BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — New coronavirus infections have stabilised to about 100 a day, the health minister said after Brunei logged 116 more cases on Monday.
During a press briefing, YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Isham Hj Jaafar said the COVID-19 infection rate appeared to be stable, a day after the country reported its lowest daily case count since September 10.
Monday’s tally of new infections meant that it is the sixth day in a row that the number of daily cases remained below 200.
Brunei averaged 183 new infections a day last week, the first time in three weeks the seven-day average fell below 200 cases.
“With Operasi Pulih, hopefully we will see the cases declining further,” said the minister.
However, he added that some individuals were still engaged in non-essential outings during night movement restrictions that began on October 4.
Six new clusters were detected in the past 24 hours – four family clusters and worker dormitories of Tumasek Construction Project and Astal Engineering.
The health ministry also confirmed that another coronavirus patient had died overnight, but the 86-year-old victim was not categorised as a COVID-linked death.
Brunei’s COVID death toll stands at 54, while the cumulative confirmed infections hit 13,246.
MoH approves more antigen rapid test kits
The health ministry has approved another 21 antigen rapid test kits to improve access of the COVID-19 screening tool.
Businesses will now be able to import 30 types of COVID-19 self-test kits in the ministry’s growing list of tests that can be used at home or workplaces.
The government recently made it mandatory for businesses to provide antigen rapid test kits to all migrant workers at least once a week.
Antigen rapid tests usually take 10-15 minutes to detect an active coronavirus infection, though they are not as sensitive as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
The self-test kits are not meant to diagnose COVID cases but identify infections with a high enough viral load in the nasal passage or through saliva.
Individuals with a positive antigen test result should get a PCR test immediately.
YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham urged the public to check the authenticity of self-test kits and report to the authorities if counterfeit products were found.
“If you notice that the test kit does not match the original packaging based on pictures available on the internet, you can report to Talian Darussalam 123 or Department of Laboratory Services at RIPAS Hospital,” he added.
Mobile vaccine drive at three health clinics
The mobile vaccination team will make its way to three health clinics this week.
Kampung Bolkiah A and B residents or those living around Mukim Sungai Kebun can proceed to Kampung Bolkiah Health Clinic to get their first vaccine dose on Tuesday from 9am to 2.30pm.
The Sungai Liang Health Centre will administer vaccines to Mukim Liang residents on Wednesday and Thursday from 9am to 2.30pm.
Mobile vaccination services will be available for Mukim Pengkalan Batu residents on Friday from 9am to 12pm and Sunday from 9am to 2.30pm.
Individuals with health or mobility issues can register with their village head to get vaccinated at their homes.
Brunei remains on course to reach its 80 percent double vaccination goal by year’s end as 82.1 percent of the population has received at least one vaccine shot, while 59.3 percent is fully jabbed.