Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Brunei easing COVID-19 restrictions for some businesses and public facilities as of May 19. Entry ban for foreigners remains in place.
This alert affects Brunei Darussalam
This alert began 19 May 2020 06:28 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: Restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Entry bans, quarantine measures, business restrictions
Bruneian authorities have allowed some businesses and public facilities to reopen amid attempts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Driving schools, golf courses, gyms and fitness centers, markets, and most sports facilities have restarted operations with precautions in place while dining in can resume at food establishments. Safeguards include temperature screenings for workers and customers. Additionally, there is a 50 percent capacity limit for food markets and a 30 percent capacity limit for most other business premises. Business owners and customers will also have to download the BruHealth contact tracing application. Individuals caught breaching regulations could face a BND 10,000 (USD 7,100) fine and six months' imprisonment. Other public places, including bowling alleys, cinemas, and swimming pools, remain closed.
Mass gatherings, including weddings and sporting events, remain suspended. Mosques, suraus, and other religious halls will reopen for Friday prayers from May 29 with safeguards in place. Precautions include requiring visitors to use the contact tracing application and limiting entry to men above 15 years old. Officials may allow religious facilities to open for daily prayers from June if new COVID-19 activity remains low.
Foreign nationals, including long-term pass holders, remain banned from entering or transiting Brunei. Only foreigners whose work relates to matters of national interest, such as transporting essential goods, can enter the country. Existing travel, student, and dependent visas remain suspended. All arriving travelers will undergo a 14-day quarantine at designated facilities. Officials have barred local nationals, permanent residents, and foreigners holding Bruneian identification cards from leaving the country. Only people departing to seek medical treatment or to resume studies overseas can leave the country, after obtaining approval from the Prime Minister's Office. Authorities could expand their response in the coming weeks.
Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government are similar to actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.
Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.