The Ministry of Home Affairs announced on Monday, March 23, that foreign nationals will be prohibited entry to Brunei Darussalam whether by land, sea, or air until further notice in efforts to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes foreign nationals entering the country for transit. Exemptions will be made under special circumstances and for the transportation of goods or medical supplies.
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 Tuesday, March 24, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 104 COVID-19 cases nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is expected in 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). 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.
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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