Recipients of gov’t welfare and pensions urged to receive payments through bank account

10.05pm | March 18, 2020

The government is encouraging recipients of pensions and monthly welfare assistance to receive their monthly payments through their bank accounts, as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For old age pensions, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports said recipients may still collect their funds from village chiefs and penghulu, but urged them to make use of the bank payment services to prevent crowding at grassroots leaders’ residences.

YB Dato Hj Aminuddin said the community leaders will arrange a “staggered timing” method to distribute the welfare funds to ensure social distancing is observed.

Recipients of monthly welfare benefits and allowances can also elect to receive payments in their bank accounts by filling out the form here.

There are about 47,000 welfare recipients, according to MCYS.

The Ministry of Finance and Economy has introduced similar measures for recipients of service pensions and derivative pensions.

To receive bank payments instead of cash, recipients should fill out this form and email it to or send it via WhatsApp to 7373222.

For pensioners who do not have bank accounts, the Treasury Department will set up cash collection points in all four districts so people can receive their March payments.

Counters will be operational on March 28 from 7.30am to 4.30pm at the following places:

  1. International Convention Centre, Berakas
  2. Dewan Persidangan in Kuala Belait
  3. Dewan Kemasyarakatan, Tutong
  4. Treasury Department office, Temburong

Banks will also set up registration counters at these venues for those who want to receive their April pensions through their bank account.

For individuals who want to collect their pensions after March 28, they are instructed to go to the Ministry of Finance and Economy building or Treasury Department office in their respective districts within 10 working days.

The ministry urged people not to come in groups and to leave the premises after collecting their respective pension payments.

Call for volunteers to help fight COVID-19

9.59pm | March 18, 2020

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has mobilised 135 volunteers to help fight the COVID-19 disease in Brunei.

MCYS minister YB Dato Hj Aminuddin said an ad hoc youth volunteer committee has been set up at Pusat Bahagia.

More volunteers are needed to tackle the coronavirus and they will be assigned to help the Ministry of Health, he added.

Registrations can be made through the 8913762 hotline.

Jerudong Park closed until further notice

8.40pm | March 18, 2020

The Ministry of Finance and Economy has announced the temporary closure of Jerudong Park Playground, Jerudong Park Gardens, Jerudong Park Amphitheatre and Jerudong Park and Country Club.

These venues will be closed from Thursday March 18, as part of measures to prevent the number of COVID-cases from rising.

The Jerudong Food Court will stay open to provide takeaway services only.

Opening hours for Temburong bridge revised

8.38pm | March 18, 2020

The Temburong bridge on opening day, March 17, 2020. Photo Rudolf Portillo

The government has shortened the daily opening hours of the Temburong bridge following reports of heavy traffic and motorists using the bridge for non-essential travel.

Second Finance and Economy Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah said the bridge will be open from 6am to 6pm from Thursday onwards to control the spread of COVID-19.

In a press conference with other cabinet ministers, he said too many motorists used the bridge for non-essential travel, including motorcyclists who were found racing and making a roadside stop for no valid reason.

Food premises in Temburong’s Bangar town were also crowded, going against the Ministry of Health’s advice to practise social distancing.

“This should not be happening, especially when we are facing a critical time,” YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin said, adding that police will conduct regular patrols on the bridge.

Dine-in services banned from Thursday

7.52pm | March 18, 2020

All food premises will be prohibited from serving dine-in customers starting tomorrow but takeaways are still allowed, the home affairs minister announced in a press conference.

YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Abu Bakar Hj Apong said the dine-in ban applies to restaurants, cafés, hawker stalls and food courts, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

He said the daily night market at Tamu Aneka Temburong and weekend Tamu Besar Temburong will be closed from today, while Tamu Tutong will be shuttered from tomorrow until further notice.

Other markets will continue operating as long as they do not offer dine-in services, the minister said.

All gyms, bowling centres, golf clubs and public libraries will also be shut from Thursday to limit the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 cases rise to 68, minister warns of overwhelmed health system

6.48pm | March 18, 2020

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 68 in Brunei after 12 more people tested positive for the coronavirus today, the health minister said.

Providing updates at the daily press briefing, YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Jaafar said 11 of the new cases have no recent travel history, but were close contacts of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19.

One of the new cases is a Bangladeshi man who attended a Tabligh event in Brunei on March 5.

