By Azaraimy HH
Brunei confirmed its first case of A (H1N1) influenza when a student was found infected with the flu virus more than 12 hours after arriving home on flight BI098 from London Heathrow on June 16, 2009.
The student was confirmed to have contracted the virus after Rapid Result and other tests were carefully executed.
Brunei will soon be seeing its student returning from United Kingdom, one of the countries with growing cases of H1N1 virus. But at a press conference early yesterday evening, the Minister of Health, Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Suyoi, said there is no cause to panic now that Brunei has recorded its first H1N1 case in the country and asked the public to stay calm and take extra precaution.
The Ministry of Health did not disclose the student’s gender nor identity but family members who had come forward to be tested had been proved negative of H1N1, the ministry added.
The 19-year-old Brunei student studying in United Kingdom is currently on holiday. The student arrived here on June 16 but only showed H1N1 symptoms on June 19 evening. The student had his first emergency treatment at R1PAS Hospital on June 20 before being transferred for treatment and observation at the quarantine centre in Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah Hospital in Tutong.
Pehin Suyoi said while the ministry believed the student was infected while in the UK, due to the fact that the student only showed signs of H1N1 symptoms three days after arrival, which is more than 20 hours, the ministry will not be contacting other passengers of flight BI098.
He said this is because in this case the risk of the virus spreading to other passengers of flight BI098 at that time was low. He said the student caught the infection abroad and not in Brunei and that, he said, meant Brunei is still relatively safe.
However, he reminded all arrivals from countries infected with H1N1 to immediately go for check-up if they show symptoms of the Virus.
The Ministry of Health, he said, is contemplating on checking all incoming air passengers after arriving at the airport. Previously, it only runs checks on passengers from infected countries.
“This is not just because Brunei has now registered its first local H1N1 case but because of the way the virus is now spreading in a pandemic way,” Pehin Suyoi added.
Meanwhile, the two local Bruneians who were confirmed to be infected with H1N1 flu in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, have been discharged from hospital quarantine and are recovering well. They will be returning to Brunei after the end of their travel quarantine.
The Health Minister also said that the ministry is now working with the Brunei student unit in UK to call for Brunei students in that country to take extra precaution before flying home.
The minister also urged the public to restrict or delay non-essential travel abroad because of how the virus is spreading.
He urged those who are showing signs of H1N1 symptoms after travelling abroad to stay home and stay away from public places.
Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin