Virus scare: Border checkpoints get temperature guns

James Kon

The Ministry of Health (MoH) deployed personnel with temperature guns to check incoming visitors to the country at all border entry points following the growing concern over novel coronavirus (2019-nCOV).

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad Isham bin Haji Jaafar visited the border entry point of Kuala Lurah yesterday afternoon.

Accompanying the minister were Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the MoH Dr Haji Zulaidi bin Haji Abdul Latif, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Policy and Management) at the MoH Maswadi bin Haji Mohsin and ministry’s officials.

Director of Environmental Health Services Dr Hajah Anie Haryani binti Haji Abdul Rahman in an interview said, “This is a form of entry screening for people entering the country to make sure that they don’t have any symptoms of the novel coronavirus. What we have done at the Kuala Lurah border is the extension of what we are doing at the airport.”

She said at the airport thermal screening was carried out while at the land border the temperature was checked using the temperature gun as it is not suitable to use thermal screening as people are in the vehicle.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad Isham bin Haji Jaafar monitors the temperature screening at the Kuala Lurah entry point yesterday. PHOTOS: JAMES KON
A Ministry of Health official conducts the screening on a motorist at the Kuala Lurah entry point

“We do have a sufficient number of people at present but we are also looking at recruiting more staff to be placed along the borders so that we will have additional manpower and equipment,” Dr Hajah Anie Haryani said.

Speaking about the entry points in Brunei, she said, “By air it is at the airport, by sea it is the Muara Port and the Cruise Center Ferry Terminal from Labuan while the land borders are Sungai Tujoh, Kuala Lurah, Labu and Puni.”

Asked about the lack of the flu vaccine in the country, Dr Hajah Anie Haryani cited two contributing factors.

“There is a rise in flu cases in the country which is not related to the novel coronavirus. Surveillance has seen an increasing number of people down with flu seeking treatment at the hospital and clinics. At the same time, being concerned about the novel coronavirus, the public also take the flu vaccine hoping that it will prevent the virus which is not so.”

The MoH, she said, is doing its best to get more vaccine.

When a person shows symptoms of a fever, they will be kept at the isolation room and taken to Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital for a further checkup.

Dr Hajah Anie Haryani added that according to the Infectious Diseases Act (2010), the public is required to undergo checks when entering the country when the need arises.

It contains clauses to allow investigating and the management of an outbreak by the Ministry of Health, which include quarantine, isolation and treatment of suspected cases, she said.