Two patients are in critical condition and require breathing support and another two are stable but being closely monitored.

The minister said there is no evidence of widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in Brunei thus far.

A total of 1,373 people have been issued quarantine orders, while 48 have completed their 14-day isolation.


YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham also called on employers in the private sector not to cut the annual leave of employees who have been ordered to undergo quarantine, or force their staff to get a medical certificate from a doctor.

The self-isolation notice or quarantine order issued by the Ministry of Health is an official confirmation of the government’s instructions, he added.

The minister reiterated the importance of public cooperation in practising social distancing measures as failure to do so may overwhelm Brunei’s healthcare system.

“If measures are not taken, it will go beyond the peak of our healthcare capacity, we don’t want this to happen.

“It is no joke if our healthcare is beyond [the maximum] capacity, the frontline workers will have to make tough decisions,” he added.

Full statement from MoH:

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‘Use Temburong bridge for essential travel only’

10.39pm | March 17, 2020

Authorities have called on Bruneians to avoid using the newly-opened Temburong bridge for non-essential travel.

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, the Ministry of Development and Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications said Bruneians must heed the Ministry of Health’s advice to avoid mass gatherings to control the spread of COVID-19.

The public are advised to practise social responsibility and exercise caution while driving to ensure road safety.

As Temburong bridge works are still ongoing, the ministries said motorists should not exceed the 80 km/h speed limit and they are prohibited from stopping on the roadside except during emergencies.

The bridge was open early to allow Temburong residents to bypass Malaysia while the borders are closed due to COVID-19.

Cinemas, sports facilities, museums to shut in response to COVID-19

9.05pm | March 17, 2020

Cinemas nationwide will be shut down from tomorrow to halt the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.

They will be closed be closed for at least one week to allow cleaning.

Sports and recreational facilities will also be closed from tomorrow in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports said youth centres, museums and exhibition galleries including the Brunei History Centre Exhibition Gallery and Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park will be shut until further notice.

Sports complexes under the purview of MCYS will also be closed, but running tracks will remain open to the public.

Food supply remains stable, Brunei tourism to take a hit

8.52pm | March 17, 2020

Bruneians have been advised to avoid coronavirus-induced panic buying as the minister of primary resources and tourism promised that there will be adequate food supply in the country.

YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong said supply of chicken, eggs, red meat, seafood and vegetables from local farms and imported from other countries remains stable.

Businesses were also warned not to take advantage of the situation and hike prices of agricultural goods and seafood products.

Responding to a question on COVID-19’s impact on Brunei tourism in a press conference, the minister said he expects “a lot less” tourists compared to last year.

“We have to bear with it,” YB Dato Hj Ali said, adding that there were over 300,000 visitor arrivals by air last year.

Gov’t reassures safety of Bruneian students abroad

8.01pm | March 17, 2020

The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs have reassured parents and Bruneian students abroad that steps are being taken to ensure students’ safety and welfare amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

With the Brunei government imposing a travel ban on all travellers from Europe, including the UK, the education minister said MoE will study measures that would allow overseas Bruneian students to return home.

Students wishing to return home should contact the education attachés at the nearest Brunei mission.

Speaking during a press conference, YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Hamzah Hj Sulaiman said the ministry receives daily reports from education attachés in various countries on the condition of Bruneian students.

These education attachés are responsible for advising students to avoid travelling to badly-hit countries and participating in large gatherings.

Second foreign affairs minister YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Erywan Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Hj Mohd Yusof said there are 2,500 Bruneians pursuing their studies abroad, including 883 in Malaysia and 830 in the UK.

He urged the students and Bruneian travellers to enter their details on the ministry’s e-register system to make it easier for the government to provide assistance, especially if they live in countries that are under lockdown.

Travel ban extends to UK

6.48pm | March 17, 2020

The government has expanded travel restrictions, barring foreign visitors who have been to Europe, including the UK, in the past fortnight from entering Brunei.

Earlier this month, Brunei added countries in mainland Europe, Iran and Italy to the travel ban list.

Starting March 17, any travellers arriving in Brunei will also be required to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days, the Ministry of Health said.

Foreigners who regularly commute to Brunei for work, or Brunei residents who work outside of the country, will be granted a one-month exemption from the government directive that prevents all Brunei residents and expats from leaving the country.

