Learning from other countries to combat COVID-19

With Brunei having confirmed COVID-19 cases, it would be prudent to learn about the steps taken by countries that have been successful in limiting the spread of the virus.

These countries took early action. Looking at Singapore, the government has an ‘all government’ approach where all ministries work together to follow the same plan of action as well as using the same uniformed approach, tools, measures and documentation.

Their Ministry of Health has a dedicated ‘contact tracing’ team following up on every single case.

Singapore actively monitors the development of the virus outbreak and works to disseminate messages to the public with the clear details along with instructions when further measures need to be activated.

All employers follow uniformed workflow charts provided, such as ‘screening procedure for employees and visitors’, ‘managing an unwell employee in the workforce’, and ‘steps for contact tracing in the work place’.

Visitors walk along the Merlion park in Singapore on March 6. The writer believes Brunei should learn about the measures taken by countries that have been successful in limiting the spread of the virus. PHOTO: AFP

During the 14-day quarantine period, where possible, employers adopt flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and teleconferencing, to allow employees to work from home.

Singapore strictly enforces and follows up on the 14 days quarantine period issued and have revoked both student visas and PR status for people found to have breached this.

Hong Kong has also managed to keep its cases at a low level. This has been managed through the closing of land borders and ensuring that everyone wears a mask. Hong Kong has also implemented ‘social distancing’.

It is heartening to see that Brunei’s Ministry of Health has acted quickly to contain the outbreak and disseminate information to the public.

However, we should certainly utilise the knowledge from these two countries, the wealth of information gathered and the research undertaken over the last few months, highlighting successes, to keep Brunei safe!

Concerned Resident