PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Long-term pass holders from India, Indonesia and the Philippines will not be allowed to enter Malaysia from Sept 7, following a spike in Covid-19 cases in these countries, said Senior Minister (Defence cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Tuesday (Sept 1).
He said the move would help prevent imported cases from being spread in Malaysia.
Citizens from the three countries who will be affected include those holding permanent resident status, participants of the Malaysia My Second Home programme, expatriates and professional visit pass holders, and spouses of Malaysian citizens and students.
Many of them were still allowed to travel into the country in the last few months despite tight restrictions on travel.
"The special Cabinet committee is aware of the sudden spike in Covid-19-positive cases in certain countries," Datuk Seri Ismail said.
"The meeting today decided to impose restrictions on citizens of India, Indonesia and the Philippines entering the country," he said.
Mr Ismail said the government would also monitor the situation in other countries and did not rule out the possibility that the same restrictions might be imposed on citizens of other countries experiencing a spike in cases.
"We have asked the Health Ministry to make detailed planning on how Malaysia should face threats and challenges in view of the possibility of an increase in cases during winter.
"We have started tightening border controls by not allowing people from the three countries to enter," he said.
Mr Ismail said the other challenge was how to prepare for the return of Malaysian citizens from countries experiencing winter.
The government has raised its concern that countries that experience winter in the coming months would have more Covid-19 cases.
Malaysia on Monday reported six new coronavirus cases to bring the total to 9,340. The number of deaths linked to Covid-19 stood at 127, with one more death recorded on Monday.
A total of 9,054 people have recovered.