Minister of Health, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Awang Mohd Isham Haji Jaafar during a press conference at the Ministry of Health. Image: The Bruneian

Brunei recorded its first positive case of COVID-19 today after recording no new cases in three months, totalling to 142 cases in the country, announced the Minister of Health (MoH).

The local individual is a 24-year old male studying in Yemen who arrived in the country on August 5 through Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Royal Brunei flight BI874 Seat 44K.

He experienced shortness of breath on the same day.

However he is currently in stable condition, showing no symptoms of COVID-19 and undergoing treatment at the National Isolation Centre (NIC) in Tutong.

“Contact tracing investigations identified 13 contacts (of the case) who are currently undergoing quarantine and will be swabbed,” said Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar.

“As this case has been taken to the NIC upon arrival in the country, members of the public are advised not to panic or worry as he has not had any interaction with his family members and others since arriving.”

Responding to a question raised by a member of the media, the health minister said the current de-escalation plan will still continue.

“We need to discuss and see whether further de-escalation will be done as at the moment, there are about 90 individuals that need to be swabbed for COVID-19.”

“We are also not sure if case 142 contracted the virus in Yemen as he transitted to a few countries before arriving in Brunei.”

He added that there are currently no plans to open the borders as the country still needs to monitor the ongoing situation.

The number of recovered individuals remain at 138 while 564 individuals are currently undergoing mandatory isolation at monitoring centres provided by the government.

Currently, a total of 3,938 have completed mandatory self-isolation since March 2020.

File photo of individuals on their way to self-isolation monitoring centres provided by the government. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

In the past 24 hours, 542 samples have been tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, bringing the total number of laboratory tests conducted from January 2020 to 43,312.

The health minister emphasised the importance for the public to remain vigilant and to take precautions by adopting and practising the preventive measures recommended.

“This includes physical distancing wherever you are, to avoid going to crowded places, wearing a face mask if you are unable to avoid crowded places as well as maintaining personal hygiene by frequently washing your hands and practising proper cough and sneeze etiquette.”

YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham also shared that as of this week, a total of eight operations were conducted nationwide and a total of 11 compound fines were issued.

“The cases that did not comply with the directives involve premises such as restaurants, beauty and health establishments as well as barber shops where the main offence found is that employees did not wear face masks.”

“The ministry would like to remind restaurant owners to comply with the rules and directives issued, especially in regards to using face masks. Beauty and health establishments are also urged to wear face masks and aprons.”

Individuals found to be in violation of or disobey any order is an offence under the Infectious Diseases Act (Section 204) which carries a compound fine of up to $5,000 or can be prosecuted in court carrying a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 6 months or both.

“The Ministry will not hesitate to take legal action against anyone who does not comply with the directives issued,” added the minister.

The Ministry of Health building. Image: The Bruneian

For further information and the latest development, the public can visit MoH’s website www.moh.gov.bn, call its Health Advice Line 148, through the web platform healthinfo.gov.bn or through the BruHealth App.

Alternatively, the public can also attain the latest information on the COVID-19 situation in Brunei through the GOV.BN official channel on Telegram at https://t.me/govbnofficial

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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