To reopen or not to reopen borders

As a Bruneian, I think it is too early to reopen the borders. And I certainly don’t agree with border reopening without restrictions.

With close to 50 days of no new COVID-19 cases in this country, we have taken great strides in containing the virus, thanks to the hard work of the frontliners and the cooperation of the public.

I believe that the Malaysian side should prove themselves free from the coronavirus for at least a month before we consider reopening the borders. Even then, it’s prudent to do it in stages.

When the borders do open, screening should be mandatory on both sides of the frontiers.
Brunei has a small population; once a person is infected, it’s easy to spread the virus like wild fire. While maintaining a healthy economy is important, we must not rush to resume business as usual in place of the health of the nation.

Our government has spent millions of dollars in putting a lid on the deadly virus. One false move could spell disaster.

Border Hopper


 

Given the superb job, hard work and dedication by the Ministry of Health (MoH) over the last three months in tackling COVID-19, the country should continue to remain cautious with regards to border reopening.

Malaysia recently extended an offer which would allow both Brunei and Singapore citizens to enter Malaysia with no quarantine period or testing. This all sounds very hospitable and they are clearly hoping for a reciprocal arrangement.

However, Malaysia still has double digit active cases and Singapore has triple digit active cases.

With this virus being highly contagious and very easily transmitted there is a high likelihood that on return to Brunei, the virus may be brought back into the country.

With statistics showing that one infected person can pass the virus to more than two other people, one infected person returning to the country could potentially result in over 400 new COVID-19 cases in just over a month.

Thailand reported five new cases recently; and all of them imported from another country and discovered while in quarantine.

With Singapore in talks with Malaysia, it appears that they too want to remain highly cautious regarding this offer, with the preservation of public health and safety being top priority.

For now, it seems that Singapore will only allow Malaysian crossborder travel for short term business and daily commuters in line with their work.

Continuing to remain vigilant for now would certainly be in Brunei’s best interest in order to safeguard its citizens and to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19.

A Concerned Resident