‘Reopening of border tied to vaccine availability’

The reopening of the country’s borders will depend on the take-up of the Covid-19 vaccine and the pandemic situation both regionally and internationally, said Health Minister Dr Mohd Isham Jaafar.

At a press conference yesterday, he said while the vaccine may be available in the country in June next year, this is not certain yet.

“To date, no Covid-19 vaccine has been given to the population of any country as part of their immunisation programme.

“As explained earlier, we have to wait for our turn to get the vaccine, as it takes time to be manufactured and delivered, ” he said.

“The bulk of our vaccine will come from the WHO (World Health Organisation) and Covax (a Covid-19 access plan co-led by the WHO), while another 20% will be through bilateral arrangements.

“To open the borders, we must not look at the situation from our country’s perspective alone, but from regional and global standpoints.”

He added that although Covid-19 cases in the country are under control, the pandemic is still raging internationally.

“Visitors entering the sultanate will need to undergo a pre-departure swab first. Even if the pre-departure swabs register negative results, we will still quarantine them, ” he said.

“We still permit visitors to enter Brunei for essential travel, to be with their families working here, and so on.” — Borneo Bulletin/ANN

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