Malaysia goes reopen its borders to foreign tourists and remove most of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions on businesses, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced on Tuesday.
There will be no more quarantine for fully vaccinated passengers after April 1. They, however, must undergo a real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test two days prior to departure and a professional rapid test kit-antigen (RTK-Ag) test within 24 hours of departure. landing in Malaysia.
Malaysian citizens will no longer be subject to Covid-related travel restrictions, so they will be able to travel freely internationally.
“I believe [the border’s reopening] long awaited by the people. This announcement will also boost the economy as a whole, in particular the tourism industry, which has been severely affected by the pandemic,” Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told reporters.
“More importantly, Malaysia is now an open destination and can be visited by everyone,” he added.
Entry conditions for unvaccinated tourists have not yet been announced.
“For those who are not fully vaccinated or unable to receive the vaccine for health reasons, the health minister will detail more standard operating procedures (SOPs) on this tomorrow,” the prime minister said.
Another restriction that the government lifted was the requirement for foreign visitors to register through the MyTravelPass mechanism.. The Prime Minister said that they will only have to download the MySejahtera app for contact tracing.
According to Ismail, the decision follows a high vaccination rate, low hospitalizations and a small number of serious cases.
These indicators “allow us all to return to a near-normal life after nearly two years at war with COVID-19,” he said in a national broadcast.
The mask wearing requirement will continue to apply in public places such as shops, tourist attractions, public transport and theaters.
However, the current 50% capacity limit for weddings and other large events will be lifted. Visitors will also be able to dine in restaurants after midnight, including during the month of Ramadan.
The Malaysian Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture estimates that between 2020 and 2021, the country lost around RM 300 billion (S$97.9 billion) in tourism-related revenue.
In 2019, the tourism industry generated RM 240.2 billion, or more than 16% of Malaysia’s total domestic product.
According to the Malaysian Hotel Association, more than 100 hotels have closed temporarily or permanently, resulting in the loss of nearly 20,000 jobs (MAH).