Malaysia will reopen its borders to international visitors by January 1 at the latest, a government advisory council says, as the country seeks to revive its ailing tourism sector.
The Southeast Asian country has gradually reopened its economy in recent weeks as COVID infection rates have slowed amid a ramped-up vaccination program.
More than three-quarters of Malaysia’s 32 million population are vaccinated, government statistics show.
Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who chairs a council tasked with spearheading Malaysia’s economic recovery program, told reporters the tourism industry was recovering too slowly without foreigners and noted that operators needed time to resume businesses.
Muhyiddin, however, said infection control measures such as COVID-19 tests will remain in place, with authorities to determine entry based on the COVID-19 situation in originating countries and other factors.
He did not state when a firm date for reopening will be announced but said the decision was still being detailed by health and security agencies.
Malaysia this week announced it would launch a vaccinated travel lane with neighbouring Singapore on November 29, allowing quarantine-free travel for inoculated people between both countries.
It has also agreed with Indonesia to introduce a similar travel corridor on a gradual basis.
The news comes on the same week Singapore reopened its border to fully vaccinated Australians to once again enter the country quarantine-free via its ‘Vaccinated Travel Lane’ VTL program.
Two-way quarantine-free travel to South Korea and Japan from Australia is also being considered by prime minister Scott Morrison as the country looks to expand international travel in the coming weeks.
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