However, they are still required to seek permission from the Prime Minister’s Office before they are granted the exit and entry permit.

Two new COVID-19 cases, total now at 56

6.43pm | March 17, 2020

The Ministry of Health has confirmed two new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total to 56.

In the daily press briefing on the COVID-19 situation, Health Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Jaafar said one of the new cases is linked to the Tabligh cluster in Malaysia, while the other case attended a Tabligh event in Brunei.

Two coronavirus-infected patients are reported to be in critical condition and require breathing assistance. Most patients are in a stable condition.

A total of 1,257 people are placed in quarantine while 23 people have completed their 14-day isolation.


Full statement from MoH: 

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Malaysia to enter partial lockdown on March 18

11.55am | March 17, 2020

Malaysia will shut its borders to foreigners on Wednesday until the end of March in measures announced by the prime minister Monday aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Citizens will be allowed to return to Malaysia but must undergo self-quarantine for two weeks, Muhyiddin Yassin said.

Schools and places of worship will also be closed while supermarkets and banks will remain open.

Many of the country’s 566 infections, the highest number in Southeast Asia, have been linked to the Tabligh gathering held last month.

Almost 20,000 people, including dozens of Bruneians, attended the Islamic event.

Reduced operating hours at border control posts

9.16pm | March 16, 2020

The Immigration and National Registration Department has announced reduced operating hours at four of its border checkpoints following the government’s decision yesterday to block all Brunei residents from leaving the country.

In a press statement, the department said the revised operating hours are from 6am to 10pm, effective from March 16 until further notice.

The border checkpoints are: Kuala Lurah Immigration Control Post, Temburong’s Ujung Jalan Control and Inspection Complex and Labu Temporary Control Post as well as Sungai Tujoh Immigration Control Post in Belait.

Temburong bridge to open for public use tomorrow

8.46pm | March 16, 2020

The Temburong bridge will be open to the public tomorrow as Brunei has tightened border controls to contain the coronavirus.

Second Finance and Economy Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah said only Brunei-registered private cars will be allowed to use the bridge, which will open from 6am to 10pm every day.

Brunei-registered commercial vehicles must seek permission from the Bridge Maintenance Office to use the bridge.

The opening of the 26km bridge is expected to reduce the travel time for Temburong residents to commute to Brunei-Muara by allowing them to bypass Limbang, Malaysia.

Minister of Transport and Infocommunications YB Dato Seri Setia Abdul Mutalib Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yusof said Temburong passenger boat services will still operate with a limited number of riders.

Full story here

MoRA announces mosque closures for one week

8.01pm | March 16, 2020

Brunei will close all mosques, surau and prayer halls for one week to rein in the spread of COVID-19, the minister of religious affairs announced today.

Joining the press conference with other ministers, YB Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman said Friday prayers will also be suspended this week.

The mosque closures will start from March 17 and end on March 23.

However, the Islamic call for prayer will continue and mosque officers will remain on duty.

The minister said mosques and other places of worship will also be disinfected in stages.

He added that the Brunei Islamic Religious Council will review the situation before a decision is made to extend the closure.

From L-R: Deputy Mufti Dato Dr Hj Japar, Minister of Development YB Dato Hj Suhaimi, Minister of Health YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham, Second Minister of Finance and Economy YB Dato Dr Hj Md Amin, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications YB Dato Abdul Mutalib. Photo: Ain Bandial/The Scoop

Brunei’s COVID-19 tally reaches 54, one patient in critical condition

7.42pm | March 16, 2020

The Ministry of Health has confirmed another four COVID-19 cases, taking the tally to 54 since Brunei reported its first case a week ago.

Health minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Jaafar said three of the new COVID-19 cases are linked to the Tabligh cluster in Malaysia, while one is an imported case involving a British man who recently travelled to Switzerland and other cities in the UK before entering Brunei.

In a press conference, he said one of the COVID-19 patients is in critical condition and requires breathing support. The patient is said to have underlying health conditions but no further details were disclosed.

Another two coronavirus-infected patients need “close monitoring” but are in good condition, the minister said, adding that most of the patients are stable.

Source: Ministry of Health

A total of 1,013 people have been ordered to undergo quarantine, while 1,312 laboratory tests have been conducted to date.

