COVID-19 live updates: Brunei announces 12 more cases, tally reaches 68

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Red Fox
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COVID-19 live updates: Brunei announces 12 more cases, tally reaches 68

Post by Red Fox » Thu Mar 19, 2020 9:01 am

Call for volunteers to help fight COVID-19
9.59pm | March 18, 2020

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has mobilised 135 volunteers to help fight the COVID-19 disease in Brunei.

YB Major General (R) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin said an ad hoc youth volunteer committee has been set up at Pusat Bahagia.

More volunteers are needed to tackle the coronavirus and they will be assigned to help the Ministry of Health, the minister added.

Registrations can be made through the 8913762 hotline.

The minister added that the government has started the option of allowing old-age pension and monthly welfare assistance recipients to withdraw the money through their bank accounts this month.

To date, only 1,602 applications have been received to use the bank payment services. There are about 47,000 welfare recipients.

The recipients may still collect their funds from village chiefs and penghulu, but YB Dato Hj Aminuddin urged them to make use of the bank payment services to prevent crowding at grassroots leaders’ residences.

He said the community leaders will arrange a “staggered timing” method to distribute the welfare funds to ensure social distancing is observed.

Opening hours for Temburong bridge revised
8.38pm | March 18, 2020

The government has shortened the daily opening hours of the Temburong bridge following reports of heavy traffic and motorists using the bridge for non-essential travel.

Second Finance and Economy Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah said the bridge will be open from 6am to 6pm from Thursday onwards to control the spread of COVID-19.

In a press conference with other cabinet ministers, he said too many motorists used the bridge for non-essential travel, including motorcyclists who were found racing and making a roadside stop for no valid reason.

Food premises in Temburong’s Bangar town were also crowded, going against the Ministry of Health’s advice to practise social distancing.

“This should not be happening, especially when we are facing a critical time,” YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin said, adding that police will conduct regular patrols on the bridge.

The minister said the state-owned Jerudong Park and Country Club will be temporarily closed from Thursday as part of measures to prevent the number of COVID-cases from rising.

The closure includes Jerudong Park Playground, Jerudong Park Gardens and Jerudong Park Amphitheatre. The Jerudong Food Court will stay open to provide takeaway services only.

Dine-in services banned from Thursday
7.52pm | March 18, 2020

All food premises will be prohibited from serving dine-in customers starting tomorrow but takeaways are still allowed, the home affairs minister announced in a press conference.

YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Abu Bakar Hj Apong said the dine-in ban applies to restaurants, cafés, hawker stalls and food courts, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

He said the daily night market at Tamu Aneka Temburong and weekend Tamu Besar Temburong will be closed from today, while Tamu Tutong will be shuttered from tomorrow until further notice.

Other markets will continue operating as long as they do not offer dine-in services, the minister said.

All gyms, bowling centres, golf clubs and public libraries will also be shut from Thursday to limit the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases rise to 68, minister warns of overwhelmed health system
6.48pm | March 18, 2020

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased to 68 in Brunei after 12 more people tested positive for the coronavirus today, the health minister said.

Providing COVID-19 updates in a press conference today, YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Jaafar said 11 of the newly-detected cases have no history of travelling to other countries, but were close contacts of previously confirmed cases.

One of the cases is linked to the Tabligh event in Brunei, involving a Bangladeshi national who works in the private sector.

Two patients are in critical condition and require breathing support and another two are stable but being closely monitored.

The minister said there is no evidence of widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in Brunei thus far.

A total of 1,373 people have been issued quarantine orders, while 48 have completed their 14-day isolation.

YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham also called on employers in the private sector not to cut the annual leave of employees who have been ordered to undergo quarantine, or force their staff to get a medical certificate from a doctor.

The self-isolation notice or quarantine order issued by the Ministry of Health is an official confirmation of the government’s instructions, he added.

The minister reiterated the importance of public cooperation in practising social distancing measures as failure to do so may overwhelm Brunei’s healthcare system.

“If measures are not taken, it will go beyond the peak of our healthcare capacity, we don’t want this to happen.

“It is no joke if our healthcare is beyond (the maximum) capacity, the frontline workers will have to make difficult decisions,” he added.

‘Use Temburong bridge for essential travel only’
10.39pm | March 17, 2020

Authorities have called on Bruneians to avoid using the newly-opened Temburong bridge for non-essential travel.

