Isolation duration is based on risk assessment, says PMO

In reference to a letter from Worried Resident on ‘Quarantine period disparity’, published on the Opinion Page of the Bulletin on February 17, regarding entry requirements and procedures for all inbound travel to Brunei Darussalam, we would like to state that in minimising the risk of disease importation into the country during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the government has enforced stringent policies and procedures for both inbound and outbound travel for the past year.

As per entry travel policies and guidelines developed with multiple government agencies, particularly the Ministry of Health (MoH), since October 2020, all travellers intending to enter the country are required to produce a negative result for the SARS-CoV-2 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab test taken within 72 hours prior to their departure, and undergo a second PCR test upon arrival in the country.

In addition to the pre-departure and arrival SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests, the period of isolation accorded to arriving travellers are determined based on the risk assessment made upon traveller’s arrival.

The risk assessment, by the MoH, takes into account various pertinent factors, such as travel history and the current COVID-19 situation in the country of origin. Thus, the mandatory isolation period may vary, ranging from two to 14 days.

In instances where travellers have arrived from countries where there has been acceptable evidence of none to very low community transmission, mandatory self-isolation will be up to two days.

Travellers arriving from countries of moderate risk will observe at least seven days of mandatory self-isolation, given that they have a negative arrival swab test taken on Day 5 after arrival.

As for arrivals from high-risk countries, travellers require a minimum of 14 days mandatory self-isolation, given that an arrival swab test taken on Day 12 is negative.

To date, approximately 13,000 arriving travellers have undergone mandatory isolation where the length is determined by the risk assessment. And there have been no cases where a traveller tests positive after the isolation period has ended.

Every traveller is required to undergo mandatory self-isolation at a pre-approved accommodation, where strict health and safety standard operating procedures have been put in place.

The Brunei Government would like to assure the public that policies and procedures that are in place are under continuous review to ensure that the community is always well-protected against the risk of infection.

Since the introduction of these policies, the importation of cases has largely been well-controlled. We are also proud to note that Brunei Darussalam has recorded 293 days (as of February 23) without community transmissions, and would like to express our appreciation to the general public for their commitment and cooperation in mitigating the threat of COVID-19, and for helping to safeguard the well-being of the country by adhering to government policies.

Cross Border Matters Taskforce

Prime Minister’s Office