Forty-nine of Brunei’s COVID-19 cases are related to the cluster of people who attended a global Tabligh event at Kuala Lumpur’s Sri Petaling Mosque between February 27 and March 1.

More than half of Malaysia’s 553 coronavirus cases are linked to the gathering, which was attended by almost 20,000 people from countries including Bangladesh, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Around 14,500 of the participants were Malaysian.

Full statement from MoH: 

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UBD, UTB move lessons online

3.56pm | March 16, 2020

Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) have moved their lectures and tutorials online as part of precautionary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

In a press release, UTB said it has suspended face-to-face teaching and learning for students on taught programmes and those with underlying health conditions for at least two weeks, starting from March 16 to 29.

UBD said some academic staff and students are still allowed to conduct laboratory work on campus in a “cohorting manner”.

UTB students who are doing their internships have also been advised to work from home.

All UBD and UTB campus events that involve a large number of people will either be postponed or cancelled, including March and April wedding events at UBD’s Chancellor Hall.

Both varsities will conduct health screening on staff and students.

UBD has set up its hotline 8801000 while UTB can be reached at 8892800 for any university-related matters on COVID-19.

PMO shares guidelines for the outbound travel ban

1.58pm | March 16, 2020

Exit country travel bans have been made effective from 16 March 2020 for the following:

  • Brunei Darussalam citizens
  • Permanent residents holding red IC and a valid entry permit, including holders of Certificates of Identity and foreign and stateless passport holders
  • Foreign nationals who hold a green IC with a valid immigration pass
  • The spouse and children of the above who are residing in Brunei Darussalam and holding Certificates of Identity

Bruneians and foreign residents who need to leave the country for urgent matters, such as medical treatment, court hearings or to resume studies overseas, must apply for approval from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Forms can be downloaded from the Prime Minister’s Office website. Full statement from PMO:

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Participants of Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon or Pontianak Bike Week must self-isolate

12.40pm | March 16, 2020

From the Ministry of Health:

Those who participated in the Pontianak Bike Week held from March 12-14 in Kalimantan, Indonesia and the Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon held from March 14-16 in Sabah, Malaysia are required to register at the Port Health Unit at all points of entry into Brunei Darussalam, including Brunei International Airport.

They will receive guidelines to undergo self-isolation at home for 14 days upon arrival into the country.

For those who have already returned to Brunei but have not yet registered with the authorities, they are required to contact the Health Advice Line at 148.

The ministry also encourages members of the public to report any mass gatherings attended by Bruneians either locally or overseas to 148.

All Bruneians and foreign residents are barred from leaving the country

7.40pm | March 15, 2020

Beginning tomorrow, all citizens and residents of Brunei, including foreigners, will be barred from leaving the country in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“Tourists will be allowed to leave the country, but as for people coming into Brunei, that’s a matter that will have to be assessed in the next few days,” said health minister YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar.

Bruneians and foreign residents who need to leave the country for urgent matters, such as medical treatment, court hearings or to resume studies overseas, must apply for approval from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Requests can be sent to and should include supporting documents. More information on the process can be found on the PMO website.

Brunei reported 10 new cases today, bringing the total to 50. The minister said they expect to see a “surge” in the number of new cases in the coming weeks.

When asked how long the travel ban would last, the minister said it would depend on how effective the government and community are able to contain the spread of the disease.

“The most important thing is still containment and contact tracing of these [confirmed] cases. If we manage to get 80 percent or more of the contacts of this [Tabligh] cluster, God willing, we will be able to contain it.”

“We each have our role to play, social responsibility. ” he said, adding that all public places should be throughly cleaned and people need to maintain good personal hygiene.

“This is the most basic thing. If you all keep going out [of the country], continue to hold mass gatherings — we will not be able to do this [contain the spread of the virus].

“If this becomes beyond our capacity, it will be disastrous. It might trigger a lockdown.”

L-R: Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office YB Dato Hj Abdul Mokti, Minister of Health YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham, and Police Commissioner Dato Hj Md Irwan Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

Brunei COVID-19 tally rises to 50

7.14pm | March 15, 2020

The Ministry of Health said 10 more people tested positive for COVID-19 today, bringing the total number in Brunei to 50.

Forty-five are related to the cluster of people who attended a mass Tabligh gathering in Kuala Lumpur between February 27 and March 3, but five cases are independent of this cluster.

