BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Four wards have been placed on lockdown at RIPAS Hospital after 20 coronavirus cases were detected, the health minister said on Tuesday.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham Hj Jaafar said the wards have been closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to other patients and healthcare workers.

Speaking at his daily COVID-19 press briefing, he said the delivery of healthcare services to the affected wards may be compromised due to fewer staff.

The health ministry has yet to ascertain the source of the infection at RIPAS Hospital.

A total of 173 new coronavirus infections were confirmed in the past 24 hours, down 7.4 percent from a day earlier.

Majority of the cases were local transmissions except two that were imported from the Philippines.

Two new clusters emerged on Tuesday, including the worker dormitories of HHY Construction with nine cases so far.

Seventeen of the 30 new clusters identified in the past week were linked to the living quarters of foreign workers.

The Champion 7 oil field and related vessels, Brunei’s largest cluster since the pandemic began, was closed on Tuesday with 426 cases.

The Serambangun Industrial Park in Tutong is now the largest active cluster with 359 infections.

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

Another COVID-19 patient, a 69-year-old woman, had died overnight but the ministry did not attribute her death to the coronavirus as she had underlying health issues.

Some 169 patients are currently hospitalised at the National Isolation Centre, including 27 in the intensive care unit.

A total of 1,461 people were brought to four temporary isolation facilities, figures from the health ministry indicated.

The number of active cases stands at 2,721, while the cumulative confirmed infections hit 11,220.

Six mukim declared as red zones

Six sub-districts were identified as COVID-19 hotspots with over 80 cases reported in the past week.

Four of the mukim were located in Brunei-Muara, including Mukim Sengkurong with the highest number of positive cases at 321.

The other red zones in the capital district were Mukim Berakas A, Mentiri and Berakas B.

In Belait, Mukim Kuala Belait and Mukim Liang were named hotspots.

Only 6 of the 39 mukim in Brunei did not log any cases.

To date, 75.9 percent of the population has received at least one vaccine dose. In addition, 51.8 percent of residents are fully vaccinated.