Don’t be complacent in COVID-19 fight

As mentioned by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar at a press conference recently, Brunei should not be complacent but should continue to be vigilant.

COVID-19 cases involving foreign workers in Singapore saw a spike after 287 workers in dormitories were affected.

Detection went largely unnoticed in Singapore due to a number of factors.

Many of the workers had limited understanding of English, Mandarin or Malay.

Many had limited access to media and knew very little about COVID-19 including the symptoms. Many of these foreign workers were found to have only mild symptoms and continued to work and interact with the community. As such, they went largely undetected.

They were transported sitting closely together in the back of trucks and vans, in close contact to each other.

Police officers, wearing face masks guard the gate of a dormitory compound for foreign workers placed under quarantine to battle the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in Singapore on April 9. The writer believes Brunei should be cautious with regards to opening its borders and lifting restrictions and continue to employ good situational awareness of neighbouring countries, so that all of the progress in Brunei is not undone. PHOTO: AFP

Recently, the Manpower Ministry (MOM) of Singapore announced the formation of a special task force to provide support to foreign workers and dormitory operators in Singapore.

Many of these workers have been quarantined while the healthy workers have been moved out of the dormitories to new accommodation, to break the chain of infection.

Social distancing is now observed in trucks and vans ferrying all foreign workers while employers in Singapore have been asked to review the maximum seating capacity in vehicles with a one metre safe seating to be clearly marked.

These regulations may now result in employers having to arrange more than one trip to ferry workers, however these changes, limit the opportunity for transmission.

There may be some strategies from the Singapore situation that Brunei may consider adopting to limit the transmission among foreign workers in Brunei.

It was pleasing to hear that the Ministry of Health in Brunei has recently started testing foreign workers.

Brunei should be cautious with regard to opening its borders and lifting restrictions and continue to employ good situational awareness of neighbouring countries, so that all of the progress that made in Brunei is not undone.

A Concerned Resident