British Forces Brunei Headquarters Corona Virus Update - 16 March
British Forces Brunei Commander
My Intent is to Maintain operational capacity of BFB and our cohesive community by fighting for normality without being reckless; maximising individual freedoms whilst adhering to hard constraints (UK and Brunei); and maintaining the highest standards of socially acceptable behaviour/hygiene. My Main effort is the maintaince of the highest standards of socially acceptable behaviour and hygiene.
United Kingdom Update
As of 9am on 15 March 2020, 40,279 people have been tested in the UK, of which 38,907 were confirmed negative and 1,372 were confirmed as positive. 35 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
As of 15 March 2020, 10 new cases have been confirmed bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to 50 people. 7 of the new cases are related to the religious congregation (tabligh) cluster in Kuala Lumpur. 3 new cases are contacts of Case 25 that was reported on 12 March 2020, unrelated to the religious congregation (tabligh) cluster in Kuala Lumpur.
Furthermore, those who participated in the Pontianak Bike Week held on 12 March to 14 March 2020 in Kalimantan, Indonesia and the Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon 2020 held from 14 to 16 March 2020 in Sabah, Malaysia are required to register to the Port Health Unit at all points of entry, including at the Brunei International Airport to receive guidelines to undergo self-isolation for 14 days on arrival in Brunei Darussalam. Those who have returned back to Brunei Darussalam but have not yet registered are required to contact the Health Advice Line 148.
With effect 16 Mar 2020 all Brunei Darussalam citizens, permanent residents and resident foreign nationals who hold a green card are not permitted to leave Brunei unless authorised through the Prime Minister’s Office. This includes all Serving Personnel, Dependants, Contractors and Civil Servants of BFB. This affects both Duty and Off-Duty travel. Applications for travel can be made through BFB HQ, but will only be approved for operationally vital duty travel and in extreme cases for Off-Duty travel. This does not affect MEDEVAC, Compassionate or End of Assignment travel. Guide Lines for Exit can be found at the link below:
In accordance with the Brunei Ministry of Health direction (MoH), there are to be no gatherings in excess of 50 people (including staff). This ruling does not affect the following: - PT, Coy Muster Parades.
- Access to sporting facilities.
- Mess / Department Functions, provided they are in line with direction and the appropriate hygiene mitigations are in place.
- Hornbill School, provide the agreed mitigations are in place. All functions must be approved by DCOS BFB in order to ensure they are in line with MoH direction.
Any decision on Hornbill school sits with DCYP, taking into account the in country situation, which is all schools closed early for holidays as a precautionary measure only, and all schools will reopen as planned post Easter holidays. We are aware of the situation and have engaged with the British High Commission (BHC) to gain an understanding of the Ministry of Health intent for two weeks’ time. In conjunction with the position of the majority of English schools, Hornbill will remain open. The teachers and staff are working hard to put plans in place for remote education. Rest assured, we are reassessing the situation on a daily basis and are in daily contact with DCYP and the BHC in order to closely monitor the situation.
Due to the current UK national and worldwide shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (i.e. Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks), BFB has been directed with effect from 16 Mar 2020 there is to be a cessation of all routine dental treatment. Until further notice dental care is restricted to:
- Emergency patients
- Service Personnel who are deploying on Ops or Exercises
- Service Personnel who are directly involved in spt of Ops e.g., aircrew, submariners - -
- Other Urgent patients as determined by the SDO If you have a dental appointment with the Dental Centre between now and the end of Apr 2020, please contact the Dental Practice Manager on Mil: 94193 3824 or Civ: 00673 3224101 Ext 3824 at the earliest opportunity to clarify whether or not you come under the above four categories. Information will be distributed to the wider community when we are directed to resume routine dental treatment.
The PCMF has now instigated a phone in service. All service personnel, contractor and dependants are to ring the PCMF prior to attending the PCMF. This will reduce risks to the community as a whole and the staff.
The flow diagram below illustrates the procedure if for a patient calling the PCMF with non-specific viral symptoms (NSVS):
Advice to BFB LECs and Line Managers
All Brunei Citizens should monitor the health advice on COVID-19 given by the Brunei Ministry of Health and act upon any recommendations or instruction from the Ministry. This includes the self- isolation policy http://www.moh.gov.bn/SitePages/COVID-19.aspx British Forces Brunei Locally Engaged Civilians and Line Managers should also note the following guidance: What should I do if I am sick with coronavirus-like or flu-like symptoms? If you are sick or unfit to work then you should remain at home rather than come into the workplace. You need to focus on your recovery.
Line Managers should note that it would be a wise precaution to send home, at the earliest opportunity, personnel who are displaying flu-like signs/symptoms, as retaining sick personnel in the confines of a workplace will increase the likelihood of further spread of the disease to the workforce. How do I report my absence?
LECs are to report sickness absence to the LPPO in the first instance. This is through current LPPO extension numbers (3758/3274/3789) but a LPPO Duty Telephone number will be provided to all LECs via a Brunei Information Notice shortly. You should give your name, your department, the reason for your absence and a contact telephone number. The contact telephone number will allow the LPPO to keep in touch during the period of your absence. The LPPO will inform your Line Manager that you are sick and absent from the workplace. Do I need a medical certificate to confirm my absence? To reduce the spread of infection, individuals with coronavirus-like or flu-like symptoms are advised to focus on recovering rather than worrying about medical certification to confirm their absence from work. The LPPO and/or Line Managers will follow keeping in touch procedures to support individuals. If there is a suspicion of abuse of the self-certification process, it will be investigated and handled in accordance with discipline procedures. How does sickness absence for coronavirus affect the absence trigger point for LECs? If coronavirus is the cause of the absence then BFB expect managers to exercise discretion. There is no need for a formal return to work interview in these circumstances. An informal return to work discussion providing an update on work developments, work priorities and investigating any additional support required, will be sufficient. To summarise; If you are sick with coronavirus or flu-like symptoms then you should stay at home. Line Managers should send home employees displaying coronavirus-like or flu-like symptoms. Absences should be reported to the LPPO in the first instance. LPPO will inform Line Managers of absences and initiate a ‘keeping in touch’ system with the employee. LECs should not be disadvantaged in terms of reaching sick absence trigger points or losing pay if employees are absent from work with coronavirus or coronavirus-like / flu-like symptoms.
Sources of Advice and Information
www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 http://www.moh.gov.bn/Pages/Home.aspx www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus