With the exception of Brunei citizens and permanent residents, anyone from the Hubei, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces in the People’s Republic of China will be barred from entry into Brunei Darussalam, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said yesterday.
The announcement came after a lockdown order on Zheijiang and Jiangsu on February 9, causing the MoH to amend its previous travel advice in view of the rapidly evolving situation regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak.
According to the new restrictions, Brunei citizens and permanent residents should avoid from travelling to the territories under lockdown, as well as non-essential travel to mainland China.
Meanwhile, citizens, permanent residents and long-term visa holders who stayed in China for 14 days prior to their return here are immediately required to undergo 14 days of self-isolation, upon arrival at the Sultanate.
“Citizens or permanent residents of Brunei who have been to China (regardless of any territory) are allowed to return to Brunei and required to undergo 14 days of self-isolation,” the MoH stated.
Citizens or permanent residents who are currently in China and feeling unwell have been advised to postpone their return to Brunei, and to seek the assistance of the Bruneian Embassy in Beijing.
To date, no cases of severe acute respiratory infection related to the novel coronavirus have been detected in Brunei. The MoH has assured a high level of prompt and efficient preparedness in response to the infection, with the joint collaboration of relevant government and non-government agencies.
Several preventive measures are being carried out, including body temperature checks at entry points to the country and the issuance of the Health Declaration Form at the Brunei International Airport; enhancing the capacity at the Virology Laboratory and the National Isolation Centre in the Tutong District; and the implementation of a self-isolation policy for those returning to Brunei from China.
As a precaution, the public is advised to avoid contact with sick animals, including livestock and birds; refraining from the consumption of raw or poorly cooked meat; avoiding close contact with people who are unwell or showing signs of illness such as fever, coughing or shortness of breath; maintaining a level of personal hygiene; frequent washing of hands with clean water and soap or hand sanitiser (especially before handling food, before eating, after using the toilet, or when coughing or sneezing); and wearing medical masks when exhibiting signs of a respiratory infection such as coughing or a cold.
In addition, people are advised to cover their mouths with tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, and to immediately dispose the tissue in a bin. They are also urged to seek immediate medical attention if feeling unwell or showing signs of infection.
With regards to face masks, the MoH said, “There are various types of masks available on the market, including surgical masks, paper masks and cloth masks. However, only surgical face masks are recommended for use in preventing respiratory infections.
“The correct procedure is to cover the mouth and nose with the surgical mask and to make sure the inner (white) side is over your mouth, while the blue or green layer should be facing outwards. Attach the straps to the back of the ear, and make sure that there are no gaps between your face and the surgical mask.
“One should not touch the surgical mask while using it. To remove the mask…do not touch the outer layer and detach the straps from the back of the ear. After removing or touching the mask, rinse your hands with water and soap or hand sanitiser.”
The MoH also recommends the public to follow updates on the evolving situation from reliable sources, and not to be influenced by information spread over the Internet or through other platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook without verifying the authenticity.
Furthermore, the public is warned against disseminating information that has not been approved by the MoH.
For more information, call Health Advice Line at 2381380 and 2381383 during office hours, or the Darussalam line at 123 after office hours.
For more information on the novel coronavirus situation, visit the MoH website at www.moh.gov.bn/SitePages/2019nCoV.aspx