Brunei's Ministry of Health confirmed 11 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) nationwide as of Wednesday, March 11, and authorities are currently conducting contact tracing for all affected cases. The government has reiterated that the situation was under control and there was no evidence to suggest that there was community spread of the virus. As a precautionary measure, the Ministry of Education announced on Tuesday, March 10, that the school term break scheduled for Monday, March 16, will be brought forward to Wednesday, March 11. The government has also discouraged mass gatherings, and advised the public to be socially responsible and observe personal hygiene.
Meanwhile, entry restrictions remain in place for individuals arriving from Iran, Italy, as well as China's Hubei, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu provinces. Foreign travelers who have visited or transited through these countries within 14 days of arrival will be denied from entering Brunei. Brunei citizens are exempted from these restrictions but must self-quarantine at home for 14 days as a precaution.
As of Thursday, March 12, Royal Brunei Airlines has continued to suspend flights to mainland China and Seoul, while flights to Hong Kong and Taipei have been reduced. Further information can be found on the airlines website here.
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 (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 COVID-19 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.
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.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
To reduce the risk of 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.
Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.