BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Brunei reported 42 new coronavirus cases on Monday (Aug 9), a record daily tally, following the detection over the weekend of the Southeast Asian country's first locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in 15 months.
Brunei has implemented strict quarantine rules for inbound travellers and reported 406 infections since the onset of the pandemic. One cluster in the current outbreak was linked to a hotel quarantine centre, health minister Mohd Isham Jaafar said.
"Compared to the (outbreak) last year, we don't know the sources of many cases this time around," he said at a press conference on Monday.
The outbreak was causing quarantine centres to quickly fill up, and authorities were also investigating the possibility illegal border crossings between Brunei and Malaysia were the source of the latest infections, he said
"We know that the weakest chain is mainly smuggling routes and frontliners from the airport to hotels," he added.
Mohd Isham said over the weekend that samples taken from infected people had been sent to Singapore to test for the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus.
On Saturday, Brunei reported seven COVID-19 infections transmitted in the community - the first such infections since May 2020.
It immediately reinstated strict movement restrictions, including a ban on most public gatherings. Schools, mosques and most non-essential businesses have been closed.
Around 33 per cent of the country's total population of 450,000 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to government data published on Sunday.