BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — The Ministry of Education (MoE) has moved forward the second school term holidays to August 11 instead of September 12 due to a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.

School holidays will start on Wednesday until August 17. The amendment applies to all primary and secondary schools, colleges, sixth form centres as well as schools under the purview of Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Technical and vocational institutions, training and lifelong learning centres and institutions of higher learning will continue online learning, which started on August 9. 

Last year, MoE also brought forward the school holidays after the first COVID-19 case was detected in March.

Students were required to conduct home-based learning after the school holidays for more than three months before schools resumed in-person classes.

In a statement, MoE advised students undergoing work placement to adhere to the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) at their workplace and industrial training guidelines that have been set by their learning institutions.

“All educational institutions are to activate their respective Business Continuity Plan (BCP) and implement the Work From Home (WFH) method in line with the flexible working arrangements for all public servants as stated in the Prime Minister’s Office Circular with reference 06/2020,” it added.

The ministry’s COVID-19 Operation Centre can be contacted at 2382396 during office hours for any queries.

MTIC closes service counters

The Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) has announced the closure of service counters and amended its operating hours following tightened COVID-19 restrictions.

All of Land Transport Department’s (LTD) service counters will also be closed. However, the counters at immigration control posts will continue to open from 6am to 3pm except public holidays.

LTD will not be accepting any new applications for driving license; temporary driving license; driving license endorsement, Highway Code test and practical driving test. Any changes will be announced at a later date.

All driving license and vehicle license renewal applications must be submitted through Talian Darussalam 123 (TD123), TransportBN mobile app or GOV.BN website (e-Darussalam).

Applicants aged 70 years and above must submit their driving license renewal applications through TD123 only.

For cross-border vehicle license permits, approvals have been extended until LTD service counters reopen.

Applications that have been processed will be sent to the applicant’s address.

Meanwhile, passengers departing via the Brunei International Airport must be dropped off by not more than two people.

For postal services, the Mail Processing Centre is closed except the Parcel Delivery Counter and Premium Service Counter (EMS), with operating hours from 8am to 3pm.

Post offices are also closed except its parcel delivery counters, including Muara, Sengkurong, Seri Kompleks, Tutong, Lumut, Seria, Belait, Bandar Seri Begawan, Bangar, Bunut, Salambigar, Limau Manis, Lumapas, Lamunin, Telisai, and Rimba. The operating hours are also 8am to 3pm.

The parcel delivery counter at Labi Postal Office will only be open every Tuesday from 8am to 10am.

Post offices at the Brunei International Airport and Anggerek Desa have been shut.

Members of the public are encouraged to use online services such as TransportBN, Talian123 and the GovBN portal.

The Pasarneka and Tamu Tutong complex underwent deep cleaning in 2020 following the spread of COVID-19. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

Markets allowed to operate with safety guidelines

Markets and stalls under the purview of district offices and municipal departments are still allowed to operate but must comply with COVID-19 guidelines. 

However, Tutong Pasarneka and Market Complex, held every Thursday and Sunday will be closed from August 12.

During a COVID-19 press briefing, Home Affairs Minister YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Hj Abu Bakar Hj Apong said the Buy Local Produce’ campaign that was launched in April last year is ongoing and vendors can still supply their produce to Ghanim International Corporation.

“After the de-escalation last year, many of the vendors prefer to sell directly to their customers. This service is still available and will help ensure their income is not badly affected,” he added. 

Other activities such as exhibitions, bazaars or expos have also been banned.