OP ED OPINION: BRUNEI- Gradual easing of measures is the way to go


Since COVID-19 reached the Brunei shores almost two years ago, the authorities have been working hard to contain the outbreak. While certain parts of the world have seen multiple waves with their citizens being locked inside their homes, we have largely been spared from the most restrictive of measures.

Now that we have entered the Endemic Phase, I can only applaud the authorities as well as the community for working together to end the spread. However, the recent announcement of opening the borders to allow visitors in is worrying. While most see it as a sign that the pandemic is gradually becoming a crisis of the past, I am concerned about the new variant, Omicron.



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Since it was first detected in South Africa, there have been countless news articles sounding the alarm that it stands to replace Delta as the dominant variant. While it’s good to learn that our current vaccines are effective against the new coronavirus strain, it is still too early to tell what kind of impact it would have on the world.

To open up our borders to countries that are battling Omicron seems a tad risky, especially with the second wave still very fresh in our mind. The populace is fatigued; it has been nearly two years of stress and anxiety. The move to green light international travel seems premature. I did see the point when the authorities reminded us that our vaccination rate is high; and that as a population, we are better placed to ward off its onslaught. However, multiple experts have also warned that even if Omicron turns out to be mild, there are still other variants waiting for the right opportune moment to strike.

While it is good to see the easing of measures in this Endemic Phase, allowing some sort of normalcy back into our lives, the perpetual tightening and loosening of measures may be more harmful to our collective mental state. It’s better to keep the measures in place until the authorities are absolutely sure that we can leave the pandemic behind us.

The Observer


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