Belait flexes muscles in COVID-19 fight

Daniel Lim

With the COVID-19 pandemic making a drastic impact on the lifestyle and livelihood of everyone, the efforts made to ensure the safety of everyone can be seen in all countries including Brunei Darussalam.

The Belait District is no exception with measures such as social distancing and more being implemented in accordance with the advice given by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the government.

Many places of gathering have seen a decrease in visitors with restricted access to help ensure that those places do not become a source where the virus can potentially spread from person to person.

These include public places, parks and marketplaces, the latter of which, has a significant impact on the livelihood of many who depend on their operation to meet their daily overhead.

One thing that has stemmed from the closure of public areas is the creation of several new opportunities for those affected, one of which is the Buy Local Produce Campaign – a government initiative led by Ghanim International Corporation alongside the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Finance and Economy.

Temperature checks and hand sanitiser are now the norm at offices and supermarkets
Social distancing at a supermarket. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM

The campaign seeks to connect farmers, vendors and retailers to ensure that the Belait District has enough supply of produce stock.

This means collecting produce from farmers and vendors at centralised locations for retailers to buy and resell at their retail. In addition to the Belait District, this campaign is also held in the Tutong District.

Meanwhile, retailers across the nation, have also implemented various guidelines for both staff as well as customers to follow.

These include observing safe social distancing as well as limiting the number of customers allowed to be at their premises at a given time.

Measures also include limiting the entry of customers to 50 at a time, or two members per household, being able to shop at the retailer at one time.

In addition, customers are also checked for their temperature as well as given a spray of disinfectant prior to entry to the retail premise, with those who have their body temperature at 37oC or above being barred from entry and encouraged to seek medical aid.

With the various efforts being successfully implemented in the Belait District, the residents are not only supportive of it but several groups and agencies from the district have also contributed directly towards providing aid to the initiative in combatting COVID-19.

Some of the efforts made by these groups and agencies are donations to the frontliners, which include medical workers as well as volunteers working and posted at the hospital as well as strategic key areas to monitor the ever-changing situation.

With Ramadhan underway, night markets are also closed encouraging retailers to conduct extensive showcases of wares to cover for the losses. This can be seen with pop-up stores at shopping centres to provide various meals in preparation for the breaking of the fast while maintaining social distancing etiquettes.

Despite the closures, the outbreak of COVID-19 has also led to a rise in the spirit of volunteerism, as groups across the district have dedicated their time and effort to ensure that strategic key locations are kept clean as they remain unused.

Some of the efforts made include cleaning campaigns, which not only help clean the various premises but also serve to raise awareness on the importance of cleanliness.