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US CDC places Brunei as COVID-high risk nation

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam has been categorised as high risk Level 3, indicating a high level of COVID-19 risk, according to the United States (US) Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday.

The Level 3 category – which applies to destinations that have had between 100-500 COVID cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days – saw 11 additions on Monday including Brunei Darussalam. The Sultanate was previously at Level 2. The CDC lists about 53 countries and territories at high.

The US Embassy in Brunei Darussalam’s website has warned Americans to reconsider travelling to Brunei due to the COVID-19 and related travel restrictions.

“The risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if a person is fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine. Before planning any international travel, travellers must review the CDC’s specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers.”

Brunei currently requires US citizens to obtain permission and sponsorship before entering. Furthermore, travellers arriving indirectly from the US are subject to a 14-day quarantine and at least one COVID-19 test at the traveller’s own expense.

The nation saw a surge in local COVID cases over the past several days due to cases at residential and dormitories. More contact tracings are being made.

On Monday, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said 13 local Omicron cases and 37 imported Omicron cases were detected. Samples from 570 COVID-19 cases detected in the Sultanate underwent gene sequencing testing, out of which, 520 cases were confirmed as Delta variant while 50 were Omicron variant.

However, there are no Omicron cases recorded in the country categorised under Category 4 and 5 or requiring oxygen assistance and intensive care. Those who have been infected showed mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, the minister said.

The COVID-19 Holding Area Mahad in Tutong Distirct. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR