(L-R): Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong, Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Jaafar and Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah at the joint press conference held yesterday. Image: Rafidah Hamit

As the national total of COVID-19 infections rises to 73, all passengers arriving in Brunei Darussalam via the Brunei International Airport (BIA) are required to undergo 14 days of self-isolation immediately upon arrival effective March 20, announced the Ministry of Health (MoH).

During a joint press conference that was held yesterday, Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Jaafar reported that five new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed.

Passengers will have to undergo self-isolation at the appointed monitoring centres, according to YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham adding that MoH will be working together with other ministries as well as Royal Brunei Airlines to carry out the procedure.

Addressing the media, the health minister said that despite the self-isolation requirement, passengers arriving through the BIA will have to follow quarantine procedures in accordance with the Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 204).

Source: Ministry of Health

“These people are healthy, however, we will not know whether they are a carrier for the disease upon their arrival, therefore they will have to be isolated in a single room, where they can be monitored 24/7,” he said.

He added that with the sultanate encouraging Bruneian students to return home, the self-isolation directive for passengers is a precautionary measure for individuals and students coming from countries affected by COVID-19 or individuals who may contract the virus during the flight back.

Five new cases confirmed in the sultanate

Two of the cases are part of a group of attendees of a tabligh gathering in Brunei on March 5. They came forward to undergo the COVID-19 test following the confirmation of positive cases who had attended the same gathering.

“Since the statement was released by the ministry concerning the tabligh gathering on March 5, as many as 56 attendees who had no travel history to Kuala Lumpur have undergone the laboratory testing for COVID-19,” said YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham.

Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Jaafar during the press conference held yesterday. Image: Rafidah Hamit

Case details

Case 69, aged 46 is a local citizen who returned from a family holiday in Malaysia on March 11. The individual started developing a cough on March 9.

Case 70, aged 72 is a family contact of case 53. The individual does not have a travel history and has not shown any symptoms of the virus.

Case 71 and case 72, aged 52 and 46 respectively have ties to the tabligh cluster whereby both attended a tabligh gathering in Brunei on March 5.

Case 73, aged 68 is a local citizen who returned from a family holiday in the United Kingdom on March 16 via flight onboard Royal Brunei B1004 (seated in 9A). The individual started developing a cough on March 12.

A man looks at flight information at the Brunei International Airport. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

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

Meanwhile two other cases require careful monitoring.

As of today, 1,486 individuals are undergoing quarantine according to the Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 204) and 99 individuals have completed their quarantine and all are well.

Since the emergence of COVID-19 in early January, a total of 2,329 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.

Source: Ministry of Health

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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