Praise for Brunei’s pandemic control measures

Lyna Mohamad

Returning to Brunei Darussalam during the pandemic is a blessing as it feels safer to be near loved ones rather than being on foreign soil.

And being confined to a hotel room for 15 days can be boring. However, taking advantage of this time by engaging in creative, physical or interactive activities can be beneficial in fighting off loneliness.

The students who completed their 15 days’ self-isolation expressed their Junjung Kasih 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 Bruneians abroad to be flown home and undergo self-isolation under the government expenses.

Second year undergraduate in BSc (Hons) Aircraft Maintenance Engineering at the University of South Wales, Abdul Alim Al Amin bin Abdul Kadir was relieved having completed his self-isolation period and is happy to be reunited with his family.

Asked on the country’s de-escalation plans, Abdul Alim said he is somewhat aware and prepared for the plan, although it is still in stages. He believes the country is well on its way towards the pre-normal stage with the COVID-19 curve flattened. The Ministry of Health (MoH) did a great job in implementing a cautious plan to ensure the public health, he added.

Recent LLB law graduate from Coventry University Hamizah binti Bobin said, “I am relieved to be with my family again. Being overseas and away from them during the start of the pandemic was stressful for everyone. So after a period of travelling and undergoing the 15 days mandatory self-isolation, I’m more than happy to finally see my family in person.”

Abdul Alim Al Amin bin Abdul Kadir; Hamizah binti Bobin; Chong Jia Hoe; and Sarina Yasmin Muller. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Sharing her self-isolation experience, Hamizah said it was a bit monotonous given that she stayed in the same room for 15 days. However, she had some entertainment to keep her preoccupied.

Meals were routinely delivered to their doors and in the mornings, and there were daily check-ups to ensure they were healthy.

“The de-escalation plan is a sound method for Brunei citizens to return to their lives. Lifting restrictions in stages rather than all at once could prevent another resurgence of active cases.”

Final year undergraduate in Electronics Engineering at the University of Portsmouth Chong Jia Hoe sees that Brunei handled COVID-19 and the de-escalation plan very well and applauded the great teamwork by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

On self-isolation, Chong said the two weeks went by quickly as he kept himself busy with some online learning.

For final year undergraduate in International Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University College Birmingham Sarina Yasmin Mueller was happy to be back in Brunei Darussalam safely. However, she was also sad because her grandfather passed away while she was in her self-isolation. “While in quarantine, I occupied myself by working out, reading, drawing, listening to music and binge-watching Netflix. My family and friends also sent over my favourite foods and the hotel staff and volunteers made my stay comfortable while reassuring me by calling me every morning to check up on me.”

To Sarina’s understanding, the de-escalation plan was implemented by the government to reduce social distancing measures. She thinks it is a good idea to re-open by phases and have guidelines to follow so that the public can stay safe.