There are a few reasons why sailors and cruisers should be worried about the coronavirus just as much as our landlubbing friends

Maybe the best thing for each of us to do is take our sailboat out to sea or to anchor off some remote, desert island? The disease is spreading across the world, countries are closing their ports, border control is getting tighter and more restricted, some of us are quarantined in the place we’re currently anchored or moored and some of us will have to re-think our sailing plans.

And then there is the usual problem of renewing visas… We need to keep a daily watch on developments around the world which will inevitably impact all of us. The virus (officially named COVID-19) spreads the disease known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

It is not flu, although some symptoms are similar. At the time of writing, no children have died and most healthy mid-life adults have survived. Health workers are at greater risk because they are being exposed more than the rest of us.

Older people and those with pre-existing medical complaints are the ones taking the brunt of the disease. But it is early days yet and scientists are working hard to gather data from around the world to establish the parameters of the disease.

It is our duty to try to stop its spread and to ensure we do not pass it on (even unwittingly) to our older or infirm friends, workmates and family. Washing hands regularly and for longer than normal is essential to aid in slowing the reach of coronavirus.