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

A total of 37 positive cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the sultanate as of Friday, the Ministry of Health (MoH) confirmed.

Health Minister Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar in a press conference shared that an additional 12 cases were identified on Friday.

The affected individuals included those who participated in the mass religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and close contacts.

“They are currently being treated at the National Isolation Centre and are in stable condition, are not experiencing any fever and do not require respiratory aid,” said the minister.

As of yesterday, 523 individuals have been ordered to be in quarantine under the Infectious Disease Act (Chapter 204).

The minister said that all 75 local participants of the religious event are currently in the country and have been tested for the virus.

“From this figure, 18 have been tested positive, 51 are negative and six are currently waiting for their test results.”

YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham said the individuals are now quarantined at the Sports Village or at the National Isolation Centre.

Meanwhile, 10 of the individuals are still overseas where one of them is currently studying in Malaysia, who tested negative for the virus.

Source: Ministry of Health

The new cases
• Cases 26 and 27 are the wife and children of Case 12. Aged 46 and 21 respectively, they do not have any travel history to Kuala Lumpur and just experienced body aches on Friday.

• Case 28 is also the child of Case 12 who also does not have any travel history to Kuala Lumpur. The 25-year-old individual does not show any symptoms of infection.

• Similarly, Case 29 is the child of Case 12 and does not have any travel history to Kuala Lumpur. The 16-year-old experienced coughing and flu on March 9.

• Case 30 is also the child of Case 12, does not have travel history to Kuala Lumpur and does not show symptoms of infection.

• Case 31 is a 64-year-old male who had a history of travelling to Indonesia and Malaysia.

He flew to Kuala Lumpur through Labuan on February 17 and made his way to Jogjakarta, Indonesia.

He went back to Kuala Lumpur through a transit flight on March 4 and left for Labuan the same day via Air Asia flight AK5175.

He returned to Brunei later that day and started experiencing symptoms on March 10.

• Case 32 is a 25-year-old and wife to Case 19. She does not have any travel history to Kuala Lumpur and does not show symptoms of infection.

• Case 33 is the younger sibling of Case 13. The 39-year-old does not have travel history to Kuala Lumpur and does not show symptoms of infection.

• Case 34 is the niece or nephew of Case 13. Aged 2-years-old with no travel history to Kuala Lumpur and does not show symptoms of infection.

• Case 35 is one of the participants of the mass religious event in Kuala Lumpur from February 28 to March 3.

The 64-year-old then flew to New Delhi, India on March 4 with three friends who also took part in the religious event.

He returned to the sultanate through Royal Brunei flight BI874 on March 11 and experienced coughing and flu on March 13.

“The three friends are still overseas and are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 wherever they may be, as soon as possible,” said the health minister.

• Case 36 also attended the mass gathering in Malaysia and returned to Brunei on March 5 through Royal Brunei flight BI872.

The 56-year-old male experienced high fever, coughing and flu on March 7.

• Case 37 is a 28-year-old who did not participate in the religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur.

However, the individual attended a religious gathering in the sultanate on March 5 along with participants who went to the gathering in Malaysia.

Mass gatherings discouraged
Due to the increasing number of cases, the MoH has imposed a restriction on all public events and social gatherings which include weddings, Bandar Ku Ceria and sports events.

His Majesty the Sultan has also consented to cancel the Isra’ Mi’raj celebration on March 22.

The public is also encouraged to take social distancing measures by not shaking hands, sitting closely and by avoiding crowded places.

This is particularly for those who are high risks such as those with chronic diseases namely diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, kidney disease, respiratory issues and cancer, as well as pregnant women and senior citizens.

Decreasing services
The MoH further announced that services and wards at the Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah Hospital in Tutong will be moved to the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital in the capital and the Suri Seri Begawan Hospital in Belait.

For more information on which services and wards, the public can refer to the Ministry’s website and social media platforms.

For any enquiries, the public is advised to contact the new 24-hour Health Advice Line for COVID-19 by calling 148.

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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