(L-R): Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Amin Liew, Minister of Home Affairs YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr.) Haji Awang Abu Bakar Haji Apong, Minister of Health YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports YB Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin during a press conference at the Ministry of Health. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Twelve new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in the sultanate, bringing the national total of COVID-19 infections to 68, the Minister of Health revealed in a joint press conference yesterday.

This new development was announced by Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar during a joint press conference held at MoH’s Al-Afiah Hall alongside ministers from the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

About half of the new confirmed cases consisted of children and young teens, ranging from three years old to 13 years old. Three are reported to be siblings belonging to the same household.

Source: Ministry of Health

Case details
Case 57 is a 53-year-old Bangladesh national working in the country’s private sector who attended a religious gathering in the sultanate on March 5. He started to experience a fever on March 16.

Case 58 is 42 years old is the wife of case 57. She had no travel history of going abroad and began experiencing body aches on March 16.

Case 59 is 13 years old and is the child of case 57. She did not have any travel history of going abroad and began running a fever on March 13.

Case 60 is the twin sister of Case 59 who is the child of Case 57. Similarly, the individual had no travelling history abroad and started to have a fever on March 13.

Case 61 is a 12-year-old boy who is the son of case 57. He had no travelling history abroad and began to have a fever on March 14.

Case 62 is three years old and is the daughter of case 53, a British national who has been in the sultanate since January. The toddler began to have flu on March 13.

Case 63 is 62 years old and is a colleague to Case 43. He did not have any travel history abroad and came into contact with Case 43 on March 9. He began to experience fever and flu on March 14.

Minister of Health YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar during a press conference at the Ministry of Health. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Case 64 is 49 years old and is a colleague of case 42. She had no travelling history abroad and began having coughs and flu on March 11.

Case 65 is 29 years old and is the daughter of Case 47. She had no travel history abroad and met her father on March 10.

Case 66 is seven years old who had direct contact with Case 42. He had no travel history abroad and has shown no symptoms of infection.

Case 67 is 20 years old and is a close friend of Case 48. The individual had no travel history of going abroad and has exhibited no symptoms of infection.

Case 68 is 12 years old who had direct contact with Case 52 and is the first instance of a third-generation infection of the tabligh cluster.

This means that there is a limited transmission of COVID-19 infection in Brunei but there is no evidence that it is widespread.

All confirmed cases are currently undergoing treatment at the National Isolation Centre, continued the minister, however, two cases are in critical condition requiring the aid of breathing machines and are being treated in Intensive Care Unit.

Two other cases require careful monitoring, he added.

YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham went on to call on members of the public to adhere to the administrative directives that have been issued since the first COVID-19 case was detected in the country.

“We would like the cooperation of the public particularly employers in the private sector, in establishing measures that can prevent the further spread of COVID-19 especially in matters of self-isolation and quarantines directed at their employees,” he said.

Employers were then reminded to not deduct any staff member’s annual leave in the event of any self-isolation or quarantine notices that have been issued to the employees.

To date, 1,373 individuals have been quarantined under the Infectious Disease Act (Chapter 204) with 48 people who have completed their quarantine period, who are reported to be in good condition.

Some 1,926 laboratory tests have been carried out for COVID-19 cases since January this year.

For further information and latest developments, visit MoH’s website at ww.moh.gov.bn or call its 24-hour Health Advice Line 148.

New messaging service for COVID-19 updates in the sultanate

During the press conference, the health minister also announced the establishment of a new messaging service that would allow members of the public to be updated with news surrounding the corona crisis happening in Brunei.

Through the messaging application Telegram, members of the public will also be provided with information and health advice from the MoH in managing the COVID-19 outbreak, and the public may access the platform at https://t.me/govbnofficial

The platform was established in collaboration between MoH, the Prime Minister’s Office and the E-Government National Centre (EGNC) of the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC).

YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham also revealed that MTIC has been working closely with the country’s telco providers in sending health advice relating to COVID-19 through short message service to all mobile phone users, effective March 18. 

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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