BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Brunei has yet to start discussions with Malaysia on establishing a green lane for essential travel, the health minister said on Tuesday.

YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar said Malaysia has not handed in a formal request  to resume limited bilateral travel with Brunei.

Malaysia had expressed its interest to set up a green lane as early as June.

The green lane arrangement proposal was brought up again on Tuesday when Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin expressed hope that Brunei would consider establishing the reciprocal green lane to revive the economic activities of both countries.

His remarks were made after meeting the outgoing Brunei High Commissioner to Malaysia Dato Paduka Hj Alaihuddin POKDGSLDLU Hj Awg Mohd Taha.

Responding to a question on the proposed green lane at a press briefing, the health minister said, “In this regard, we will wait for the foreign affairs ministries in both countries to start the discussions if there is a need”.

Singapore was the first country that Brunei has agreed to resume limited international travel in September.

Alhamdulilah, the green lane with Singapore is working well but remember Singapore is slightly different as it is a low-risk country. The community spread is very minimal.

“Unfortunately, the community spread is still quite high in Malaysia especially in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Sabah. So those are two different categories of risks,” YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham added.

In the past 24 hours, Malaysia’s health ministry reported 1,012 COVID-19 cases and four deaths. The total number of infections in the country is 75,306.

Brunei recorded one new imported coronavirus case on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections to 152.

The latest case is a 39-year-old man who arrived in Brunei on Royal Brunei BI874 flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on November 27.

He showed no signs of infection and is currently being hospitalised at the National Isolation Centre as one of two active cases.

The minister said six of his identified contacts tested negative for COVID-19 thus far.

Eleven imported cases have been recorded since the last locally transmitted infection on May 6.

Brunei has posted 216 days without a domestic coronavirus transmission.

A total of 147 people have recovered from the virus while three deaths were reported.