14 more COVID-19 cases, total now 25

James Kon

Brunei Darussalam recorded the biggest jump of the number of COVID-19 cases in a single day after 14 individuals were tested positive, bringing the total to 25 cases in the country.

The announcement of the new cases was made by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar at a press conference at the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) Al-’Afiah Hall, yesterday.

Minister of Religious Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman was also present.

Of the new 14 cases, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said, “Thirteen individuals who tested positive are related to the group that travelled to the Tabligh (religious gathering) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.”

Case 12 is a local male aged 53 who joined the gathering. He flew on AirAsia flight AK5644 on March 4 to Miri, Sarawak. He then shared a vehicle with Case 7, Case 8 and Case 12 when returning to Brunei. He started having fever on March 6.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Case 13 is a local man aged 45 who also participated in the Tabligh in Kuala Lumpur. He returned to the country on AirAsia flight AK278 to Bandar Seri Begawan and sat at 19A. He started to show signs of infection (dizzy and cough) on March 4.

Case 14 is the wife of Case 13 and did not have any recent travel history to Kuala Lumpur and she did not show any symptoms of infection.

COVID-19 Case 15 is a local man aged 33 who joined the Tabligh. He returned to Brunei Darussalam on March 3 on AirAsia flight AK278 and didn’t show symptoms of the infection.

Case 16 is a local man aged 63 who participated in the gathering. He returned to the country on March 5 using Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) flight BI872 and didn’t show symptoms of infection.

Case 17 is a local man aged 33 who joined the religious gathering. He returned to the country on March 3 on RB flight BI874 and didn’t show symptoms of infection.

Case 18 is the wife of Case 8. The 30-year-old has no recent history of travel to Kuala Lumpur and she has cough and flu.

Case 19 is a local man aged 34 who travelled to Kuala Lumpur recently. He was tasked as the driver for the participants of the religious gathering. He didn’t participate in the gathering. He flew back to the country on March 3 using Royal Brunei BI874 and has no signs of infection.

Case 20 is a local man aged 64 who participated in the Tabligh. He went to Kuala Lumpur on February 27 and returned to Brunei Darussalam on February 29 using AirAsia flight AK278. He has shown symptoms of cough and flu on March 9.

Case 21 is a local man aged 35 who also joined the religious gathering. He flew from Kuala Lumpur to Miri on March 4 using AirAsia flight AK5644 and he used the same vehicle with Case 7, Case 8 and Case 12 to return to Brunei Darussalam. He hasn’t shown any symptoms of infection.

Case 22 is a local man aged 31 who is a colleague of Case 3. He did not have any recent travel history to Kuala Lumpur and has shown no signs of infection. He was tested as part of the investigation measures for close contact with Case 3.

Case 23 is a local man aged 63 who joined the gathering in Kuala Lumpur and he did not show any signs of infection.

Case 24 is a local man aged 30 and has joined the Tabligh and he also did not show any signs of infection.

Case 25 is a man aged 64 who has recent travel history to Kuala Lumpur and Cambodia. He has no relation to the group that went to the religious gathering in Jamek Sri Petaling Mosque. He returned to the country on March 4 and started to have fever on March 8.

The minister said, “Contact tracing is currently ongoing for the confirmed cases where close contacts like family members, colleagues and whoever has any relation to the cases will be contacted and assessed based on risk of infection. If the contacts were found to have been exposed to the confirmed cases, they will need to undergo laboratory test for COVID-19 and be quarantined.”

He said, “The MoH updated the number of locals who participated in the religious gathering in the Jamek Sri Petaling Mosque on February 28 to March 3. After thorough investigation, 81 locals were found to have attended the gathering whereby 70 of them have returned to the country. Sixty-six of them were tested for COVID-19 and the remaining four are being traced. Of the 66 participants tested, 16 were found positive while 25 were found to be negative. Twenty-five are waiting for test results.

Eleven locals are still overseas including three who are studying in Malaysia. The MoH advised them to undergo COVID-19 testing as soon as possible.

All the cases are currently being treated in the National Isolation Centre and they are in stable conditions and do not need assistance of breathing apparatus.

He revealed that the MoH sent samples of the first five cases for confirmation testing at World Health Organization (WHO) Reference Laboratory in Singapore according to the guideline of the organisation. The tests affirmed the five cases were positive for COVID-19. With this result, Brunei is able to conduct its own laboratory test for COVID-19.

Touching on the Infectious Diseases Act, he revealed Amendments on Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 204) and its regulation has been gazetted which are Infectious Diseases (Amendment of Schedule) Notification, 2020, and Infectious Diseases (Quarantine) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020. According to the Act, anyone who is suspected to be, a case, carrier or contact of infectious diseases are required to carry out medical examinations or medical treatment in hospital or any places determined by the Director General of MoH. Failure to comply is an offence under the Act and the concerned person can be ordered to be transferred to a hospital or another place where he may be detained and, if necessary, isolated until examination or treatment is completed.

Anyone who obstructs or helps obstruct the responsible party in conducting their responsibility under the Act or regulations under it or provide false information or mislead when required to provide information or document is an offence whereby, if found guilty, can bring a fine of BND10,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months or both for the first offence. For subsequent offences, the punishment is a fine of up to BND20,000 or imprisonment of up to one year or both.

For more information, visit the MoH website at www.moh.gov.bn or contact Health Advice line at 148.