Cooperation important in handling COVID-19

Azlan Othman

Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health (MoH) Dr Haji Zulaidi bin Haji Abdul Latif stressed the importance of cooperation of all parties in dealing with COVID-19 in Brunei Darussalam.

He said this during a visit by Legislative Council (LegCo) members to the Tutong District Civic Centre Complex prior to making a stop at the National Isolation Centre (NIC) in the district yesterday.

Dr Haji Zulaidi said Legco members play an important role in managing expectations of the public, especially on the quality of health services in the country.

He said the wise leadership and generosity 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 helped to successfully implement COVID-19 measures in the country.

The monarch’s leadership is the most important factor in the effectiveness of the response to COVID-19 outbreak with a whole-of-government approach and firm decision making.

These include surveillance, ‘test, trace and isolate’ strategies by the MoH and social distancing measures. The integrated response and transparency have raised public confidence in the government’s handling of the crisis while sparking cooperation and volunteerism.

Legislative Council members during their visit to the National Isolation Centre. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

The whole-of-nation approach is apparent in the public’s support and compliance of governmental directives such as social distancing, maintaining personal hygiene, restrictions on mass gathering and the use of BruHealth QR code.

The country also witnessed the generosity of the people in providing resources and donations in the form of food, goods and financial assistance. These contributions come from local and international businesses, organisations and individuals through the COVID-19 Relief Fund. The fund was used in the purchase of resources and the construction of an extension to the NIC.

The government’s commitment in ensuring public health is proven through the investment in infrastructure such as the construction of a new Virology Laboratory, provision of PCR tests and introduction of BruHealth app.

Yang Berhormat Iswandi bin Ahmad led the group of 15 LegCo members in the visit during which he commended MoH’s efforts in producing positive results.

He said while COVID-19 has not spared Brunei, the leadership of His Majesty and MoH as well as Brunei residents’ compliance in restrictions resulted in the disease being under control.

He noted that it will still be a challenge and policymakers are working hard to pave the way for a post-COVID era under the new normal.

Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Riamiza Natalie binti Haji Momin gave a briefing on NIC. The LegCo members then toured the facilities of the new extension at the NIC.