Business as usual for travellers despite Zika threat

National 2 minutes, 16 seconds


DESPITE the risk of Zika virus, travellers remain unfazed by the news, taking necessary precaution as they continue with their travel plans.

The flights to Jakarta yesterday afternoon was fully booked, according to the frontdesk attendants at the check-in counter at the Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA).

Majority of the evening flight yesterday comprised Indonesian nationals who are on transit in Brunei from Jeddah to Surabaya, Indonesia after performing their Umrah.

When asked, travellers said that the spread of the virus did not pose a concern to them as they were aware of the precaution they needed to take.

A holidaymaker who only wished to be known as Syuaib, said that he plans to just stay within the metropolitan Jakarta area in an effort to minimise risk of Zika.

“I (plan on staying) near the city and I do not plan on moving around to other areas,” said Syuaib, who will be visiting friends in the Indonesian capital.

Meanwhile, for Emma Mazlani, who is travelling with her family, they are taking a “better be safe than sorry” approach and ensure their well-being such as wearing light-colored shirts and to cover up as much as possible. She said that purchasing insect repellants, for instance, has become a basic necessities for her siblings who are travelling to Jakarta yesterday.

More recently, Thailand recorded a case of a man infected with the Zika this week.

In Brunei, the Minstry of Health last month assured that the country is equipped to deal with Zika. This includes established procedure for mosquito-borne diseases such as entomological surveillance and vector-control measures.

The ministry said that testing will be carried out on anyone suspected of being infected with the Zika virus, particularly if the person recently travelled to an affected country before returning to Brunei with symptoms that are in accordance with the virus. Those with possible symptoms are urged to come forward and seek immediate medical attention. The ministry also reassures the public there were no plans to quarantine or deport anyone suspected of being infected.

Indonesia recorded the Zika in 2015 in Jambi at the Sumatra Island. However, Indonesian health officials have since said they have not detected Zika in the country since the beginning of this year.

While other ASEAN countries reported no outbreak of the virus, precautionary steps are being undertaken to prevent the the spread of the outbreak.

The common symptoms of Zika includes fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

The virus has a serious effect on pregnant women where it has been linked to severe neurological development disorder called microcephaly, that is especially dangerous to newborn babies.

The Brunei Times