BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei is now under a strict night curfew as the health ministry reported 188 new coronavirus cases on Monday.
The country’s COVID-19 night restrictions went into effect tonight for two weeks in a bid to reduce the rising number of coronavirus infections over the past week.
Dubbed Operasi Pulih (Operation Recovery), the restrictions are the toughest yet since the pandemic began.
Residents are banned from leaving their homes from 8pm to 4am except for emergencies or essential work.
During his daily press briefing on Monday, Health Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Hj Jaafar called for everyone’s cooperation to comply with the directive and curb the spread of COVID-19.
“Hopefully, in the next few days, we can see fewer people going out. Let’s work together. We are sacrificing two weeks to ensure we can control the virus with [these movement restrictions],” he added.
The government sent the country into a partial lockdown on August 7 but new infections continued to pile up, reaching a daily high of 326 seven weeks after the COVID-19 curbs began.
To deter the public from breaking the night curfew, authorities have imposed a $100 on-the-spot fine.
Death toll rises to 38
Four more COVID-19 patients have passed away in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said.
Two of the fatalities – a 51-year-old man and 82-year-old woman – had succumbed to the virus, while the deaths of the two other cases were not attributed to COVID-19 as they had pre-existing health conditions.
The ministry also confirmed that a previous case whose cause of death was pending investigation has been classified as a COVID-19 fatality.
The official COVID-19 death toll stands at 38.
Six new clusters were detected in the past 24 hours, including two workplace clusters at Belait-based construction company Fazrul Sdn Bhd and Kamal Sdn Bhd.
Brunei marked the fifth consecutive day of record high active cases at 2,343 after 176 people were discharged overnight.
Among the active cases, 40 are warded in the intensive care unit.
Hundreds failed to show up for vaccination last week
YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham said about 300 foreign workers missed their first dose appointments on Sunday and a further 200 Bruneians and permanent residents failed to turn up for vaccination last Friday.
The ministry added more vaccination slots last Friday and Sunday at the Indoor Stadium, prioritising individuals who could not book their first dose appointment on the BruHealth app.
The minister said companies should play their part and inform authorities if their foreign workers are unable to turn up for vaccination as this would provide opportunities for others to get inoculated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.
Two weeks ago, 2,790 people did not attend their vaccination appointments.
Those without the BruHealth app were also required to take the antigen rapid test at the Indoor Stadium vaccination centre before they can take their first vaccine dose.
YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham said seven people returned positive antigen rapid test results at the vaccination site last Friday and Sunday, but one was a false positive after being administered a PCR test.
Beginning October 5, companies can book this Sunday’s vaccination slots for their foreign workers by sending a WhatsApp message to 8129148, 8139148, 8189148 and 8146148, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Figures from MoH showed that 67.2 percent of the population has received at least one vaccine dose, while 44 percent of Brunei residents completed their two-dose regimen.