On this side of the world, they’ve been taking the coronavirus outbreak deadly seriously since it came to light. In January, Sabah banned flights from China and after a couple of weeks all Chinese tourism here finished
Then the South Koreans were prevented from coming, which meant almost no tourism. But it worked and we had no coronavirus in Sabah for weeks.
Then on 12th March, Sabah started on the upward curve of COVID-19 cases from zero to 158 by 22nd March (correct at time of writing).
Malaysia is bringing in stricter rules by the day in an attempt to keep people from passing on the virus. Yesterday we were told that if you disobey the rules you could face up to six months in prison and/or a fine.
The local population was already hit by job lay-offs after tourism collapsed, but with borders now closed and the self-isolation policy in place there is deep concern for their economic well-being.
We have been advised not to leave the marina unless it is to buy food or medical supplies. The police are on the edge and we don’t want to get in their way so are happy to keep to ourselves.
The few cruisers here are being careful: no pontoon parties and a good social distance when we pass each other. WhatsApp has become the favoured method of communication around the marina.
Although we are fine for all the basics, we are running low on fresh vegetables, so Jamie took a letter of authority and passport with him for a quick shopping trip on his bicycle.
Against all expectations the supermarket shelves are packed here and there has been no hoarding. He was unnerved by the silence and pretty relieved to come back to the marina.