Health Alert (COVID-19 Update #42) – U.S. Embassy Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei (August 10, 2020)

Location:  Brunei

Event:  The Brunei Ministry of Health has confirmed 142 cases of COVID-19 in Brunei Darussalam.  The Embassy urges all U.S. citizens in Brunei to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts.

Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) has announced plans to operate a commercial flight to London’s Heathrow Airport departing Bandar Seri Begawan on Monday, September 14.  Booking information is available on the RBA website.  Please note that as of August 11, travelers arriving in London directly from Brunei will not be subject to the UK’s self-isolation requirement.

RBA has suspended most of its routes until August 31, with limited scheduled service continuing to Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Singapore, Melbourne, and Manila.  Please contact RBA for details and booking information and note the following:

  • Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia has enacted travel restrictions that bar most foreign citizens from entering the country, but direct international transit via Kuala Lumpur International Airport to destinations with connecting service to the United States remains possible.  Lodging options for transit passengers within the airport are available with advance reservations; please see the Kuala Lumpur International Airport website for more information.  Please note that Air Asia plans to resume flights from Brunei to Kuala Lumpur on August 16, but under current conditions, it is not possible for most foreign citizens to transfer from terminal KLIA2, where most Air Asia flights arrive, to KLIA, where most international flights depart.  Please contact your airlines with any questions.
  • Hong Kong: Hong Kong has enacted travel restrictions that bar most foreign citizens from entering via its airport.  Hong Kong aviation authorities announced that beginning on June 15, “passengers can use Hong Kong International Airport for transit/transfer on flights operated by different airlines under the same air ticket, provided that the passengers have checked through at the origin port with their boarding passes printed and baggage tagged-through to the final destination. Passengers should also confirm in advance that they are able to enter the final destination.”  Please check with your airlines to ensure that your intended itinerary meets these requirements.
  • Singapore: Singapore has enacted travel restrictions that bar most foreign citizens from entering or transiting via its airports.  Singapore aviation authorities recently announced that international transit services will gradually resume, but it is not yet clear when passengers from Brunei will be able to transit in Singapore.
  • Melbourne: The government of the Australian state of Victoria has enacted temporary measures that prohibit passengers from flying into Melbourne Airport.  When it is again possible to fly to Melbourne, Australia has travel restrictions that bar most foreign citizens from entering the country, but direct international transit via Melbourne Airport to destinations with connecting service to the United States may be possible under certain conditions.  Please see the website of the Australian Department of Home Affairs for more information.
  • Manila: The Philippine government has enacted travel restrictions that bar most foreign citizens from entering or transiting via its airports.

The Embassy strongly urges those who wish to return to the United States to explore commercial flight options now, as there is no guarantee that the U.S. government will be able to arrange evacuation flights if commercial flights become unavailable.  Also, evacuation flights are not free-of-charge and are, in fact, frequently more expensive than currently available commercial travel.

Citizens, permanent residents, and other residents of Brunei, including foreign citizens who hold green identity cards, require approval from the Prime Minister’s Office in order to leave the country.  This policy does not apply to visitors who do not hold Brunei-government-issued identity cards.  Residents may apply for permission to leave the country by completing an online application on the website of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Government of Brunei Darussalam has implemented additional enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Effective March 24, the government barred most foreign citizens from entering or transiting Brunei by air, land, or sea.  Inquiries about this policy may be directed to the Brunei Department of Immigration and National Registration at info@immigration.gov.bn.

Travelers should be prepared for additional travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.  Visit the website of the Brunei Ministry of Health for the latest information on these new measures.

The Department of State has lifted its Global Level 4 Health Advisory and issued a country-specific level 2 (exercise increased caution) travel advisory for Brunei.  Brunei is no longer subject to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel health notice.  On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure from any diplomatic or consular post in the world of U.S. personnel and family members who have been medically determined to be at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19.

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