BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The government will no longer allow positive COVID-19 cases to isolate at home, a move aimed at preventing infected people from breaking their quarantine orders and spreading the coronavirus.

Health Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Hj Jaafar Wednesday said confirmed cases with mild symptoms will be transferred to makeshift isolation facilities for monitoring and treatment.

About 400 people are expected to be transported from their homes to designated isolation centres in the coming days.

Speaking during his daily press briefing, the minister said authorities are reviewing cases who flouted quarantine rules and legal action will be taken against them.

“While we were increasing capacity [at isolation facilities], it was found that a few of those who were under quarantine or positive cases went out.

“This has created problems. If you want to quarantine at home and you’re still going out, that’s a problem,” he added.

In a stern warning, YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham said authorities will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who refuse to be transferred to government isolation facilities.

“Once you have been called to prepare for admission, they will tell you the time. Don’t make excuses such as doing your laundry or cooking first. When we go there, you go. You don’t make people wait.

“There has been a lot of such cases, I think the relevant agencies are too kind already. So I think enough is enough,” he continued.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham said the government can now accommodate more COVID-19 patients at makeshift healthcare facilities, which have a combined bed capacity of over 2,000.

The Belait Sixth Form Centre is being turned into a makeshift isolation facility for COVID-19 patients. Photo: Ministry of Defence

Majority of 116 new cases unlinked

The health ministry recorded 116 additional coronavirus infections on Wednesday, with the majority (74) of the new cases unlinked to the existing 56 clusters.

Two new clusters were identified and linked to Patients 3395 and 3412 with eight and four cases, respectively.

Ninety-one people were discharged over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 2,149.

The number of active cases stands at 1,514, while the overall COVID-19 tally reached 3,683.

Eight people are in critical condition and another 29 require close observation in the Intensive Care Unit.

Asked to comment on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to raise the travel risk assessment level for Brunei, the minister acknowledged that the sultanate’s confirmed coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents is high.

Brunei has 850 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people — the sixth highest rate in Southeast Asia.

The sultanate is currently battling its worst COVID-19 outbreak, reporting 3,344 cases since its second wave began a month ago.

To date, 51.9 percent of the population have taken at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Some 27.4 percent of residents are fully vaccinated after completing their two-dose regimen.