The government of Brunei has announced that the country's restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will be eased from Monday, July 27, as businesses begin to resume operations. The changes, under stage four of the government's COVID-19 de-escalation plan, will see restrictions on schools, markets, restaurants, sports facilities, and places of worship eased, with these being allowed to operate at full capacity from Monday. Restrictions on entertainment and leisure venues will also be eased, with cinemas, swimming pools, and activity centers able to increase their opening hours and operate at 60 percent capacity. Public gatherings of up to 100 people will also be permitted.
Although the country has not confirmed any new COVID-19 cases since early May, international travel to and from Brunei remains severely restricted. Residents, including expatriates, are currently subject to an exit ban, while any travelers entering the country are required to take a COVID-19 test on arrival and quarantine for 14 days at a government-designated facility at their own expense.
As of Thursday, July 23, authorities have confirmed 141 cases of COVID-19 in Brunei with three associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed. Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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.
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