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Brunei
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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Brunei
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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    Mixed feelings over lifting of mask mandate

    Lyna Mohamad

    Following the announcement of the lifting of mask mandate in public places on Monday, the public had mixed feelings about the move, with some still opting to mask up to keep transmission at bay.

    Haji Ariffin @ Haji Anifah expressed his gratitude to 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 for consenting for the removal of mask requirement starting tomorrow.

    However, he hopes that individuals, who are not in good health or pose a risk of transmission, will heed the health advice in wearing face masks, especially when attending mass gatherings or mass prayers at mosques.

    He said he and his family will continue to follow health directives from the authorities, adding that they are comfortable with the move to ease the measure.

    Acting Village Head of RPN Kampong Mentiri I Haji Abu Bakar bin Haji Pungut also welcomed the removal of the mask mandate, as the COVID-19 situation has now been under control and the number of cases has dropped steadily.

    However, as a village head, he reminded the public, especially his villagers, to keep up to date with the latest health advice, particularly in being responsible citizens by avoiding crowded places or wearing a face mask if unwell.

    After over a year of wearing a face mask, Mohd Nur Aziman is grateful that the time has come for everyone to be able to breathe normally when in public places.

    FROM LEFT: Haji Ariffin @ Haji Anifah; Acting Village Head of RPN Kampong Mentiri I Haji Abu Bakar bin Haji Pungut
    FROM LEFT: Mohd Nur Aziman; and Stephanie. PHOTOS: LYNA MOHAMAD
    FROM LEFT: Inas Syafiqah; Narawi; and Fauziah Sani
    Dewi Irawan and family

    “I have been praying for Allah the Almighty to hear our prayers, and protect our country and the people from the virus.

    “Now that the situation is under control, as we are in the endemic phase, I am grateful that we can finally go out comfortably without worrying about not having a face mask in hand.”

    Meanwhile, Stephanie, who works in the hospitality industry, said, “For me personally, I prefer to wear a mask as a precaution, especially with my line of work, as the pandemic is still going on.”

    To protect herself and the people around her, she plans to continue to mask up when she goes out until there are zero cases in the Sultanate.

    Her colleague, Inas Syafiqah, meanwhile, said it is a blessing for Brunei to have the outbreak under control, after having a sudden rise in cases during the second wave.

    “The authorities did a great job in ensuring public health and safety and worked hard to contain the spread,” she said. Given her customer-facing job, she said she will continue to wear a mask, especially when serving food.

    Narawi also welcomed the news, as he often found it hard to breathe with a face mask. Now, he said he can leave home without having to search for a mask beforehand.

    “It is nice to return to normalcy. I can see facial expressions during social interactions, which is handy for someone who works in sales. It requires me to read people. And communication between people will be clearer, too,” he said, adding that it will also reduce the littering of used masks.

    As for the family of Dewi Irawan from Indonesia, they will remain cautious of their surroundings as COVID-19 is still present and it is risky for those with comorbidities.

    Meanwhile, Fauziah Sani, who works in the oil and gas sector, said, “With the updates at Monday’s press conference on the removal of face mandate, I gladly welcome and accept it.

    “Of course, we have to wear a face mask when we are unsure of the hygiene of an environment or when you are not in the best health condition.

    “Aside from that, I look forward to breathing easier.”

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