BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei reported one new imported COVID-19 case on Thursday as the government announced further relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.

The latest patient is a 29-year-old local man who arrived in the sultanate on September 18 aboard Royal Brunei Airlines flight BI4112 from India.

The Ministry of Health said he shows no signs of infection but is currently being treated at the National Isolation Centre.

The patient is the only active case being treated in Brunei, with the national COVID-19 tally now reaching 146. Of that number 142 have made recoveries while three deaths have been recorded since the first infection was detected in early March.

More than 94 percent of residents have now registered on BruHealth, with the government making it mandatory to sign in and out of all public places using the contact-tracing app.

No football yet, but MCYS allows tourneys for select sports

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) said from September 28 people can organise tournaments for six sports: tennis, squash, badminton, table tennis, sepak takraw and golf.

However no spectators will be allowed and organisers must obtain permits from the relevant authorities.

MCYS minister YB Major General (R) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin said that the ban on team sports competitions, such as football, will remain in place, and training sessions must be limited to 15 people.

Last week, the National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam cancelled the remainder of the Brunei Super League season, citing the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the resumption of football matches.

Mass gatherings remain capped at 350

With outbound travel still restricted — and Bruneians seeking more recreational activities during the pandemic — MCYS has reported a surge in the use of public sports facilities, with 480,000 individuals checking in since easing of restrictions began in late May.

Health minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Hj Jaafar said that from Monday, arcades will be allowed to increase their operating capacity to 80 percent, while swimming pools will be allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity but cannot exceed more than 100 people.

He added that any public events or mass gatherings such as weddings will remain capped at 350 people.

“This limit is for the total number of people present at an event, which includes all the guests, organiser’s family members, committee members, catering staff and anyone present at the event,” the minister explained during a press conference.

He also warned people that from September 7 it has become compulsory to use BruHealth to scan in and out of public places, and violators can be fined up to 10,000 for breaking the law.

Business owners can also be fined for not displaying a QR code at the entry and exit points of their premises.

Since June, the health ministry has inspected 891 business premises, with 540 violations found and fines issued. Among the most common offences are failure to conduct temperature checks on visitors and food handlers not wearing face masks.