Source of COVID-19 Case 103’s infection remains unknown

Lyna Mohamad

The unknown source of infection of Case 103 was among the questions raised at the COVID-19 Press Conference conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday. There were concerns among the public about how the patient got infected.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said the patient is still unwell for questioning and the medical team will wait until he gets better. The minister added, “But we’ve been asking his family and friends to find out the possible connection to any of the current clusters. He is still under observation and he is one of the cases that need close monitoring.”

On the capacity to handle cases, the minister responded that currently there are 107 active cases and there are 30 extra beds. The ministry is anticipating more cases as Bruneians and residents are coming back and some may be positive. The MoH is discussing with relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) and Ministry of Development (MoD) to make plans.

The minister added, “For the time being, we have a plan in case we run out of isolation units but more plans are under discussion and will be shared by the ministry in the near future.”

Asked if the MoH is expecting to see a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases with more than 2,000 returning home from the United Kingdom (UK), Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham responded that these people are placed in isolation because of the possibility of a second wave of infection. It is expected that about 20 per cent of them might be positive even though they are not showing symptoms. The ministry is doing swab tests in stages and those discovered early will be isolated at the National Isolation Centre. The minister reminded that those tested negative are still at risk of becoming positive and therefore it is vital for a full 14 days of isolation.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar. PHOTO: JAMES KON

He reminded those undergoing self-isolation/quarantine at their houses to not mix with their family members and try to confine to themselves in their rooms.

As for the hospitality sector coming forward to offer their premises as venues for isolation of those returning to Brunei, the minister said there were some responses but he hoped for more.

On the clusters of infected people, the minister pointed out that the three identified clusters are the Tabligh group, those from Surabaya and those coming back from the UK and their family members.

Regarding data privacy for the use of recently introduced web applications, the minister said the data stays within the country and an agreement was signed with the developers to ensure that.

With online learning starting from Monday, the minister was asked if this means the school term holiday will be extended. The minister responded that it will be announced by the Ministry of Education.