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, the Ministry of Development and Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications said Bruneians must heed the Ministry of Health’s advice to avoid mass gatherings to control the spread of COVID-19.

The public are advised to practise social responsibility and exercise caution while driving to ensure road safety.

As Temburong bridge works are still ongoing, the ministries said motorists should not exceed the 80 km/h speed limit and they are prohibited from stopping on the roadside except during emergencies.

The bridge was open early to allow Temburong residents to bypass Malaysia while the borders are closed due to COVID-19.

MCYS sports facilities, museums to shut in response to COVID-19
9.05pm | March 17, 2020

Sports and recreational facilities will be closed from tomorrow in view of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) announced in a statement on Tuesday.

The ministry said youth centres, museums and exhibition galleries including the Brunei History Centre Exhibition Gallery and Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park will be shut until further notice.

Sports complexes under the purview of MCYS will also be closed, but running tracks will remain open to the public.

Food supply remains stable, Brunei tourism to take a hit
8.52pm | March 17, 2020

Bruneians have been advised to avoid coronavirus-induced panic buying as the minister of primary resources and tourism promised that there will be adequate food supply in the country.

YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong said supply of chicken, eggs, red meat, seafood and vegetables from local farms and imported from other countries remains stable.

Businesses were also warned not to take advantage of the situation and hike prices of agricultural goods and seafood products.

Responding to a question on COVID-19’s impact on Brunei tourism in a press conference, the minister said he expects “a lot less” tourists compared to last year.

“We have to bear with it,” YB Dato Hj Ali said, adding that there were over 300,000 visitor arrivals by air last year.

Gov’t reassures safety of Bruneian students abroad
8.01pm | March 17, 2020

The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs have reassured parents and Bruneian students abroad that steps are being taken to ensure students’ safety and welfare amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Education Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Hamzah Hj Sulaiman said his ministry will study measures that would allow overseas Bruneian students to return home.

In a press conference at the Ministry of Health today, he said the ministry receives daily reports from education attachés in various countries on the condition of Bruneian students.

These education attachés are responsible for advising students to avoid travelling to badly-hit countries and participating in large gatherings.

Second Foreign Affairs Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Erywan Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Hj Mohd Yusof said there are 2,500 Bruneians pursuing their studies abroad, including 883 in Malaysia and 830 in the UK.

He urged the students and Bruneian travellers to enter their details on the ministry’s e-register system to make it easier for the government to provide assistance, especially when the countries they are currently residing in go into lockdown.

Two new COVID-19 cases, travel ban expands to include UK
6.43pm | March 17, 2020

The Ministry of Health has confirmed two new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total to 56.

In a press conference to provide updates on the COVID-19 situation, Health Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Jaafar said one of the new cases is linked to the Tabligh cluster in Malaysia, while the other case attended a Tabligh event in Brunei.

Two coronavirus-infected patients are reported to be in critical condition and require breathing assistance. Most patients are in a stable condition.

A total of 1,257 people are placed in quarantine while 23 people have completed their 14-day isolation.

The minister said all cinemas nationwide will be shut down from tomorrow to halt the spread of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Home Affairs in a statement said cinemas will be closed for at least one week to allow cleaning.

The government has also expanded travel restrictions, barring foreign visitors who have been to Europe, including the UK, in the past fortnight from entering Brunei.

Earlier this month, Brunei added mainland EU countries, South Korea, Iran and Italy to the travel ban list.

Starting March 17, any travellers arriving in Brunei will also be required to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days.

Foreigners who regularly commute to Brunei for work or Brunei residents who work outside of the country will be granted a one-month exemption from the government directive that prevents all Brunei residents and expats from leaving the country.

However, they are still required to seek permission from the Prime Minister’s Office before they are granted the exit and entry permit.

Malaysia to enter partial lockdown on March 18
11.55am | March 17, 2020

Malaysia will shut its borders to foreigners on Wednesday until the end of March in measures announced by the prime minister Monday aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Citizens will be allowed to return to Malaysia but must undergo self-quarantine for two weeks, Muhyiddin Yassin said.

Schools and places of worship will also be closed while supermarkets and banks will remain open.

Many of the country’s 566 infections, the highest number in Southeast Asia, have been linked to the Tabligh gathering held last month.

Almost 20,000 people, including dozens of Bruneians, attended the Islamic event.

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.

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