Brunei experiences surge in COVID-19 cases, two new active clusters identified

Brunei Darussalam is seeing a resurgence of the coronavirus, with 42 new cases of COVID-19 announced yesterday, 38 of which were classified as local infections, leading the total number of cases in Brunei Darussalam to 406 according to the Minister of Health.

Speaking during a press conference yesterday at the Ministry of Health, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar, shared that two new clusters have been uncovered namely; Chung Hwa Kuala Belait Cluster and ABCi Cluster.

In light of this, the sultanate currently has five active clusters including Starlodge Hotel Cluster, Al-Falaah Cluster and TOTAL Cluster.

(L-R): Minister of Home Affairs YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr.) Haji Awang Abu Bakar Haji Apong, Minister of Health YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar and Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah in a press conference. Image: Yusri Adanan

Brunei Darussalam; 0 days without local transmission of COVID-19

On Saturday, 7 August 2021, the Health Minister in a press conference announced eight new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 347. At this point Brunei had experienced more than a year or 457 days without any local COVID-19 cases.

Seven of the new eight cases were local transmissions with five cases (Case 340 to Case 344) identified to be related to the Starlodge Hotel, one of the many hotels in the country used as monitoring centres for inbound essential travellers.

This became the first COVID-19 cluster since Brunei’s last local case in May of last year, and the cluster was believed to likely have been exposed to one of the imported cases in Brunei Darussalam.

Case 345, a 54 year old man with no travel history abroad who started to develop mild symptoms on 3 August 2021 and Case 346, a 34 year old man also with no travel history who started to develop mild symptoms on 2 August 2021, were two cases whose source of infection were yet to be identified.

These two cases that are without origins would later be connected to 12 new COVID-19 cases announced on the next day, Sunday, 8th August 2021, forming two new clusters; Al-Falaah Cluster and TOTAL Cluster.

The last case that was announced that day was an import case, Case 347 a 37 year old man who arrived in the country on 30 July 2021 from the Middle East via Kuala Lumpur onboard Royal Brunei flight BI874.

Three new clusters; a community spread

On Sunday, 8th August 2021, Health Minister, YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham announced 17 new cases of COVID-19, leading the total number of cases to 364, 15 of which were local cases, which also came with the announcement of three active COVID-19 clusters, Cluster Starlodge Hotel, Cluster Al-Falaah and Cluster TOTAL.

Cases 348 and Case 351 until Case 354 whose age ranges from 8 years old to 31 years old are close contacts to Case 346, forming the Cluster Al-Falaah.

Meanwhile Case 349 and 350 a 34 and a 43 year old man respectively who are symptomatic were imported cases, both arriving in the country from Manila on 4 August 2021 on board Royal Brunei flight BI684.

Seven of the 15 new local cases, Case 355 to 361 were close contacts of Case 345, forming the TOTAL Cluster.

Like the previous day, a number of the local cases’ origin of infection have yet to be identified, in this case, it was three cases namely Case 362 until Case 364 two of which would would later be connected to two new clusters.

COVID-19 cases in Brunei surge to 42 cases

Today, the Health Minister announced, 42 new COVID-19 cases, an increase of about 147 per cent, leading the total number of COVID-19 cases in Brunei to 406. During this press conference, two new clusters were also introduced, Chung Hwa Kuala Belait Cluster and ABCi Cluster.

With this Brunei currently has five active clusters which inevitably led to stronger COVID-19 measures including the implementation of Work-From-Home or Remote Working programmes for both the private and public sector.

Simultaneously, mass gathering guidelines which were capped at 30 people during the first announcement of the new local COVID-19 cases on 7th August 2021, were revised even further, this time prohibiting any form of public gatherings with exceptions.

Today there were 38 new local COVID-19 cases, four of which were connected to the TOTAL Cluster that was reported the day before. Twenty-nine of the new cases were connected to Case 363 from the previous day, forming the Chung Hwa Kuala Belait Cluster.

Meanwhile the remaining five local cases were connected to Case 364, also a case that was announced the day before, hereby forming the ABCi Cluster.

The minister also announced four new imported cases which consisted of a family that arrived in Brunei from Africa via Kuala Lumpur on 30th July 2021.

Despite the increasing trend of the community spread of the coronavirus in Brunei, YB Dato Dr Hj Md Isham also announced that 11 cases have recovered from the National Isolation Centre, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 305 cases.

There are 98 active cases that are still being treated at the NIC, where all cases are in stable condition.

In the past 24 hours, a total of 1,197 samples have been tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus which brings the total number of laboratory tests conducted from January 2020 to 157,892.


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