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Jakarta Post

Two-year-old girl from Brunei tested positive for COVID-19, youngest case in region

  • Stephen Then

    The Star/Asia News Network

Miri, Malaysia   /   Sat, March 14, 2020   /   03:40 pm
Two-year-old girl from Brunei tested positive for COVID-19,  youngest case in region Test tube with Corona virus name label is seen in this illustration taken on January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

A two-year-old girl from Brunei tested positive for COVID-19 after she came in contact with a patient who went to an event at a Seri Petaling mosque in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The girl - the youngest COVID-19 case in the region - is among 12 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Brunei on Friday.

The Brunei Health Ministry, in a statement, said out of the 12 new cases recorded Friday, 11 of them are related to those who had gone to the mosque held from Feb 27 to March 1.

"The girl was not at the event and did not travel out of Brunei but is related to one of the COVID-19 patients who went for the gathering," said the ministry.

"The total number of COVID-19 cases in Brunei is now 37 since the first confirmed case on March 9.

"A total of 19 of these cases so far are linked to the religious event.

"All the others who went for that gathering must come forward for health tests," said the ministry, adding that the ministry is tracking all the Bruneians who had gone for that event.

The first case was that of a 53-year-old Brunei pensioner who went to the religious event using a flight via Miri. He then came back to Miri and went on a shopping spree before returning to Brunei by land.

In Miri, he and the other Bruneians visited two different mega shopping malls in the city center, sparking concern among local Mirians.

It is not yet ascertained if he had been infected with COVID-19 before he went to the religious event or was infected there before bringing back the virus to Brunei.

In the meantime, the Brunei Health Ministry announced that all public gatherings in the sultanate have been barred until further notice.

Brunei government employees are also barred from leaving for overseas trips unless for urgent matters.

In the meantime, 523 Bruneians are under quarantine in isolation centers following a sudden spike in Covid-19 infections there.

On Thursday (March 12), 14 new positive cases were recorded while on Friday there were 12 new cases.

Brunei is the closest neighbor to Sarawak, with Miri city located only 35km from the sultanate.

About 30,000 to 40,000 Bruneians cross the border to come here for shopping, food and entertainment.

The number can surge dramatically during school holidays and festive seasons.

Brunei schools are currently closed for holiday.