BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei will introduce the use of vaccine passports that restrict unvaccinated individuals from accessing public places, the health minister said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

Only vaccinated residents will be able to enter their workplaces, restaurants, retail stores and other public facilities once the country reopens its economy, said YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Isham Hj Jaafar.

As part of its transition plan to living with endemic COVID-19, Brunei is expected to gradually lift its 12-week movement curbs when 70 percent of the population has completed their two-dose regimen.

A digital vaccine pass will be issued to fully jabbed residents on the BruHealth mobile app, while those without BruHealth must bring along their yellow-coloured vaccination certificate before gaining entry to public venues.

“Employers must ensure their workers are fully vaccinated before they can open their shops, so both the workers and customers must be fully vaccinated,” the minister said.

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

As of Tuesday, 82.3 percent of Brunei residents have received at least one vaccine dose and 61.9 percent of the population is fully jabbed.

Vaccine passports have also been used in other countries to prove an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status and determine whether they can access public spaces.

However, the decision to impose the use of vaccine passes has sparked controversy in several countries as it raises concerns on discrimination against the unvaccinated.

Seven new clusters emerge

The health ministry recorded 125 new COVID-19 cases after seven new clusters were identified on Wednesday.

Four of the new clusters were linked to worker dormitories — Ban 2A Construction Staff House, Ban 5 Construction Staff House, Jalan Pasir Berakas Staff House and Bhuiyan Construction. The remaining three were family clusters.

There are currently 176 active clusters, including the largest active cluster of 359 cases at Tutong’s Serambangun Industrial Park, which has not reported new infections since October 15.

Swee Sdn Bhd, one of Brunei’s biggest construction companies, is the second largest active cluster with 263 cases.

Among the 1,433 active cases, 20 are being treated at the National Isolation Centre’s intensive care unit.

The cumulative confirmed COVID-19 infections stand at 13,446.