Brunei records first COVID-19 case

James Kon

Brunei Darussalam recorded its first case of COVID-19 after a local male aged 53 with a history of travelling to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was tested positive for the contagious disease yesterday.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad Isham bin Haji Jaafar in a press conference announced the updates on the COVID-19 situation yesterday evening at the Ministry of Health. The minister urged the public not to panic.

He stated that initial laboratory tests indicated positive result for the infection yesterday afternoon.

The patient arrived in Brunei on March 3 from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia together with three friends.

The patient is receiving treatment at the National Isolation Centre, Tutong.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad Isham bin Haji Jaafar speaks to the media

The minister added “The patient initially felt unwell, with body ache, high fever, cough and runny nose on March 7, and received treatment at the Emergency Department, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital the next day.

As a monitoring measure, based on the patient’s travel history to the affected country and showing signs of respiratory infection, a test to detect COVID-19 was conducted. From the preliminary test result, the patient was found positive to COVID-19 infection. The Ministry of Health is waiting for further confirmation of the test result.”

At this moment, he said “the patient is in a stable condition.”

The Ministry of Health responded immediately to detect and conduct contact tracing to all of the patient’s contacts including family members and three of his friends who were on the same trip as the patient.

All members of the family living in the same house with the patient have been notified to undergo 14 days quarantine.

All contacts involved will also undergo laboratory tests to detect the COVID-19 infection. The Ministry of Health will continuously maintain high vigilance to prevent and control the spread of the COVID-19 infection in Brunei Darussalam, as well as heighten surveillance and risk assessment due to the rise of infection cases within the Asia-Pacific region.

The Ministry of Health advised the public not to panic and continue to take preventive measures such as observing good personal hygiene; practising frequent hand washing with soap and clean water (especially before handling food or eating, after going to the toilet, or after coughing or sneezing); wearing a face mask if one develops respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose; covering nose and mouth with a tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, and disposing the soiled tissue paper in the rubbish bin immediately; being socially responsible if one developes any respiratory symptoms, ie to seek medical attention and rest at home, as well as avoid going to public places and attending social gatherings.

The Ministry of Health reiterated that the public should postpone unnecessary travel to affected countries. This is to tighten the control of imported cases into the country, as there is definite human to human transmission of the disease.

The ministry sought public cooperation to act responsibly and avoid spreading any information that is misleading and untrue, as well as to respect the privacy of the patient and his family members. The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the development of the COVID-19 through information received from the World Health Organization (WHO) and regularly update the public.

The Ministry of Health will also ensure continuous prevention and control measures are in place at the highest level.

For latest information, members of the public can visit the Ministry of Health’s website at or contact Health Advice Line at 2381380 or 2381383 (during office hours) or; Darussalam hotline 123 (after office hours).