COVID-19 live updates: Brunei reports four new cases, taking tally to 54

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Red Fox
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COVID-19 live updates: Brunei reports four new cases, taking tally to 54

Post by Red Fox » Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:20 am

This live blog is a page where Bruneians can get trusted, verified information on the COVID-19 outbreak. We will post news as it happens, debunk misinformation and share the latest updates from the Ministry of Health.

For urgent advice, contact the Health Advice Line at 148.

Reduced operating hours at border control posts
9.16pm | March 16, 2020

The Immigration and National Registration Department has announced reduced operating hours at four of its border checkpoints following the government’s decision yesterday to block all Brunei residents from leaving the country.

In a press statement, the department said the revised operating hours are from 6am to 10pm, effective from March 16 until further notice.

The border checkpoints are: Kuala Lurah Immigration Control Post, Temburong’s Ujung Jalan Control and Inspection Complex and Labu Temporary Control Post as well as Sungai Tujoh Immigration Control Post in Belait.

Temburong bridge to open for public use tomorrow
8.46pm | March 16, 2020

The Temburong bridge will be open to the public tomorrow as Brunei has tightened border controls to contain the coronavirus.

Second Finance and Economy Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah said only Brunei-registered private cars will be allowed to use the bridge, which will open from 6am to 10pm every day.

Brunei-registered commercial vehicles must seek permission from the Bridge Maintenance Office to use the bridge.

The opening of the 30km bridge is expected to reduce the travel time for Temburong residents to commute to Brunei-Muara by allowing them to bypass Limbang, Malaysia.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications YB Dato Seri Setia Abdul Mutalib Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yusof said Temburong passenger boat services will still operate with a limited number of riders.

MoRA announces mosque closures for one week
8.01pm | March 16, 2020

Brunei will close all mosques, surau and prayer halls for one week to rein in the spread of COVID-19, the minister of religious affairs announced today.

Joining the press conference with other ministers, YB Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman said Friday prayers will also be suspended this week.

The mosque closures will start from March 17 and end on March 23.

However, the Islamic call for prayer will continue and mosque officers will remain on duty.

The minister said mosques and other places of worship will also be disinfected in stages.

He added that the Brunei Islamic Religious Council will review the situation before a decision is made to extend the closure.

Brunei confirms four new COVID-19 cases
7.42pm | March 16, 2020

The Ministry of Health has confirmed another four COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to 54 since Brunei reported its first case a week ago.

Health Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Jaafar said three of the new COVID-19 cases are linked to the Tabligh cluster in Malaysia, while one is an imported case involving a British man who recently travelled to Switzerland and other cities in the UK before entering Brunei.

In a press conference, he said one of the COVID-19 patients is in critical condition and requires breathing support. The patient is said to have underlying health conditions.

Another two coronavirus-infected patients need “close monitoring” but are in a good and stable condition, the minister said, adding that most of the patients are in a stable condition.

A total of 1,013 people have been ordered to undergo quarantine, while 1,312 laboratory tests have been conducted to date.

The minister also urged members of the public to donate blood at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital to prevent shortages.

Blood donors are advised to contact 2242424 ext 5745 to schedule an appointment.

MoH postpones all non-emergency dental appointments
4.50pm | March 16, 2020

The Ministry of Health today announced that all non-emergency dental appointments will be deferred to a later date in the wake of COVID-19.

Five dental clinics have been temporarily closed.

Only emergency dental treatments that do not involve aerosols are being administered, subject to screening checks.

The ministry has also designated Berakas Health Centre and Pengkalan Batu Health Centre as flu clinics starting from March 16.

Members of the public who wish to seek treatment for fever, cough, colds, or respiratory symptoms should only visit either one of these two designated flu clinics.

Other services at these centres will be redirected to other health centres.

UTB moves lessons online
3.56pm | March 16, 2020

Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) is moving its lectures online as part of precautionary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

In a press release, UTB said it has suspended face-to-face teaching and learning for students on taught programmes and those with underlying health conditions for at least two weeks, starting from March 16 to 29.

