BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — Businesses have been mandated to provide COVID-19 antigen rapid tests to all foreign workers at least once a week, the home affairs minister said on Saturday.

Regardless of whether the migrant workers live in dormitories or other housing arrangements, YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar Hj Apong said employers have the responsibility to ensure their foreign staff conduct self-testing.

During the COVID press briefing, he said market stalls are also required to carry out self-testing once a week as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus.

“Employers should implement the same procedure at their business premises,” he added.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Awg Abu Bakar did not provide details on whether action will be taken against companies that do not provide self-test kits for their foreign workers.

The mandatory self-testing comes after a large number of COVID-19 cases emerged at migrant worker dormitories in the past month.

More than 1,600 coronavirus infections and 45 clusters have been detected at the living quarters of foreign workers since the government enforced night movement restrictions on October 4.

The minister earlier this week said a committee had been established to monitor the welfare and living conditions of migrant workers.

The committee was also tasked to ensure that employers relocate workers if their dwellings were found to be overcrowded.

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

Active cases fall below 2,000 for first time since September 24

The number of active cases has dropped to its lowest level of 1,886 since September 24 as Brunei continued its downward trend in daily coronavirus infections.

The health ministry registered 110 new COVID cases on Saturday, including two imported from the UK. The overall tally reached 13,065.

Five new household clusters were identified, while two new clusters were linked to the staff quarters of WYWY Restaurant Lambak and KSAKB Construction and Engineering.

Seven clusters were closed on Saturday, including Al-Islah rehabitalitation centre with 141 cases.

The health ministry also confirmed that a 62-year-old COVID patient died overnight, but her death was not attributed to the coronavirus. Brunei’s COVID death toll stands at 53.

Twenty people are warded in the intensive care unit.

As of Friday, 81.8 percent of the population has received at least one vaccine dose against COVID-19 and 58.8% is fully vaccinated.