Miri feels the pinch from lack of Brunei visitors; No new Covid-19 cases in Brunei

  • Brunei
  • Monday, 24 Aug 2020

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Aug 24 (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): Brunei's neighbouring Malaysian town of Miri is feeling the heat of Covid-19.

With travel restrictions still in place, authorities have seen a massive dip in visitors, especially from Brunei, save for essential business travels and runners delivering parcels.

Assistant Minister of Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting recently told the Malaysian media, “With the current situation, there is not much that we can do for Miri.”

Traditionally, he added, “we receive thousands of visitors from Brunei Darussalam and from Limbang, Lawas and Sabah, which pass through Brunei Darussalam”.

However, due to the border closure, Miri is reeling from the impact of the lack of Bruneian visitors.

The tourism industry in the Malaysian state is expected to continue experiencing a slowdown for the remainder of the year.

Datuk Ting said the government, which has adopted a string of precautionary measures, also does not encourage the entry of foreign tourists into the state.

“We admit that the tourism industry is quiet at the moment, and it is expected to continue for a while,” he said, adding that the limit on mass gathering means that tourism-related events are also off the table.

Even state and national events, such as Malaysia Day in Sibu on September 16 will be a low-key affair not unlike the Sarawak Day celebration in Miri on July 22.

He said, “We are worried about the re-emergence of the COVID-19 outbreak in the state, which has been back in the green zone.”

As such, the assistant minister said the state has now turned their focus on domestic tourism, with the recent launch of Sia Sitok Sarawak in Kuching being one of the initiatives.

Given the latest developments in Peninsular Malaysia, he believes that it is better for Sarawakians to consider keeping their holidays strictly within the state until the world has a better handle of the pandemic.

Brunei reported no new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, with the national tally of cases standing at 143.

According to Brunei's Ministry of Health, no more recoveries were recorded, maintaining the total number of recovered cases at 139. There is one active case being treated at the National Isolation Centre, who was recorded on August 19.

Meanwhile, currently there are 630 individuals who are undergoing mandatory isolation at the monitoring centers provided by the government, who have arrived in the country after travelling abroad.

There have been three deaths from Covid-19 in Brunei. - Borneo Bulletin/Asian News Network
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