MoH urged anyone who attended a subsequent Tabligh gathering in Brunei from March 5 to 8 to come forward for testing after several attendees tested positive for COIVD-19 after having contact with individuals that attended the KL event.

“Any person with knowledge of someone who attended any of these events, and has not yet presented themselves should report these individuals to the Health Advice Line on 148,” the ministry added  in a statement.

Source: Ministry of Health

To date, a total of 886 people have been issued quarantine orders because they had close contact with those infected.

Health minister YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar said they expect to see a “surge” in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Malaysian authorities have also quarantined nine Brunei nationals in Kuala Lumpur after three tested positive for COVID-19. They are being treated at the Sg Buloh Hospital, Selangor. Of this group, one tested negative for the coronavirus, while five are awaiting lab results.

Full statement here: 

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Gov’t has restricted public events. But how do you define a mass gathering in the Bruneian context?

1.58pm | March 15, 2020

See the ministry’s guidelines below:

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Those returning to Brunei from EU must self-isolate for 14 days

7.58pm | March 14, 2020

Brunei has updated risk categorisation for coronavirus-affected countries, upgrading the EU to Category A. Travelers returning from mainland Europe must self-isolate for 14 days and avoid all public activities.

Again, the Ministry of Health strongly advises against non-essential travel.

The full risk categorisation here:

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Three new cases COVID-19 detected, bringing Brunei total to 40

7pm | March 14, 2020

The Ministry of Health said three more people tested positive for COVID-19 today, including a nine-month old baby.

Brunei has confirmed 40 cases, while another 638 people are under quarantine for having close contact with infected persons.

Minister of Health YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar said the cases are still contained to the KL cluster and there is no evidence of community transmission.

If the disease spreads, MoH is prepared to mobilise private healthcare workers to help alleviate the burden on the healthcare system, he added.

MoH has already scaled down some services and mobilised student nurses from PAPRSB Institute of Health Sciences at UBD to help out in hospital wards.

“Even if we take all the necessary measures, we cannot contain the disease unless people do their part by social distancing, cancelling mass gatherings and being socially responsible citizens,” the minister said.

The minister also cautioned the public against attending mass gatherings, whether in Brunei or elsewhere. He warned members of the Tabligh group to not attend an upcoming meeting in South Sulawesi, Indonesia from March 19 – 22 2020.

Full statement here:

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Group activities at Bandarku Ceria suspended

7.07pm | March 14, 2020

Clarifying an earlier statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that Bandarku Ceria will continue, but that all group activities such as walkathons, runs, etc will be suspended until further notice.

The capital will still be car-free on Sunday mornings and the public can participate in individual recreational activities. Vendors will still be permitted to operate during Bandarku Ceria.

16th session of Legislative Council to end early

11.32am | March 14, 2020

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the speaker has announced that the 16th session of the Legislative Council will conclude today, about a week ahead of schedule.

Debate and discussions on the national agenda will no longer take place, but questions submitted ahead of time will be answered in writing. LegCo members will vote on the government budget later today.

Government restricts public gatherings

9.32pm | March 13, 2020

In a press conference this evening, health minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar said that large public gatherings and events will not be allowed, including weddings and sporting events.

The National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam said it would suspend matches for the Brunei Super League until further notice. The Brunei Basketball Association announced similar measures to suspend games for the National Basketball League.

His Majesty the Sultan also gave consent to cancel public celebrations for Israk Miraj, which was scheduled to take place on March 22.

COVID-19 tally climbs to 37, five days after first case was announced

8.15pm | March 13, 2020

The Ministry of Health announced 12 news cases of coronavirus infection, bringing Brunei’s national tally to 37.

Thirty-four cases are related to the cluster of people who attended a mass Tabligh gathering in Kuala Lumpur in early March. Two cases are independent of this cluster, but have recent travel history to Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia.

The latest case, Patient 37, did not attend the event in Kuala Lumpur, but did attend a Tabligh gathering in Brunei on March 5 where several participants of the KL event were present. MoH is still investigating the context of each case.



To date, a total of 523 people have been issued quarantine orders because they had close contact with infected persons.

Since January, 478 laboratory tests for COVID-19 have been conducted, covering 319 people.

Here’s the full statement from Ministry of Health: 

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