Minister of Health YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

The Ministry of Health (MoH) on Thursday announced that three more individuals have recovered from the COVID-19 virus, bringing the total number of recovered cases in the sultanate to five.

The number of positive cases however continue to rise totalling to 114, as five new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in Brunei.

The new development was revealed by Health Minister, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar during a press conference on the latest updates of the COVID-19 outbreak affecting the nation.

Sharing the session was Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah and the Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Hamzah Hj Sulaiman.

The Ministry of Health at Commonwealth Drive. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Case details
– Case 110 is a 21 year old local woman who returned to Brunei from the United Kingdom on March 23 onboard Royal Brunei Airlines flight BI004 (seat 35E). She began experiencing symptoms (cough and sore throat) on March 20.

– Case 111 is aged 42 years old is connected to the cluster associated with case 73, 80, 88, 101, 108, 109, 112 and 114. He returned to Brunei from the United Kingdom on March 15 where he tested negative for the COVID-19 virus at the time.

However, he was later exposed to several confirmed cases and currently does not show any signs of infection.

– Case 112 is aged 51 years old and is also connected to the cluster that was mentioned above. She has no travel history abroad and initially tested negative for the virus on March 20.

She has undergone quarantine since, however she underwent another laboratory COVID-19 test on March 24, following the confirmation of a positive result for case 101 within the group cluster.

– Case 113 is the 20 year old daughter of case 103. She has no travel history abroad and began experiencing symptoms (fever and headache) on March 22.

– Case 114 is 50 year old woman and is also connected to the cluster that was mentioned above. She has no travel history abroad and initially tested negative for the virus on March 20.

– Case 114 has undergone quarantine since, however the she tested positive for the COVID-19 virus upon her second laboratory test, after case 101 was confirmed to be connected with the aforementioned cluster.

The minister went on to inform the public that the investigation for case 103 is still ongoing.

The health minister shared that out of the 109 cases that are currently being treated at the National Isolation Centre, one case remains in critical condition, requiring the aid of a breathing machine as well as a heart/lung machine (ECMO).

Meanwhile, three cases are still in intensive care.

As of today, 1,221 individuals are undergoing quarantine in accordance with the Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 204) and 794 individuals have completed their quarantine.

Since the emergence of COVID-19 in early January, a total of 4,519 laboratory tests for COVID-19 have been conducted.

For further information and latest developments, visit MoH’s website at www.moh.gov.bn or call its 24-hour Health Advice Line 148 or through the web platform healthinfo.gov.bn.

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

Image: Courtesy of Ministy of Health

Volunteer appreciation
The health minister proceeded to express appreciation towards the cooperation and commitment provided by volunteers in the government’s effort to control the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The dedication and commitment given in terms of time, energy and even personal finances is a great sacrifice to the country’s security and well-being,” he said.

He then reassured parents and guardians that volunteers will be assigned “low risk tasks” which include body temperature checks and “assisting in secretarial work in monitoring or isolation facilities”.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Amin Liew during a press conference at the Ministry of Health. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

New payment method for service and derivative pension recipients
To avoid overcrowding and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections, YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin announced that a “drive-thru method” will be employed when recipients receive payments at the allocated collection points that was previously disclosed on March 18.

Designated collection points according to district;
Brunei-Muara – International Convention Centre
Tutong – Tutong Community Hall
Belait – Kuala Belait Convention Centre
Temburong – Treasury Department Office, Temburong

The Ministry of Finance and Economy building. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

According to the minister, the move to employ the new method was due to the high volume of recipients receiving payments over the counter.

In light of this, he continued, the Treasury Department at the Prime Minister’s Office, will be distributing payments for the month of March to recipients at the drop-off zones of the respective collection points.

The payment process will run for two days, on March 28 and 30, from 7.30am to 4pm and recipients are reminded to bring their original identification cards (IC) for verification purposes.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin then reminded recipients that an option has been provided for service and derivative pension recipients to receive payments via banks.

“At the same time, recipients who have bank account booklets but have not registered them to the Treasury Department are advised to bring a copy of the booklet for the following month’s payment process,” he said.

Meanwhile, those receiving payments after March 30 will be done at the Ministry of Finance and Economy building for Brunei-Muara recipients, and at the Treasury Department branches for the recipients of other districts. 

This will run for 10 working days, said the minister.

For any enquiries on the new payment processes, the public can contact the relevant parties through 2380822 or 2383469.

The second minister of finance and economy went on to reveal that as of 5.30pm on Wednesday, the COVID-19 Relief Fund has accumulated $1,003,947.69, while assuring the public that the funds will be audited to ensure that it is spent accordingly.

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN