BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei reported a 26.2 percent drop in new coronavirus cases on Monday, but the health minister stopped short of saying the second wave had peaked in the sultanate.

Seventy-six new COVID-19 cases were detected today, down from 103 a day earlier.

YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar said he does not expect a steady decline in new cases in the coming days despite detecting fewer infections on Monday.

“We hope that the number of cases will continue to decrease, but there will be some surge here and there.

“It won’t be steadily going down, it might increase again tomorrow,” the minister said.

The health ministry also administered 1,811 tests in the last 24 hours, the lowest number of daily tests conducted since August 9. For comparison, Brunei has averaged 3,710 coronavirus tests a day over the past week.

Asked whether the fall in swab samples indicated fewer close contacts being tested, the minister said the number of close contacts has dropped since the partial lockdown was imposed on August 9.

“When there’s more swabbing, it means that many people are still going out and about,” he said, adding that Brunei residents should continue staying at home unless they are undertaking essential activities.

While the number of coronavirus cases and tests dropped, the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 rose to 4.2 percent on Monday, as opposed to 3.3 percent a day earlier.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham said anyone with flu-like symptoms should get tested even if they are unaware of coming into contact with someone who contracted COVID-19.

Health minister YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

Highest number of recoveries in a day

Brunei registered a record number of recoveries in a single day after 111 patients were discharged overnight.

This is also the first time the number of recoveries surpassed new cases in the current outbreak.

Since the second wave of infections began three weeks ago, a total of 2,302 coronavirus cases have been recorded. Some 508 have already recovered.

The three largest clusters are in Belait district, according to health ministry figures.

Champion 7 oil field and related vessels is the largest active cluster with 346 cases, followed by Chung Hua Middle School Kuala Belait with 287 cases and Institute of Brunei Technical Education Kuala Belait campus with 72 cases.