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China and Brunei, Hand in Hand to Fight against COVID-19

With the COVID-19 still rampant all over the world, China has been working closely with the rest of the world, especially developing countries in anti-pandemic cooperation, with the vision of building a global community of health for all. Chinese President H.E. Xi Jinping emphasized in a written message to the first meeting of the International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation On August 5th that, with COVID-19 still raging with frequent flare-ups and mutations, China will continue to do its best to help other developing countries cope with the virus.

Affected by the fluctuating global pandemic and the Delta variant in Southeast Asia, Brunei has recently been hit by the second wave. As of today since August 7th, 797 cases have been confirmed. After the outbreak, the Bruneian government, under the strong leadership of His Majesty the Sultan, has taken active prevention and control measures, and carried out a series of measures such as isolation, testing and treatment which are yielding good results. Faced with the sudden outbreak, all walks of life in Brunei have responded with a united front. Numerous frontline medical staff in particular made enormous contributions and sacrifices, to whom we pay tribute and gratitude.

At this adversity, China stands with Brunei in solidarity. With the Kampong Spirit examplified in the China-Brunei joint-fighting against the pandemic last year, China once again extended its hands of friendship offering strong support to the Bruneian people. On August 18th, H.E. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China, said during his telephone conversation with H.E. Dato Erywan, Minister II of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brunei, that anti-pandemic cooperation remains a top priority currently, China attaches great importance to the needs of Brunei and would donate a batch of vaccines to Brunei as soon as possible, and lend a helping hand to Brunei when the country needs it most.

In the face of the outbreak, it is of dire urgency to expand the lab testing capacity. Chinese company BGI responded swiftly to the request of the Bruneian government. In less than a week, the first crew of BGI experts were quickly dispatched and the equipment was delivered to Brunei with intensive coordination. On August 19th, a Huo Yan emergency test laboratory of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was put to operation with daily capacity of 5000 COVID-19 tests, marking the 24th mobile inflatable Huo Yan laboratory in the world and the 11th overseas built by BGI, as well as the 1st in Southeast Asia.

Under the excellent and efficient coordination of the Bruneian government, more than 60 Chinese experts from BGI rushed to Brunei from different parts of the world within less than a week. Working closely with the Bruneian government, they have managed to set up the laboratory from scratch within such a short time, greatly encouraging the general confidence in winning this fight. Despite the fatigue from long-haul flights, the experts have been working tirelessly against the clock, creating a new chapter in China-Brunei anti-pandemic cooperation, and strongly support Brunei's efforts to overcome the pandemic. The laboratory will operate around the clock, and the BGI team will provide professional training to the Bruneian staff. The lab is expected to be handed over to the Ministry of Health of Brunei within 2 months.

Some Chinese-funded enterprises are also taking active actions and relentlessly fulfilling their social responsibilities. Evyd Technology has assisted in the development and continuous improvement of the BruHealth App, which is playing an increasingly important role in the case tracking and quarantine management. Some Chinese companies proposed to donate necessary equipment and protective articles. The thoughts of the Chinese people are always with the people of Brunei. Many of the Chinese people have taken the initiative to support Brunei in fighting the new wave of the pandemic. Chinese citizens living in Brunei have shown great solidarity and joined the efforts of the fight against the pandemic.

As a Malay saying goes, Berat sama dipikul, ringan sama djinjing. We firmly believe that under the wise leadership of His Majesty the Sultan and with the joint efforts of everyone, the people of Brunei will overcome the pandemic and once again usher in a life away from the virus. Stay strong, Brunei!

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