Strict COVID-19 control measures extended for one month in Brunei with more Chinese vaccines on the way

(Xinhua) 09:16, September 03, 2021

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Brunei extended its partial COVID-19 national lockdown measures for one month as the Asian country reported 102 new confirmed cases on Thursday with vaccine stockpiles reducing rapidly.

"Taking into account that the current situation is still unstable in Brunei Darussalam and the postponement of the first dose vaccine administration in the National Vaccination Program, it is hereby announced that the control measures that have been restricted and informed during the Ministry of Health's press conference on Aug. 21, 2021, which is supposed to expire on Sept. 4, 2021, is further extended until Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021," the health ministry said in a press statement.

Before the detection of seven local cases on Aug. 7, Brunei had kept a record of 457 days without community infections. Facing a new wave of outbreak, the country introduced the strictest control measures ever.

Besides closing religious places, schools switching to online learning, no dine-in service for restaurants, and closing indoor and outdoor sports facilities, leisure centers and cinemas, Brunei also banned most of the mass gatherings, requiring all non-essential sector workers to work from home and barring all residents in Brunei from leaving their houses without important reasons.

Meanwhile, with thousands of locally transmitted cases detected in less than a month, Brunei has encountered a shortage of vaccines.

The health ministry suspended the first dose administration due to "the supply of COVID-19 vaccine that has been reduced rapidly and unexpectedly," vowing to get more vaccines as soon as possible.

China will deliver more vaccines to Brunei in the near future, the Chinese embassy told Xinhua on Thursday.

During a phone conversation with Haji Erywan, Brunei's second minister of foreign affairs on Aug. 18, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China would send a batch of vaccines to Brunei and deliver them as soon as possible, and lend a helping hand to Brunei when the country most needs it, noting that anti-pandemic cooperation remains a top priority currently and China attaches great importance to the needs of Brunei.

In February this year, Brunei also received a batch of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines donated by China.

According to a local media report, Brunei is also negotiating with Singapore to facilitate COVID-19 vaccine swaps or vaccine borrowing in order to address its current shortage of vaccines.

Brunei's Minister of Health Haji Awang Mohd Isham said the approach is "complicated and not easy" as it also involves lots of legal matters including acquiring permission from the vaccine producer.

Brunei reported 102 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the national tally to 2,960.

Brunei also reported 91 recoveries and one death on Thursday. There have been 1,144 recovered patients and 15 deaths due to the pandemic so far in the country. 

(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Liang Jun)


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