BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The weekly average of new coronavirus cases in Brunei dropped to the lowest level since the government imposed a night curfew more than three weeks ago.

The sultanate averaged 183 new infections a day in the past week – the first time in three weeks the seven-day average fell below 200 cases.

It is also the second consecutive week that infections decreased.

Over the past week, the number of new COVID-19 cases declined 9.7 percent to 1,283 compared to 1,421 in the week prior.

The proportion of positive tests also fell from 4.42 percent to 4.28 percent week-on-week, suggesting that the Delta-driven outbreak is starting to slow down.

Source: Ministry of Health | Graphic: Dr Wee Chian Koh

Moreover, the weekly COVID death toll was the lowest at one fatality since August 22.

Another six COVID-19 patients had died in the past week, though their deaths were not attributed to the virus. This included three patients who were reported to have died in the past 24 hours – two women aged 64 and 34, as well as a 63-year-old man who had underlying health issues.

Statistics further showed that nine of the 27 new clusters in the past week were linked to migrant worker dormitories.

Two new clusters, highest daily recoveries

The health ministry detected 132 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the cumulative confirmed infections to 12,955.

Two new clusters were identified – a household cluster and workplace cluster at cleaning and facility management company ISS Facility Services.

Tutong’s Serambangun Industrial Park is still the largest active cluster with 359 cases, followed by Swee Sdn Bhd (255 cases) and Massutera Engineering (182 cases).

Source: Ministry of Health | Graphic: Dr Wee Chian Koh

Brunei also saw its highest number of recoveries in a day after 416 people were discharged overnight.

Among 2,004 active cases, seven are critically ill and another 15 require close monitoring.

As of Friday, 81.7 percent of the population has received at least one vaccine dose. Some 58.7 percent of Brunei residents have completed their full vaccination regimen.

Asked whether the emergence of new COVID-19 variants such as the Delta Plus is a concern, the health minister said MoH is monitoring the effects of Delta Plus – a mutation of the Delta variant that was first discovered in the UK.

During the COVID-19 press briefing on Friday, YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham Hj Jaafar said there is a possibility that the Delta Plus spreads faster than the regular Delta.

“Whatever new variants have emerged, MOH will monitor it because it can affect our plan to re-open,” he added.

The government earlier this week unveiled a three-phase COVID-19 lockdown exit plan that will see Brunei gradually lifting its 18-month travel restrictions.

Under the National COVID-19 Recovery Plan, Brunei will relax its 12-week partial lockdown rules when 70 percent of the population is fully jabbed.