Minister of Religous Affairs YB Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Othman during a press conference. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Brunei is postponing the travel of some 1000 of its Haj pilgrims to Mecca this year due to the ongoing risk of COVID-19 infection, announced the minister of religious affairs.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman in a press conference said that the pandemic is still a global threat and the novel coronavirus spread is not over yet.

“The health ministry has advised Brunei Islamic Religious Council on the current COVID-19 situation and it is agreed that the sultanate will not be sending any Bruneians to the annual pilgrimage this year,” he said.

The religious affairs minister also said that Haj arrangements could not be done as the process has been frozen which includes issuance of Haj visas as well as flight, transportation and accommodation reservations, among others.

Image: Shutterstock

“Should international pilgrims be allowed to go for Haj, the ministry finds that the time to process all applications are very limited,” said YB Pehin Dato Ustaz Hj Awang Badaruddin, adding that local pilgrims are advised to contact their respective Haj agents for further clarification.

Friday prayers

The minister went on to say that the health ministry has re-examined the BruHealth app system detecting possible errors encountered by congregants during their check-ins to mosques, surau and prayer halls.

“Some congregants cannot enter and it may be due to problems such as double booking, ghost booking methods of calculation, among others,” said YB Pehin Dato Ustaz Hj Awang Badaruddin.

He also urged relevant parties on duty based on their discretions to allow entries to eligible congregants who faced technical errors on their BruHealth app when scanning QR codes at the entrance.

A view of the Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque at the capital. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Furthermore, some 35,556 people were present at various mosques, surau and prayer halls nationwide last June 5, the second Friday of the first phase of mosque restriction ease.

“The figure shows an increase in the number of congregants in comparison with the first Friday prayer on May 29,” said the minister.

For his part, the minister of health Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar said that any Jemaah who is still not ready and has concerns to perform Friday prayers at the mosque to not make any bookings in the BruHealth app.

Meanwhile, those who have booked but not feeling well at the last moment are advised to click on the “I am not going” button in the system which if not done, will hinder others to make bookings as slots are filled.

Minister of Health YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Md Isham during a press conference at the Ministry of Health. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

No cases, Malaysian contacts tested negative

The health minister also announced that no new cases of the COVID-19 virus were reported in the sultanate on Wednesday, leading the national tally to remain at 141 cases.

Furthermore, there are no new recoveries which brings the number of cases that have recovered from the novel coronavirus to stand still at 138 individuals.

The one active case who is in a critical condition at the National Isolation Centre has been free from the virus for two months already but still requiring both respiratory and heart/lung machine (ECMO) assistance.

He also revealed that laboratory tests of all contacts of the two positive Malaysians are tested negative.

In the past 24 hours, a total of 625 samples have been tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus with the total number of laboratory tests conducted since January 2020 at 23,293.

The BruHealth tracing app has accumulated 365,604 individual users, with a total of 6,828 businesses and premises already onboard the platform while 1,902 businesses downloaded the PremiseScan app for those who do not have access to smartphones.

The BruHealth app showing a green code which means that the user is healthy and fit to enter public premises. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

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

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

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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