Malaysia’s coronavirus recovery board said on Tuesday it had recommended the full reopening of borders from March 1. Mandatory quarantine for travelers will be scrapped as part of plans to speed up economic recovery. Malaysia has closed its borders since March 2020. It had frozen the entry of foreign workers in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The recommendation comes as neighbors waive quarantine requirements to attract vaccinated tourists, including Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore.
Thailand said on Monday it was considering travel bubbles with Malaysia and China.
Muhyiddin Yassin, former prime minister and chairman of the National Recovery Council (NRC), a government advisory body, said travelers should be screened for COVID-19 before departure and upon arrival.
“It means tourists can visit, investors can come in…It means AirAsia can fly again, for example,” he told a news conference, referring to the budget carrier. based in Malaysia.
Currently, Malaysia allows quarantine-free entry to people from Singapore under a bilateral agreement.
Malaysia’s daily coronavirus infections have risen in recent weeks to their highest level in four months, driven by the Omicron variant.
It reported 13,944 new infections on Tuesday, adding to more than 2.9 million total recorded cases, with more than 32,000 deaths, among Asia’s highest death and infection rates per capita.
The majority of cases were asymptomatic or mild due to Malaysia’s high vaccination rate, the health ministry said on Monday.
About 98% of Malaysia’s adult population has received two doses of the vaccine and more than half a booster shot. About 89% of 12-17 year olds have been vaccinated and vaccinations for children aged 5-11 started last week.
(With agency contributions)