantine examination, as Liliya Galimova, the head of the Tatarstan president’s press service, had warned us. According to the timetable, Airbus A233 was to land at 10 a.m. sharp, but the plane took off in China with an hour-long delay, and the time of arrival constantly was postponed. Brigades of epidemiologists and several ambulance cars had been on duty at Terminal 1A since the morning.

Specialists in masks examined every passenger in the Arrivals zone armed with portable and fixed wireless thermographs

Onlookers didn’t manage to see nurses in protective clothing at terminals for passengers. First, they worked on the plane: they took the passengers’ temperature and swabs from their nose and throat. Specialists in masks examined every passenger in Arrivals zone armed with portable and fixed contactless thermographs. The instruction suggested taking everybody’s temperature and immediate isolation for additional tests for the new type of coronavirus if the hoped-for temperature wasn’t 36,6 degrees.

While the time of estimated arrival of the flight was changing, the Russian tourists’ relatives and friends began to gather in the waiting area: it is those who managed to leave their workplace. Many hastened to put single-use masks on as soon as they entered the airport. Some airport employees followed their example — specialists of the cleaning service, the control team, sellers in souvenir stores.

Some airport employees put single-use masks on — specialists of the cleaning service, the control team, sellers in souvenir stores

The plane with Russians aboard landed only at about 11 o’clock. Passport control and medical examination took about another hour. In the end, the first passengers began to “come to light” by midday.

“I wouldn’t say that the examination was long, all services worked fast, but we have children, we are tired, of course,” Arina Khasanova who was on holiday with two sons on Hainan told Realnoe Vremya. “They took the temperature with thermographs first, then they used “guns”. Everything was fine on the plane, nobody felt bad, and in China in general all was well, only all the Chinese had masks on.”

“All’s right, you are hyping it more, we are starting to be scared when we read you. You are writing how bad it is there, while actually, all is well. The Chinese are doing a great job, they are taking all preventive measures, wearing masks, everything is fine in the resort area. The locals are concerned, while we keep having a rest as we did,” another citizen of Kazan Konstantin Romanov who is back from holiday in Sanya claimed with a smile.

The plane with Russians aboard landed only at about 11 o’clock. Passport control and medical examination took about another hour

Most of the tourists left the control area with a smile, chuckling and sniggering at journalists who were in a hurry to find out details of the examination and the latest news from Hainan. Somebody even began to dramatically sneeze and cough after they noticed TV cameras hinting the groundless attention to their return to the homeland. Nevertheless, almost none of the tourists who left the plane had protective masks on and rushed to take them off.

“Some beaches closed on Hainan, but we were lucky: everything operated around our hotel”

The tourists who were back from holiday said that the Chinese anyway closed beaches in some resorts because of the risk of new coronavirus outbreaks, but most of them are working as usual. But the resorts have been notably emptier, foreign tourists are hurrying up and leaving the potentially unfavourable region.

“Some beaches closed on Hainan, but we were lucky: everything operated around our hotel. In general the locals are wearing masks, the Chinese are even not recommended to go on holiday abroad because of the outbreak of this coronavirus, almost nobody is seen in crowded places. While almost none of our tourists are wearing masks, they aren’t scared of anything, they are having a rest as they did. Only Russian tourists are there now, nobody else,” Alfiya Gazizullina said upon arrival.

“You know, the Chinese are doing a great job, they are all wearing masks. Poor them, they are afraid of falling sick more than we are. Everything is fine there. But there is no Chinese on the beach because they are all recommended to go home on the holidays,” Inne Khmelyova confirmed to Realnoe Vremya. “They are all wearing masks. While no Russian has it. The rooms were constantly aired in our hotel, we washed our hands and were responsible for ourselves.”

All tourists who returned from China compulsorily did tests and filled in special forms having confirmed their readiness to seek medical advice in case of any divergence or changes in their state and warn specialists about their recent trip to Hainan.

At this moment there haven’t been officially confirmed cases of coronavirus brought to Russia through the airport of Kazan. According to the Kazan airport’s latest information, IFly was to operate the last flight from China to Kazan on 3 February. The plane was en route Sanya — Ufa — Kazan.

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By Olga Golyzhbina. Photo: Maksim Platonov
Tatarstan