BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei will remain in a semi-lockdown for another month as the second COVID-19 wave has not been brought under control yet, the health minister announced Thursday.

YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Hj Jaafar said coronavirus restrictions will be extended until October 3 given that the COVID-19 situation is still unstable and first dose vaccinations have been put on hold in the country.

This is the second time the partial lockdown has been extended as Brunei has been grappling with its worst COVID-19 outbreak, more than three weeks after reporting its first locally transmitted cases in 15 months.

The Delta variant has fuelled the surge in second wave of COVID-19 cases, which were 16 times higher than the first three weeks of the first outbreak last year.

A total of 2,621 coronavirus cases have been reported in the current outbreak, making up 88.5 percent of Brunei’s overall COVID-19 tally.

The Ministry of Health Thursday detected 102 new coronavirus infections, down from 146 a day earlier.

One new cluster of 36 infections has been identified and linked to Case 2089, while 65 of the new cases are yet to be linked to any of the 49 active clusters.

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

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham also confirmed the death of an 84-year-old man who had “several health problems” after contracting COVID-19. However, his death is not classified as a coronavirus-related death.

The official COVID-19 death toll stands at 11.

Following the death of Brunei’s youngest COVID-19 victim in his 20s on Wednesday, the minister said the Delta variant does not spare younger people.

“Being young does not guarantee being immune to the virus,” he said, adding that infected children have also developed symptoms unlike the first wave last year.

Recovered patients no longer required to undergo home isolation after 14 days

From September 6, COVID-19 patients who have recovered 14 days after their diagnosis will no longer be required to undergo home isolation.

As part of the health ministry’s revised COVID-19 management guidelines, it is not necessary for recovered patients to isolate for 21 days.

The minister previously said the coronavirus is no longer viable after eight days of illness.

However, COVID-19 patients who were discharged before the end of their 14-day isolation must complete their quarantine period at home.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham said the guidelines were amended after studying World Health Organization’s recommendations and the patient management practices of other countries.

A total of 1,144 people have made full recoveries since the pandemic started, including 91 on Thursday.

Thirty-six COVID-19 patients are in the Intensive Care Unit, with seven of them in critical condition.