BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Brunei government has reversed its decision to allow quarantine-free travel for UK arrivals, 10 days after announcing that the UK was one of four countries in its initial green travel list.
Speaking to reporters during the COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, the minister at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said authorities have decided to remove UK from the green travel list due to the emergence of the highly infectious Omicron variant.
YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah said individuals who intend to enter UK for non-essential reasons should put their travel plans on hold.
He added that the green travel list update is “crucial” to ensure the safety and well-being of Brunei residents.
The green list was drawn up as part of the government’s gradual easing of travel restrictions from January 1, 2022, nearly 22 months after borders were shut.
The UK has been battling a surge in COVID cases largely driven by the Omicron variant, setting record-breaking numbers of more than 100,000 infections on Wednesday.
Twelve people have also died after contracting the Omicron strain, but the number of deaths and hospitalisations in the UK is significantly lower than its January peak.
Omicron is now the dominant variant in Britain and other European countries, prompting authorities to reinstate COVID curbs.
Fully vaccinated Bruneian travellers are still eligible for quarantine exemptions upon their return from Australia, China and Singapore — the three other countries in the green list — as long as they produce negative PCR and antigen rapid tests before and after arrival. However, Australia is also seeing a record jump in coronavirus cases.
Under the travel guidelines published on the PMO website, incoming passengers from countries in the green list must also take antigen tests at one of the 12 designated ART certification centres three days after their arrival.
YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew said the green list will be updated from time to time, depending on countries’ COVID situation.