Brunei announces guidelines for Chinese New Year celebrations amid Covid-19

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Feb 2 (Xinhua): The Brunei government has issued several guidelines as precautionary measures against Covid-19 during the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations.

According to Brunei's Ministry of Health, the Chinese New Year can be celebrated in the country with family members only by holding private events. Those with large families are permitted to have private events at banquet halls in hotels or restaurants, provided that Mass Gathering guidelines are adhered to, including the provision of hand sanitizers and conducting temperature checks at the premises. If the number of family members is huge, the celebrations' attendance should be limited to a maximum of 350 people.

Lion dance is allowed, however, the venue for the event is required to obtain a BruHealth (a locally-developed mobile health application) QR code in advance. Lion dance troupe members and guests present must scan the QR code before entering and exiting the premises.

The health ministry said that individuals who have signs of infection or are unwell are not allowed to visit or be visited by immediate family members, and physical contact or touching others, including the practice of shaking hands and hugging should be avoided.

The ministry also reminds the public to ensure that the surrounding environment is hygienic and that personal hygiene is maintained at all times, especially hand hygiene and practice proper coughing and sneezing etiquette at all times.

As one-tenth of Brunei's 460,000 population is ethnic Chinese, the country's local Chinese communities celebrate the traditional Chinese New Year annually with lion dance and "Open House" events, which means opening homes to relatives, friends and even strangers and share the joy of the season.

"Although the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations will be different from previous years, it is hoped that this year's celebrations can still be conducted with joy, with loved ones and family members safely. What is important is to always practice our social responsibility to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic," the health ministry said.

Brunei reported no new cases of Covid-19 on Monday, maintaining the national tally at 180.

A total of 39 imported cases have been confirmed since the last local infection case on May 6, 2020. At present, Brunei has recorded 271 days without Covid-19 local infection cases.

There have been three deaths resulted from COVID-19 in Brunei and a total of 171 patients have recovered. - Xinhua
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