De-escalation level still in place despite new COVID-19 case

Izah Azahari

With one new imported case from Yemen announced during a press conference at the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said as the patient is undergoing isolation at the hospital in Tutong, the de-escalation plan is still the same as what it is currently.

The minister said further de-escalation will be considered later as the situation needs to be examined as there are 13 contact cases and about 90 others still needing swab tests.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said further ad hoc press conferences will be held if there are any new cases, if important news is needed to be conveyed or on the next period of de-escalation.

As discussions with other ministries will be conducted in the coming week, the minister said whatever action needed will be taken including determining when the next phase of de-escalation will be. He said as mentioned by 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 recently, a special task force has been set up to handle the procedures to determine the re-opening of borders.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said if there is a border re-opening through a greenlane as mentioned before, it will be more towards a Government-to-Government (GtoG) arrangement which will be very dynamic and not fixed.

Meanwhile, regarding a possible vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of this year or early next year, the minister said Brunei has made an agreement through the World Health Organization (WHO) with an association called Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to ensure that the country gets a portion of it.

“So the assurance is there that at least 20 per cent of the population should have access to the vaccine,” he said.