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28 Mar 2020 | 09:51 AM UTC

Brunei: Country reports first COVID-19-related death March 28 /update 7

Brunei reports first coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related death March 28; further spread of the virus expected over the near term

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Event

On Saturday, March 28, Brunei reported its first coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related death. The patient was a 64-year-old man with a history of travel in Malaysia and Cambodia.

On Monday, March 23, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced that foreign nationals will be prohibited entry to Brunei by land, sea, and air until further notice.

All dining establishments including restaurants, cafés, and food markets are currently prohibited from serving food on their premises, and are only permitted to provide takeaway service.

On Sunday, March 15, Brunei's Ministry of Health announced that all citizens and foreign residents will be banned from leaving the country effective Monday, March 16. Exemptions will only be made for individuals in exceptional circumstances, such as those who need to receive urgent medical care, attend court hearings, or resume their studies abroad, and will be subject to the approval of the Prime Minister's office.

As of Saturday, March 28, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 115 COVID-19 cases nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.  
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.