Families and friends separated by Malaysia’s border closure are counting down the days to long-anticipated reunions as the country is finally ready to welcome travellers from near and far, quarantine-free.
As early as 1 March 2022, Malaysia’s National Recovery Council (NRC) has agreed to fully reopen the country’s borders without the need for travellers to undergo mandatory quarantine.
NRC chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said, however, travellers will still be required to undergo COVID-19 testing immediately before their departure and upon arrival in the country, as per the recommendations by the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MoH).
He said that the reopening of international borders needs to be implemented in a planned manner and based on current risk assessments, and that the reopening of borders would support the country’s economic recovery process and other industries related to tourism.
Malaysia’s borders were closed in March 2020 as the country entered a stringent two-week lockdown to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Malaysians were not permitted to travel outside of the country, and all foreign tourists were prohibited. Individuals returning to Malaysia from abroad were subject to a 14-day self-quarantine procedure that’s since been reduced to seven days.
Some exceptions, however, have been allowed for Malaysians returning from abroad, Malaysians who are permanent residents, and businessmen.
After more than 90% of adults across the country were completely vaccinated, the government loosened both interstate and international travel restrictions late last year.
Malaysia currently allows Singaporeans to enter the country without quarantine as part of a bilateral arrangement.
On Tuesday, Malaysia recorded 13,944 new infections, bringing the total number of cases to over 2.9 million, with over 32,000 deaths.
According to the health ministry, the majority of the cases were asymptomatic or moderate due to Malaysia’s high immunisation coverage. About 98% of Malaysia’s adult population has received two vaccine doses and more than half of that have received a booster shot.