BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei’s COVID-19 case count has increased for the second straight week, climbing 14.8 percent.
The health ministry detected 920 coronavirus infections in the last week, compared to 801 in the previous week.
From September 11-17, Brunei averaged 131 cases a day, up from 114 the week prior.
Although the week-on-week average went up, the health ministry previously said that the rate of infection is holding steady and not showing a significant increase – an indication that control measures are working.
The weekly ratio of positive tests rose to 3.57 percent, compared to 3.51 the week prior. More tests were also administered in Brunei over the past week, growing eight percent to an average of 3,903 tests a day.
The World Health Organization recommends that the positive rate should remain below five percent for two weeks before governments consider reopening. The threshold should be even lower in order to relax social restrictions and allow large gatherings or travel from different areas.
Battling a Delta-fueled second wave, Brunei is not expected to ease restrictions until at least October 3.
The official COVID-19 death toll rose to 21 on Friday after the health ministry confirmed that a 73-year-old woman succumbed to a lung infection.
A total of 4,475 coronavirus cases have been recorded since the second wave began on August 7. Of these, 99 percent were locally acquired infections.
139 new cases detected
An additional 139 COVID-19 infections were reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative confirmed cases to 4,814.
The new cases included one imported infection from Russia, the health ministry said.
Another four household clusters were identified on Friday, raising the number of active clusters to 88.
The majority (76.1%) of clusters in the second wave are household clusters.
The Champion 7 oil field and related vessels remained the largest active cluster with 425 cases, followed by Chung Hua Middle School Belait with 298 infections.
A total of 169 cases have been linked to The Mall in Gadong – the largest active cluster in Brunei-Muara district.
BruHealth data showed that Brunei-Muara is now the worst-hit district, accounting for over 65 percent of the 1,528 active cases.
Among the active cases, nine are critically ill and 21 require close observation.
During his press briefing, Health Minister YB Dato Dr Hj Mohammad Isham said about 200 people who are undergoing quarantine have been given COVID-19 wristbands.
The plastic bracelets were introduced six days ago to deter close contacts of confirmed cases from breaching quarantine rules.
Meanwhile, the minister also appealed to the public to donate blood as the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hjh Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital is facing a blood shortage.
Those who wish to donate blood can book their appointments via the Bloodkad app.