Mass gathering up to 1k allowed under new de-escalation plan

James Kon

The number of participants at a mass gathering has been increased from 350 to 1,000 individuals from tomorrow, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said.

“Many activities will also be allowed to operate in full capacity adhering to strict standard operating procedures following the announcement of the implementation of Level 5 of the de-escalation plan (new normal) from March 8,” the minister told a press conference yesterday.

He said the decision was reached with consideration that COVID-19 is under control in Brunei with the last local transmission reported over 300 days ago and with consent from 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 implementation of Level 5 (new normal) applies to activities at mosques, suraus and religious hall and other places of worship, schools, technical and vocational schools, higher educational institutions, tuition schools and music schools, driving schools, special needs classes, childcare centres, activity centres for the elderly, museums, galleries, libraries, gyms and fitness centres, sports facilities (indoor and outdoor), golf courses, swimming pools, restaurants, cafés and food courts, cinemas, arcades and playgrounds, Internet cafés, stalls and markets.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said under Level 5 (new normal) the public is still required to scan the QR code at all premises.

“Premises’ managers need to provide QR codes at their premises. The manager can provide a register to record visitors’ personal details if they do not have the facility to scan the QR code,” the minister said.

He also urged the public to practise personal hygiene at all times such as washing hands regularly or using hand sanitiser and using a face mask when in crowded areas.

“It is not recommended to shake hands. Unwell individuals should isolate themselves and refrain from visiting public places and attending public functions. They should also immediately seek treatment from a doctor. It is also advisable to get the COVID-19 vaccine once the vaccination drive begins,” the minister said.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said the ministries will issue guidelines for activities under their jurisdiction based on further discussions with the Ministry of Health, such as guidelines for Friday prayers with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, guidelines for restaurants, stalls and markets with the Ministry of Home Affairs and guidelines for sporting events and activities with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.