Wearing face masks in both indoor and outdoor areas is no longer compulsory, starting 15 September 2022, announced Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Halbi Haji Mohd Yussof in a press conference earlier today said that face masks are optional.
However, it is still compulsory for:
i) Individuals with symptoms who may need to leave their house for any purposes;
ii) All health facilities – government and private including hospitals, clinics, ambulances, swab and vaccination centres;
iii) If required by event organisers; and
iv) Food operators – restaurants, cafés and stalls
*Further ease of restrictions*
The requirement for prayer mat-width distancing (using large-sized prayer mats) for daily congregational Fardhu prayers and Friday prayers in mosques is retained and the use of personal prayer mats is encouraged (not mandatory), continued the minister.
Antigen rapid tests (ART) in schools and educational institutions as well as training institutions under the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports is streamlined to Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for ART surveillance for Civil Service i.e. will no longer be conducted according to any schedule and are only required for symptomatic individuals or if required by schools such as prior to sitting for an examination or attending an event.
However, parents or guardians may also decide to be responsible for their own ART surveillance at home.
“As school examinations including public exams will be starting in October in Brunei Darussalam, candidates with red and purple BruHealth code will be allowed to sit for the exams physically in exam
centres, according to relevant health SOPs,” he said.
Candidates with red or purple BruHealth code prior to any examination are advised to contact their school as soon as possible.
Childcare centres will be opened fully according to relevant health SOP.
The provision of food rations and care packages which include simple medication and ART kits for positive cases will be discontinued, except for the provision of food rations for positive cases who are recipients of Government welfare assistance.
Relevant agencies will identify eligible recipients through existing registries.
*Travel guidelines updated *
Yang Berhormat Pehin Dato Haji Halbi also revealed the updated travel guidelines commencing on 15 September 2022.
1. Complete COVID-19 vaccination will no longer be an entry or exit requirement for Brunei as the country has a high immunity rate following high COVID-19 vaccination rates and a high proportion of residents have been infected by the virus.
“This is based on the assessment that travels no longer has a significant impact on the spread of infection in the country,” he added.
2. The public – citizens and residents of Brunei as well as foreigners entering the country are no longer required to complete the Arrival Declaration Form (ADF).
3. Furthermore, citizens and permanent residents of Brunei exiting the country as well as foreigners entering the country are still required to possess valid travel insurance that includes COVID-19 treatment coverage.
4. Meanwhile, citizens of Brunei exiting the country are also required to register their outbound travel information on the MFA e-Register through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.
5. Operating times at Brunei Darussalam’s land control posts will be now extended by two hours – from 6am to 8pm.
These amendments took into consideration that the COVID-19 situation in Brunei is under control and the high immunity rate following high rates of COVID- 19 vaccination and the proportion of residents estimated to have been infected with the virus, he added.
“It is hoped that this will encourage a more comfortable life in the new normal and allow us to return to the pre-pandemic COVID-19 state,” said the minister.
However, precautionary measures to prevent any infectious diseases such as COVID-19 are the social responsibility of all.
The public is advised to always continue general preventive measures such as avoiding crowded areas especially if there is no requirement to be in the area and washing hands regularly or using hand sanitiser.
In addition, this also includes the responsibility of parents and guardians in ensuring that their children are well to attend school.
The Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam will continue to work closely with stakeholders to protect the public’s safety and well-being.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN