The government of Brunei Darussalam, announced a two-week postponement on granting permission for exit and entry into the sultanate via Malaysia, affecting registered parcel users, foreign nationals from Malaysia as well as transit passengers entering the sultanate via land and sea.

According to the Minister of Home Affairs during a press conference on Tuesday, the Steering Committee on Cross-Border Affairs have announced regulation updates for entry and exit into the country via land and sea control posts, which will take effect on 13 January, 2021. 

Image: Shutterstock

This move was by the command of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam following the implementation of a new two-week Movement Control Order (MCO) and the declaration of a state of emergency in Malaysia recently. 

Under the new regulations, the collection and delivery of parcels made by registered parcel runners in Brunei Darussalam wiil be postponed for two weeks, said Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awang Abu Bakar Hj Apong. 

Image: Fazizul Haqimie

Foreign nationals from Malaysia, including transit passengers entering the country via land and sea control posts will also be postponed for two weeks, the minister added. 

“On the other hand, drivers and passengers of emergency service vehicles such as ambulances, police and military, those on official government matters as well as commercial vehicles or transport operators for the delivery of imported food supplies and other essential goods to Brunei will be permitted to enter according to existing regulations,” he explained.

The minister went on to say that the two-week postponement will also apply to commuters travelling to Brunei via control posts for work, and those concerned are advised to temporarily reside at the location they are currently stationed or to take leave during the postponement period. 

Furthermore, in light of the updated regulations, transport operators delivering food supplies and other essential goods into the sultanate whether they are registered in Brunei or foreign nationals that are registered in Malaysia will have to undergo the SARS-CoV2-RT-PCR test once a week compared to the previous once every two weeks. 

YB Pehin Hj Abu Bakar then reminded the public to not be complacent in practicing their social responsibility to jointly curb the spread of COVID-19, urging them to comply with the rules and regulations that have been issued, as outlined under the Infectious Diseases Act (Section 204). 

During the same press conference, the Minister of Health, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj  Mohd Isham Hj Jaafar shared the same sentiment, calling for the public to not violate the regulations and instructions that have been issued during the pandemic. 

Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“Including not crossing the borders to neighbouring countries through illegal routes (mouse trails) or smuggling routes,” the minister explained. 

“Accordingly, individuals who have any information on travel or activities at the border through the routes mentioned above should inform the relevant government agencies immediately,” he added. 

YB Dato Hj Mohd Isham then went on to announce that the ministry will be conducting a National Survey on public acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is scheduled for 15 January to 28 January. 

“The survey will be open to the public aged 18 years and above through the BruHealth application on the date mentioned earlier,” he said. 

Image: Ministry of Health, Brunei Darussalam

“The results from this survey will be able to assist the Ministry of Health in planning the best method to implement the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Brunei Darussalam,” the minister added. 

“It will also help in ensuring that the vaccination programme will run smoothly when it is commenced in a later date,” YB Dato Hj Muhd Isham continued. 

He went on to say that public participation in this survey is encouraged, adding that all responses collected through the survey will be considered confidential and will not affect the colour of the BruHealth code of the participants. 

For further information and latest updates, members of the public can visit the official website of the Ministry of Health at www.moh.gov.bn or by contacting the Health Advice Line 148 or through the BruHealth App. 

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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