BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Brunei reported 2,988 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, another record high, bringing the national tally to 30,587.
As a country of 420,000 people, Brunei saw its total cases exceeding 30,000 on Friday, one day after the daily number exceeded the 2,000 mark for the first time.
The new cases were all local infections, the Health Ministry said.
One more COVID-19 patient died on Friday, bringing the total number of deaths to 108. The country also reported a total of 11,731 active cases, the ministry added.
The country is going through the third wave of COVID-19 and the number of cases is expected to exceed the total of the second wave, with the Omicron variant replacing the Delta variant as the dominant variant, said the ministry.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases and related close contacts have caused a sudden increase in demand for swab tests, which leads to long queues and traffic congestion at the country's drive-through swab center in Jerudong area, which can facilitate 6,000 to 8,000 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests per day.
According to the ministry, the Antigen Rapid Test (ART) introduced in Brunei last year is now the primary test for COVID-19, as the PCR test can only be directed by a physician, while ART, cheaper and faster, is now widely accessible.
As of Feb. 17, more than 94 percent of Brunei's population have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines, while 49.9 percent have received three doses. ■