540 businesses fined for flouting COVID-19 directives

James Kon

Since the June 2020 enforcement of directives under the Infectious Disease Act (Chapter 204), 891 business premises have been inspected nationwide, with 540 violations found and compound fines issued.

The common offences include food handlers not wearing face masks while working, and premises not performing temperature checks on customers.

The high number of violations was highlighted by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar during a press conference at the Ministry of Health (MoH) Al-‘Afiah Hall yesterday.

The minister reminded the public to comply with all regulations and directives from the authorities that are still in place. He reminded that the public is required to use the BruHealth application and scan the QR code when they enter/exit premises – especially at shopping malls, retail shops, restaurants, beauty establishments, barber shops and others.

Premises owners are required to print and display their QR code at their entrance. The public is urged to take the usage of the BruHealth app seriously, especially in scanning the QR code, as it will be used by the MoH for contact tracing in the event of an outbreak.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar speaks at the press conference. PHOTO: JAMES KON

The public is also required to maintain personal hygiene, practise proper cough/sneeze etiquette, wear face masks in crowded public places, and to refrain from going to public places and attending social gatherings should they feel unwell.

Those attending Friday prayers are required to wear face masks when in the mosque compound, as well as before and after Friday prayers; to bring their own prayer mat and to scan the QR code when entering the mosque or surau.

The minister warned that violation of any order issued is an offence under the Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 204). If found guilty, an individual can be issued a compound fine of up to BND5,000 or prosecuted in court carrying a fine up to BND10,000 or imprisonment of up to six months or both.

The MoH will not hesitate to take legal action against anyone who does not comply with the directives issued.

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

Should the outbreak situation become alarming again, the MoH will not hesitate to tighten the social distancing measures.