More easing of restrictions starting Monday

James Kon

Brunei Darussalam is moving towards more easing of restrictions, starting from August 17, which will see an increase from 100 to 200 in the number of attendees at mass gatherings, among other activities.

The latest announcement for the de-escalation was made by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar, during a press conference yesterday.

He stated, “Taking into account the COVID-19 situation in Brunei Darussalam which is 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 Ministry of Health (MoH) wishes to inform the public on the additional reduction of the implemented social distancing measures, which will commence on Monday, August 17, 2020.”

Arcades and playgrounds (indoor and outdoor) will advance from Phase 1 to 2, where 60 per cent of their normal capacity at a time is permitted, while adhering to the guidelines issued by the MoH.

Swimming pools, cinemas, activity centres for the elderly and mass gatherings will progress from Phase 2 to 3.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar during the press conference. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Internet café activity will be maintained at Phase 3.

Special needs classes and childcare centres, as well as museums, galleries and libraries will move up from Phase 3 to 4.

Activities that will be maintained at Phase 4 are mosques, suraus and religious halls, along with other places of worship; schools; technical, vocational and higher education institutions; tuition schools and music schools; driving schools; gyms and fitness centres; sports facilities (indoor and outdoor); golf courses; restaurants, cafés and food courts; and stalls and markets.

Details on the easing of restrictions were explained by the relevant ministers in attendance.

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

Violating the issued orders is an offence under the Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 204), which carries the penalty of a compound fine of up to BND5,000. Those refusing to comply with the MoH directives are also liable to prosecution and fined up to BND10,000 or jailed for a term of up to six months, or both.

“The Ministry of Health (MoH) will not hesitate to take legal action against anyone who does not comply with the directives issued,” said the minister. “The MoH will continue to monitor the situation of the outbreak at the national, as well as regional and global levels, and carry out ongoing risk assessments to consider further mitigation measures.

“If the outbreak situation becomes alarming yet again, the Ministry of Health will not hesitate to tighten the social distancing measures that need to be taken to control the outbreak. The Ministry of Health will notify the public of any changes to this situation, if necessary, from time to time.”