More de-escalation measures announced

James Kon

Starting July 27, the number of persons permitted at mass gatherings will increase from 50 to 100.

Expos, bazaars and commercial fairs will be allowed to take place, although under certain conditions. Schools, as well as technical, vocational and higher education institutions will return to normal, while food premises such as restaurants, cafés and food courts will be allowed to operate at their normal capacity.

These were some of the latest reductions in social distancing measures announced by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar, during a press conference on the latest developments of the COVID-19 situation in the country yesterday.

He said, “Taking into consideration that the COVID-19 situation in Brunei Darussalam is under control, and with the consent 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, the country entered a further reduction of social distancing measures yesterday.”

On July 27, activities commencing Level 1 of the de-escalation plan are arcades and playgrounds (indoor and outdoor), while advancing from Level 1 to 2 are swimming pools, cinemas, activity centres for the elderly and mass gatherings.

Moving up from Level 2 to 3 are special needs classes, childcare centres, museums, galleries and libraries and Internet cafés.

Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, Minister of Religious Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah, Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin arriving for the press conference. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Advancing from Level 3 to Level 4 are schools and technical, vocational and higher education institutions, tuition centres, music schools, driving schools, gyms and fitness centres, sports facilities (indoor and outdoor), golf courses, restaurants, cafés, food courts and stalls and markets.

On August 3, mosques, suraus and religious halls, along with other places of worship, will progress from Level 3 to 4.

Further details of the de-escalation activities were delivered by the ministers.

On July 27, mass gatherings will be allowed to host up to 100 people. The public can refer to the detailed requirements in the Guidelines for Mass Gathering (Level 2), which will be uploaded to the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) website.

Commencing August 3, other places of worship apart from mosques and suraus will be allowed to operate at their normal capacity. Guidelines for Other Places of Worship besides Mosques and Suraus (Level 4) will be uploaded to the MoH’s website.

Arcades and playgrounds (indoor and outdoor) will be permitted to operate at 30 per cent of their normal capacity at a time. The Guidelines for Arcade and Playgrounds (Indoor and Outdoor) will be uploaded to the MoH’s website.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham reminded the public to comply with the regulations and directives with regard to the reducing of social distancing measures.

He warned that violating or disobeying the orders is an offence under the Infectious Diseases Act (Chapter 204), which carries a fine of up to BND10,000 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

“The MoH will not hesitate to take legal action against anyone who does not comply with the directives issued,” he said.