Media Conference on 14 New COVID-19 Cases

14 more new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed bringing the total number to 25 in the country. In a media conference, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doctor Haji Awang Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar, Minister of Health and Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin Bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Osman, Minister of Religious Affairs further explained the situation of the case late yesterday afternoon.

In the media conference, the Minister of Health said following confirmation of the 11 COVID-19 cases last night, the Ministry would like to inform the public about the latest developments of the infection.

Yang Berhormat said 14 more cases were confirmed today bringing the total number of cases in the country to 25. 13 of the new cases were found to be related to the religious or Tabligh gathering in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Case 12 is a 53 year old local man who was at the religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He returned from Kuala Lumpur on Air Asia Flight AK5644 on 4 March 2020 to Miri, Sarawak. He then shared a vehicle with Cases 7, 8 and 21 to return to Brunei Darussalam. He experienced fever starting from 6 March 2020.

Case 13 is a 45 year old local man who was also at the religious tabligh gathering in Kuala Lumpur. He returned to the country on 3 March 2020 on an Air Asia flight AK278 to Bandar Seri Begawan seat 19A and started showing symptoms of dizziness and coughs on 4 March 2020.

Case 14 is the wife of Case 13 and has no history of travel to Kuala Lumpur. She has no symptoms of infection.

Case 15 is a 33-year-old local man who also joined the religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur. He returned to the country on 3 March 2020 on Air Asia flight AK278 to Bandar Seri Begawan and has no symptoms of the infection.

Case 16 is a 63-year-old local man who also joined the religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur. He returned home on 5 March 2020 on Royal Brunei flight BI872 to Bandar Seri Begawan and has no symptoms of the infection.

Case 17 is another 33-year-old local man who was also in the religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur. He returned to the country on 3 March 2020 using Royal Brunei flight BI874 to Bandar Seri Begawan and shows no symptoms of the infection.

Case 18 who is 30-year-old is the wife of Case 8 and has no history of travel to Kuala Lumpur. She has symptoms of the infection namely coughs and cold.

Case 19 is a 34-year-old local male with history of travel to Kuala Lumpur where he was the driver of the Tabligh group and did not join the religious gathering. He returned home on 3 March 2020 using Royal Brunei flight BI874 to Bandar Seri Begawan and carries no symptoms of the infection.

Case 20 is a 64-year-old local man who also joined the religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur. He went to Kuala Lumpur on 27 February 2020 and returned home on 29 February 2020 on Air Asia flight AK278 to Bandar Seri Begawan. He started experiencing coughs and cold on 9 March 2020.

Case 21 is a 35-year-old local male who attended the religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur. He returned from Kuala Lumpur on Air Asia flight AK5644 on 4 March 2020 to Miri, Sarawak. He then shared a vehicle with Cases 7, 8 and 12 to return to Brunei Darussalam. He has no symptoms of the infection.

Case 22 is a 31-year-old local man who is a colleague of Case 3. He has no history of travel to Kuala Lumpur and carries no symptoms of the infection. He has undergone laboratory test as part of contact tracing measures for Case 3.

Case 23 is 63-year-old local male who joined the Kuala Lumpur religious gathering and has no symptoms of the infection.

Case 24 is a 30-year-old lcal man who also attended the religious gathering in Kuala Lumpur and shows no symptoms of the infection.

Meanwhile, Case 25 is a 64-year-old local male who has history of travel to Kuala Lumpur and Cambodia but has no links to the religious gathering held at Kuala Lumpur's Masjid Jamek Seri Petaling. He returned home on 4 March 2020 and started feeling feverish on 8 March 2020.

Contact tracing for every new case confirmed today is actively being carried out whereby the nearest contact for every case including family members, work colleagues or anyone with relations to the case will be contacted and assessed from the aspect of infection risk. If these contacts are found to be exposed to confirmed cases, they will be ordered to undergo COVID-19 laboratory testing and quarantined.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health wishes to update the number of locals who joined the mass religious gathering at Masjid Jamek Seri Petaling in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 28 February unitl 3 March 2020. After detailed investigation, to date, 81 locals have been identified as joining the gathering, where 70 of them have returned to the country. 66 of them have undergone laboratory testing for COVID-19 and efforts are currently being made to trace another 4. From the 66 who underwent the laboratory testing, 16 of them were found to be positive for COVID-19, 25 were found to be negative, while another 25 are still awaiting the test results. Meanwhile, 11 locals are still abroad including 3 who are studying in Malaysia. The Ministry of Health has advised for them to undergo COVID-19 testing wherever they are immediately.

The Ministry of Health also informs the public that all cases currently undergoing treatment at the National Isolation Centre are in good and stable condition with no high fever and without needing respiratory aid.

As in the Media Statement issued on the 9th of March, the Ministry of Health has sent samples from the first 5 cases for further confirmation tests to the WHO Reference Laboratory in Singapore, according to guidelines from WHO. The tests conducted have confirmed the 5 cases are positive for COVID-19. With that, Brunei Darussalam has been allowed to carry out Laboratory test for COVID-19 locally.

For the public's information, an amendment has been consented for Infectious Diseases Amendment of Schedule Notification, 2020, and Infectious Diseases Quarantine Amendment Regulations, 2020. According to the act, any person who are or suspected of being a case, carrier or contact of infectious disease are required to undergo medical examination or medical treatment at either the hospital or any locations determined by the Ministry of Health's Director General. Failure to do so is an offence under the act mentioned and the person involved can be ordered to be transferred to hospital or another location of which the person can be detained and if needed isolated until examination or treatment can be conducted.

Further, any person preventing or helping to prevent the responsible party in carrying out their duties under the act or regulations under it, or providing false or confusing information, after being asked to do so to provide information or document is an offence under the act.

If found guilty, they can be imposed with a fine of up to ten thousand dollars or imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or both for the first offence. For the second and subsequent offences, they can be imposed with a fine of up to 20,000 Dollars or imprisonment not exceeding One Year or both. For further information and latest development, the public can go to the Ministry of Health's website at 'www.moh.gov.bn' or contact the Talian Nasihat Kesihatan 148 at any time.

Source: Radio Television Brunei