Students who are doing their internships have also been advised to work from home.

All UTB campus events that involve a large number of people will be postponed and health screening will be conducted on staff and students.

UTB can be reached at its hotline 8892800 for any university-related matters on COVID-19.

PMO shares guidelines for the outbound travel ban
1.58pm | March 16, 2020

Exit country travel bans have been made effective from 16 March 2020 for the following:

Brunei Darussalam citizens
Permanent residents holding red IC and a valid entry permit, including holders of Certificates of Identity and foreign and stateless passport holders
Foreign nationals who hold a green IC with a valid immigration pass
The spouse and children of the above who are residing in Brunei Darussalam and holding Certificates of Identity
Bruneians and foreign residents who need to leave the country for urgent matters, such as medical treatment, court hearings or to resume studies overseas, must apply for approval from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Forms can be downloaded from the Prime Minister’s Office website. Full statement from PMO:

Participants of Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon or Pontianak Bike Week must self-isolate
12.40pm | March 16, 2020

From the Ministry of Health:

Those who participated in the Pontianak Bike Week held from March 12-14 in Kalimantan, Indonesia and the Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon held from March 14-16 in Sabah, Malaysia are required to register at the Port Health Unit at all points of entry into Brunei Darussalam, including Brunei International Airport.
They will receive guidelines to undergo self-isolation at home for 14 days upon arrival into the country.

For those who have already returned to Brunei but have not yet registered with the authorities, they are required to contact the Health Advice Line at 148.

The ministry also encourages members of the public to report any mass gatherings attended by Bruneians either locally or overseas to 148.

All Bruneians and foreign residents are barred from leaving the country
7.40pm | March 15, 2020

Beginning tomorrow, all citizens and residents of Brunei, including foreigners, will be barred from leaving the country in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“Tourists will be allowed to leave the country, but as for people coming into Brunei, that’s a matter that will have to be assessed in the next few days,” said health minister YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar.

Bruneians and foreign residents who need to leave the country for urgent matters, such as medical treatment, court hearings or to resume studies overseas, must apply for approval from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Requests can be sent to and should include supporting documents. More information on the process can be found on the PMO website.

Brunei reported 10 new cases today, bringing the total to 50. The minister said they expect to see a “surge” in the number of new cases in the coming weeks.

When asked how long the travel ban would last, the minister said it would depend on how effective the government and community are able to contain the spread of the disease.

“The most important thing is still containment and contact tracing of these [confirmed] cases. If we manage to get 80 percent or more of the contacts of this [Tabligh] cluster, God willing, we will be able to contain it.”

“We each have our role to play, social responsibility. ” he said, adding that all public places should be throughly cleaned and people need to maintain good personal hygiene.

“This is the most basic thing. If you all keep going out [of the country], continue to hold mass gatherings — we will not be able to do this [contain the spread of the virus].

“If this becomes beyond our capacity, it will be disastrous. It might trigger a lockdown.”

Brunei COVID-19 tally rises to 50
7.14pm | March 15, 2020

The Ministry of Health said 10 more people tested positive for COVID-19 today, bringing the total number in Brunei to 50.

Forty-five are related to the cluster of people who attended a mass Tabligh gathering in Kuala Lumpur between February 27 and March 3, but five cases are independent of this cluster.

MoH urged anyone who attended a subsequent Tabligh gathering in Brunei from March 5 to 8 to come forward for testing after several attendees tested positive for COIVD-19 after having contact with individuals that attended the KL event.

“Any person with knowledge of someone who attended any of these events, and has not yet presented themselves should report these individuals to the Health Advice Line on 148,” the ministry added in a statement.

To date, a total of 886 people have been issued quarantine orders because they had close contact with those infected.

Health minister YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar said they expect to see a “surge” in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Malaysian authorities have also quarantined nine Brunei nationals in Kuala Lumpur after three tested positive for COVID-19. They are being treated at the Sg Buloh Hospital, Selangor. Of this group, one tested negative for the coronavirus, while five are awaiting lab results.

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