Brunei enters Phase 3 of de-escalation

James Kon

Starting July 6, the number of people permitted at mass gatherings will increase from 30 to 50 while places of worship besides mosques and suraus will be allowed to accommodate 80 per cent of the normal capacity and observe physical distancing.

Other requirements are to be maintained, as per the directives and guidelines issued.

Driving schools will be allowed to operate at 90 per cent of their normal capacity, while other requirements are to be maintained as per the directives and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC).

Internet cafés will be allowed to operate up to 60 per cent of the usual capacity at a time and adhere to the directives and guidelines outlined by the MTIC.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar announced the further reduction in social distancing measures for the third phase of the de-escalation plan at a press conference at the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday.

The minister said, “With the COVID-19 situation in Brunei Darussalam currently under control and with the consent of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the MoH wishes to inform the public regarding the additional reduction of the social distancing measures implemented following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.”

Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, Minister of Religious Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar and Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah arriving for the press conference yesterday. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

On July 6, new activities commencing at Level 1 will include swimming pools, cinemas and
mass gatherings.

Special needs classes, childcare centres, museums, galleries, libraries and Internet cafés will be moved up from Level 1 to 2.

Mosques, suraus and musallas and other places of worship, tuition centres, music schools, driving schools, gyms and fitness centres, indoor and outdoor sporting facilities, golf courses, restaurants, cafes and food courts, and stalls and markets will be allowed to advance from Level 2 to 3.

On July 4, schools, vocational training centres and technical and higher education institutions will progress from Level 2 to 3.

Arcade and indoor playgrounds will remain closed, until further notice.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham reminded the public to comply with regulations and directives related to the reduction of social distancing measures.

The penalty for violating regulations issued under the Infectious Diseases Act (Section 204) is a fine of up to BND10,000 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

The minister said, “The MoH will monitor the situation of the outbreak at the national, regional and global levels, and carry out risk assessments to consider further mitigation measures.

“If the situation shows alarming signs again, the MoH will not hesitate to tighten the social distancing measures which need to be taken, to control the outbreak.

“The MoH will notify the public of any changes to the situation, if necessary, from time
to time.”