The Brunei government announced today the fifth round of COVID-19 de-escalation measures, allowing mass gatherings of up to 200 people while also reducing the PCR swab test cost for inbound foreigners from $1,000 to $350.
The Minister of Health YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Isham Hj Jaafar announced the latest measures alongside other cabinet ministers at the COVID-19 press conference six days after Brunei recorded its first coronavirus case in 91 days – a returning 24-year-old Bruneian studying in Yemen.
Brunei initiated the first round of de-escalation on May 16, but has yet to open its border for leisure travel, with foreign professionals and accompanying relatives requiring application and approval from the government to enter.
Foreign visitors must also pay for their accommodation at designated centres to complete their mandatory 14-day isolation upon entering the country.
The government’s de-escalation plan consists of four levels, but each controlled activity and premise follow varying timelines of implementation. Detailed guidelines for specific activities and sectors can be viewed on the Ministry of Health’s website.
Below are the latest updates for businesses effective next Monday, August 17:
Buffets allowed with servers
Eateries can begin offering buffets with staff stationed to serve portions to customers.
The Minister of Health explained that cross contamination is more likely when crowds gather at buffets and interact while in line, risking their saliva droplets dropping onto food. Servers with face masks and gloves will reduce the possibility of virus transmission.
Cinemas up to 80% capacity
Cinemas can now receive children below 12-years-old and expand seating capacity up to 80%. Groups can sit together but must be separated between other groups and solo visitors by at least one seat.
Swimming pools up to 80% capacity
Swimming pools are now open to all ages and will be increasing their capacity from 60% to 80%.
Child care and special needs centres to resume full capacity
Child care and special needs centres can resume operating at full capacity. Child care centres can also begin accepting children of all ages subject to an inspection by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
Meanwhile senior citizen centres have their capacity increased to 80%.
Public and commercial passenger transport to resume full capacity
Operators of public and commercial passenger transport can resume operations at full capacity provided passengers wear masks throughout their journey. For public transport, passengers must also scan their BruHealth QR code upon entry and exit.
Galleries, libraries and museums can accept up to 100 visitors
Galleries, libraries and museums can accept up to 100 visitors a time provided they have enough space to practice social distancing amongst visitors.
Internet cafe users must use face masks throughout visit