BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN –- Brunei has halted its reciprocal green lane arrangement with Singapore after a resurgence of COVID-19 cases prompted the city-state to tighten social distancing measures.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced in a statement on Wednesday that the suspension of the green lane for essential business and official travel takes effect on May 20.

Passengers who have already received approval to enter Brunei can still proceed with their travel plans under the green lane arrangement until 1900 hrs on May 20.

“After this period, all travellers from Singapore will be required to undergo self-isolation at hotels for a period determined by the Ministry of Health’s risk assessment,” the statement added.

Both countries had agreed to establish the green lane for essential travel last September.

The bilateral travel arrangement previously allowed passengers to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement as the number of COVID-19 infections had slowed down in Brunei and Singapore.

Inbound green lane travellers were required to take a coronavirus test and remain in isolation for one to three days until they have received their test results.

Brunei has one of the world’s strictest border controls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Singapore was the only country that Brunei had agreed to resume limited international travel after the sultanate imposed an outbound travel ban on its residents in March last year.

Foreign nationals are also barred from entering the country since March 24 last year, unless they are essential travellers who have received permission from PMO.

The decision to halt the green lane arrangement with Singapore comes two days after Brunei banned arrivals from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Nepal.

Over the past two weeks, Singapore has been experiencing a spike in local COVID-19 transmissions that were mostly linked to the Changi Airport cluster.

The city-state’s government this week introduced new measures to rein in the coronavirus, including shutting schools, banning dining in eateries and limiting social gatherings to two people.