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KUALA LUMPUR: Although it has been stranded on Pulau Tioman since the Movement Control Order (MCO) took effect on March 18, local residents feel safe as the island is free of Covid-19 infections. Kampung Tekek village head Zurkarnaini Hamid said ferry services to Pulau Tioman had been halted during the MCO to ensure no outsiders landed on the island, located off the coast of Pahang. “Thus far, the island is free from Covid-19. No one has tested positive for the virus and we feel safe here. “This is thanks to the movement restrictions imposed here. We want to ensure no one either enters or leaves the island to prevent the spread of the virus. “Like everywhere else in the country, we strictly adhere to the MCO, practice social distancing, stay home and take preventive measures to protect ourselves,” he told the New Straits Times. Zurkarnaini added that frequent police patrols around the island had made the atmosphere safer and secure.

He said some 3,500 residents in six villages — Kampung Tekek, Kampung Salang, Kampung Juara, Kampung Mukut, Kampung Genting, and Kampung Paya — had ample food supply. “Although we cannot leave the island, there is no problem in getting food supply as the grocery stores still operate as usual. “And the authorities are monitoring the situation on the island, too. They will send us aid should we face any problem.” However, he said, villagers had lost their source of income during the MCO as many of them depended on the tourism activities on the island. “They now have to rely on assistance from the federal and state governments, but everything is fine.

“The state government has distributed basic necessities such as rice and cooking oil to the villagers.” On the 85 foreign tourists who were stranded on the Island, Zurkarnaini said their welfare was being taken care of. “They were here before the MCO was enforced. “They chose to stay put because their countries of origin pose a higher risk of Covid-19 infection. “They are staying in chalets and are well taken care of by the operators. “They may leave the island any time they want with the permission of police.” Source-NST