BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – A total of 34,863 Muslims performed Friday prayers at mosques for the first time since the second wave of COVID infections forced the closure of places of worship 15 weeks ago.

About 85 percent of the 41,141 people with booking slots turned up for Friday prayers this week, data from the health ministry showed.

Statistics also indicated that the majority (95.4 percent) of the 43,110 available slots were booked.

Mosques and prayer halls reopened with a 50 percent capacity limit or up to 200 people, as part of Brunei’s gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions in the transition phase of its national COVID recovery plan.

Individuals who cannot join the mass Friday prayers at mosques should cancel their reservations on the BruHealth app and allow other worshippers to attend, Health Minister YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham Hj Jaafar said at a press conference on Saturday.

Bookings for next week’s Friday prayers will open from November 22 at 2pm.

FILE PHOTO: Visitors gather for the Bandarku Ceria event on November 22, 2020. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

Bandarku Ceria resumes tomorrow

The weekly Bandarku Ceria event will make a return on Sunday with limited activities.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham said vendors will not be permitted to open stalls or organise other activities during the Bandarku Ceria event.

“It’s only a road closure to allow the public to exercise,” he said in response to concerns of large crowds.

Only fully vaccinated individuals with green and yellow BruHealth codes can attend the Bandarku Ceria event, while group exercise activities of up to 15 people are allowed, according to the home affairs ministry’s guidelines.

MoH reports 70 new cases

The daily coronavirus case count rose to 70 on Saturday, a day after Brunei entered the transition phase towards living with endemic COVID.

Two of the new cases were imported from Jakarta, the health ministry said.

Another two new clusters were identified, including the staff quarters of Nur Zafirah Engineering and a private household.

There are now 421 active cases, with 96.3 percent of COVID patients making full recoveries since the pandemic began last year.

As of Friday, 92.6 percent of Brunei residents have taken at least one vaccine dose against COVID and 74.6 percent are fully jabbed.