Lifting restrictions after outbreak will depend on several factors, says minister

James Kon

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar yesterday clarified the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions when the outbreak is over.

He said, “An outbreak will only be declared over when there are no more cases reported within the second incubation period. For COVID-19, it is 28 days. However, the virus may not be completely eradicated, especially taking into consideration global outbreaks are still not under control. Therefore, it is very important for us to come together to control the spread of the COVID-19 infection in the country so that at least some current restrictions can be reduced slowly and in stages.”

The minister said the reduction of restrictions will only be made after the Ministry of Health (MoH) and other government agencies 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 carry out assessments and take into account the effectiveness of the control measures in place within the country, the region and global level.

“The MoH would like to clarify on the calculation of the self-isolation period for people who arrive in the country. As we understand, the period of self-isolation is 14 days from the date of arrival. However, the date of arrival is called Day Zero and is not counted,” the minister said.

Citing an example, he said self-isolation for people who arrive on March 20, 2020 will end only on April 4, 2020 which is the 15th day, which is after the end of the 14-day period. “This is to ensure that the period of self-isolation is fully completed.”

The minister said, “The MoH would like to remind parents and guardians to cooperate and comply with the scheduled timetable to pick their children from the designated self-isolation centres.”