A sobao Martínez. What is a needle in a haystack in front of the Herculean task of finding one of these buns in China. Therefore, its appearance has not gone unnoticed, along with a coffee with hot milk and a ham and cheese sandwich, at breakfast served on board the charter flight this afternoon [por ayer] He has returned to Madrid to 21 repatriated Spaniards from Wuhan, including the writer. They leave behind a city isolated from the rest of the world, the epicenter of the coronavirus 2019-nCoV, which has already caused 259 deaths and more than 11,000 infected in China. Everyone is back at home and will spend the next 14 days, the maximum period for incubation of the virus, in quarantine at the Gómez Ulla military hospital in the capital. By opening the plastic wrap they have been able to verify that, little by little, normalcy makes its way back into their lives.
The aircraft that has brought them back has been a Boeing 747 Jumbo, known as “the queen of the heavens” for its enormous size. This two-story model has the capacity to transport 487 passengers, but today it has only carried about 120. Taking advantage of the empty spaces, the organizing team has chosen to sit a person in each row and, thus, maximize the distance between they. Clinical studies show that the ability to spread the virus It is greatly reduced to more than a meter away. In the front part, an isolation area has been prepared in case any of the passengers show worrying symptoms during the 12-hour journey. Luckily, it has remained empty.
This plane is owned by Wamos, an airline from Spain, and the crew members are Spanish. All of them are protected with large white masks, in the seats one is arranged for each passenger. “I am very happy to be here and be able to take you back home,” says one of the hostesses, smiling.
The ship’s engines start at 9:30 local time, 12 hours after the operation coordinated by the Spanish consulate began inside the city of Wuhan, with the evacuees reaching the checkpoint in private cars at just outside the airport. By the time the plane takes off, few eyes remain open. After a night of enormous tension after 10 complicated days, the passengers finally rest. In addition to British and Spanish, four Danish citizens and one Norwegian fly on board. Asked in this regard, the British authorities acknowledge not knowing what will happen to them or where they will be placed in quarantine: another sample of the amount of details of this plan that have had to be improvised on the fly.
Applause on board
The acting British consul of Wuhan, who goes on board and has led the operation on the ground, addresses the passengers through the PA before landing on a military base of the United Kingdom area forces in Oxford . “Thank you for your extraordinary patience. What we have achieved, overcoming extraordinary obstacles, is an exceptional achievement. ” People on board burst into applause.
Upon arriving in Oxford, the sky is gray, as if to prove to the British that they are already beginning to disembark that they are really back in their land. There are waiting for ambulances, police, armed forces and several buses. A new crew enters the plane – the previous one has already exceeded the amount of work hours allowed, almost 29 years ago, but they were able to rest in Hanoi while waiting for permission from the Chinese authorities. A team of Spanish doctors also enters, who after greeting are greeted with a standing ovation.
As it threatened it starts to rain when the aircraft takes off again, even more empty. At 7 pm in Madrid and with the night lying on top, we landed at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base. Only then is it confirmed that the four Danish citizens and the Norwegian are waiting for them on the track jet of the armed forces of Denmark, which will take them immediately to their country.
They measure the temperature on board: nobody exceeds 37 degrees. Then, a police convoy formed by more than a dozen vans and two ambulances escort us on the way to the hospital. A medical examination awaits us there, the first of many to come in the next 14 days. From the hotel to the hospital, it has been more than thirty hours of travel. While in Wuhan it seemed hard to believe that we would be back at home. Now it seems strange to think that we were once there, and that for breakfast there were no sobaos Martínez.