BREAKING: Malaysia's borders will reopen from April 1
Ready or not?
UPDATE: 8 March 2022
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has announced via a press conference today that Malaysia will be "transitioning into the endemic phase" and reopening its borders beginning April 1, 2022.
Here's what "transitioning into the endemic phase" means for Malaysia:
- Masks must be worn in public
- No curfew for business operation hours
- F&B establishments may operate for 24 hours
- The MySejahtera app is still in use, except for open spaces without crowds
- MySJTrace (Bluetooth contact-tracing function) is a requirement in crowded spaces
- Hotel ballrooms may operate at full capacity
Meanwhile, here are the SOPs (so far) for international travel beginning April 1:
- Malaysians may travel to other countries with open borders
- Travellers with relevant travel documents may enter the country without applying for the MyTravelPass permit
- No quarantine is needed for fully-vaccinated travelers into Malaysia. They will have to undergo a RT-PCR swab test two days before departure and RTK test 24 hours upon arrival at the KLIA airport
- As for traveling to countries with closed borders, Malaysians may travel using a VTL. Countries currently on Malaysia’s VTL list are Singapore, Thailand, and Cambodia
- Malaysians may travel domestically regardless of vaccination status
More updates to come when they are announced. What do you think of this development? Will you be booking your first flight out of the country or hanging tight in Malaysia?
UPDATE: 14 February 2022
While netizens are divided on recent news of the National Recovery Council's suggestion to reopen the country's borders by March 1, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that The Cabinet has yet to discuss the proposal further, according to a report by The Star.
He said that the Health Ministry had yet to provide feedback on the proposal to the Cabinet for evaluation.
“We must find a balance between wanting to protect the tourism industry and the people's health, so the Health Ministry will look into it in detail and propose the next step to the Cabinet.
“As of today, our borders are still closed... there’s no discussion yet to reopen,” he said on Saturday (12 February).
According to Ismail, the government was aware of the challenges faced by the tourism industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but did not want the entry of foreign tourists to cause a spike in cases in the country.
“Yes, it’s true we want to reopen the borders because we want to assist the tourism industry, but we also want to protect the health of Malaysians. If the travellers who come here are infected, then it will only expedite the increase in the number of cases and endanger our people’s health,” he added.
Currently, Malaysia has been hit with the Omicron wave, with daily cases averaging around the 20,000 mark in the past few days.
More updates on the quarantine-free proposal to come when they become available.
Original article dated 8 February 2022:
The National Recovery Council (NRC) recommends that Malaysia’s international borders be reopened as soon as next month to facilitate further recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to The Star.
NRC chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said this at a press conference today (8 February) after chairing the council's meeting earlier: “The council agreed that the country’s borders could be fully opened as early as March 1, 2022, without the need for mandatory quarantine.”
Muhyiddin said this is the way forward as the nation has achieved high vaccination rates and lower hospital admissions. He mentioned the key factor behind the push to reopen the borders was the health ministry’s ability to bring down admissions of severe Covid-19 cases (Category 3 to 5) in hospitals.
“However, the reopening of the country’s borders must be done in a planned manner and according to current risk assessments,” he added.
Until the announcement comes into effect, the current quarantine period for entry into Malaysia (effective 24 January 2022) is as follows:
- Five days for those fully vaccinated and with a booster dose, or adolescents (18 years and under) who are traveling alone
- Seven days for those who are fully vaccinated
- 10 days for those who are not fully vaccinated
What do you think of this development? More updates to come when they become available.
In other travel-related news, Australia has announced that it will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated travellers beginning 21 February, 2022. The move comes as the last component of the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which it attributes to maintaining relatively low death and infection rates.
This marks the first time since March 2020 that people can travel to Australia from anywhere in the world as long as they are double-vaccinated.
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