BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The health ministry has confirmed one new COVID-19 infection on Wednesday after a 31-year-old woman tested positive for the coronavirus while undergoing mandatory isolation.
The woman was said to have travelled from an unspecified country in the Middle East and transited in Kuala Lumpur before boarding Royal Brunei Airlines flight BI874 to the sultanate on August 12.
In a press briefing, health minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Hj Jaafar said the asymptomatic patient is receiving treatment at the National Isolation Centre in Tutong.
The ministry has identified 42 people whom the woman came into contact with, including 34 who have tested negative for the coronavirus while the rest are awaiting results.
The latest case is the second imported infection reported in 12 days, taking the overall COVID-19 tally to 143. Brunei’s recovery rate stands at 97 percent and three deaths were recorded.
Brunei has not detected any local transmission of COVID-19 for over 100 days despite relaxing public health control measures from May 16.
However, strict border controls remain as Brunei residents must seek government approval to travel abroad while foreign nationals are required to get a travel permit from the Department of Immigration and National Registration before entering Brunei.
Addressing reports of three Indonesian nationals who contracted the coronavirus upon arrival from Brunei, YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham clarified that the Indonesian health ministry notified Brunei of the cases on August 13, four days after they returned to Surabaya.
He said the three Indonesians have since recovered and were allowed to return home.
All 42 close contacts of the three Indonesian citizens in Brunei returned negative test results and have been ordered to quarantine for two weeks.
Indonesia has repatriated over 1,000 of its citizens from Brunei since May 1, according to its embassy here.
The minister further said doctors at private clinics are now authorised to issue an isolation notice to patients who display coronavirus symptoms.
A set of isolation guidelines have been distributed to doctors to assist them in their decision-making.