COVID-19: Initial negative case turns positive

Izah Azahari

In light of the latest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said on Saturday that a person who initially tested negative for COVID-19 was shown to have the disease a few days later.

The minister noted that each contact person is quarantined for 14 days, even after the initial negative test result, and the recent incident proves how vital it is to stay isolated as a person may not have sufficient viral swab for detection at the onset.

“It is very important to be in quarantine, especially those who are under contact quarantine. If a person exhibits flu-like symptoms or a fever within 14 days of contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, he or she needs to get in touch with the health authorities,” he said.

This minister said such a case is not unusual, which is the reason for the 14-day quarantine.

On catching the coronavirus via banknotes, the minister said there have been studies that find banknotes to be one of the most contaminated items on the planet. However, no evidence has found that COVID-19 could be transmitted through it. Nevertheless, the minister advised the public to go cashless as often as possible as a precautionary measure.

The minister also touched on the option of self-isolation at home for local students returning from overseas to the country, reiterating that it is not compulsory to carry out self-isolation at designated apartment or hotel as there are families who disagree with their children staying at a hotel when there are rooms available in their own homes.

However, he said, “if a person feels that they are not disciplined enough to isolate themselves from others, they should not choose the home option as they risk endangering their family.”

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham also cautioned against violating the Self-Isolation Notice as those who break the order will be fined BND10,000 or face jail term or both, and the Ministry of Health with cooperation from the Royal Brunei Police Force will not hesitate to impose the fine on them.

For those who have successfully completed the Quarantine Order or served the Self-Isolation Notice, the minister said they will receive a letter from the Ministry of Health declaring that they are free from COVID-19.