KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - International travellers who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 must undergo five days of quarantine upon arrival in Malaysia, said Khairy Jamaluddin on Wednesday (March 9).
The Health Minister said the travellers who are not fully vaccinated will also be subjected to local Covid-19 protocols, including not being allowed to dine-in at restaurants.
These are among the new protocols for travellers that will take effect on April 1, when Malaysia transitions into the endemic phase of its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Tuesday announced that Malaysians and international travellers who are fully vaccinated do not need to undergo quarantine upon arrival in the country from April 1.
Visitors will be required to undergo pre-departure tests (RT-PCR) and upon-arrival tests (RTK-Antigen under professional supervision) within 24 hours after arrival.
At present, visitors can enter Malaysia only via the Singapore and Langkawi travel bubble.
Khairy said the protocol for entry of travellers via land borders is still being detailed and will be announced soon. Malaysia is linked by land borders with Singapore, Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia (Kalimantan).
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that as Malaysia transitions into the endemic phase in its approach towards Covid-19, the government will reduce the virus safety measures from the existing 181 to just one list of 10 guidelines starting April 1.
The 10 requirements will continue to be enforced under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342), including the wearing face masks and practising physical distancing.
"In essence, this one SOP (standard operating procedure) for the 'Transition to Endemicity' phase has been simplified from the 181 SOP that was enforced under the National Recovery Plan.
"Even though there is only one SOP, it will still be enforced under Act 342 from April 1. All of these 10 requirements have been practised by the public throughout the pandemic. I believe everyone can adhere to it," Hishammuddin said in a statement on Wednesday.
He added there will also be nine guidelines on activities which will not be enforced but instead encouraged, to reduce the risk of infection.
The guidelines will cover activities related to transportation and travel; education and care; retail, food and beverage; closed workspaces; open workspaces; events, ceremonies, entertainment and tourist attractions; hotels and guest accommodations; religious events, weddings and funerals; and sports, recreation and leisure.
Mr Hishammuddin said the guidelines will be published on a website that can be accessed two weeks before April 1.
While Malaysia bids to reopen safely next month, Health Minister Khairy said nightclubs in the country will remain shut after April 1.
"Come April 1, there will only be one type of premises that will stay on the negative list, which is nightclubs. This is because of the nature of nightclubs. It is still considered high-risk," said Mr Khairy at a press conference in Parliament on Wednesday.
Nightclubs have not been allowed to open since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Mr Khairy however said the protocol for travellers, including requirements for entering Malaysia on land is still being detailed and will be announced soon.
Johor's chief minister Hasni Mohammad said on Wednesday the travel arrangements for daily commuters between Singapore and Johor should be finalised as soon as possible.
Malaysia's 10 Covid-19 guidelines to reopening safely:
1. Wear a face mask when in public
2. Operation hours of shops, eateries must adhere to permits
3. Maintain hand hygiene
4. Perform Covid-19 tests according to the National Testing Strategy
5. Manage suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases according to Health Ministry guidelines
6. Use MySejahtera and MySJTrace apps when entering venues
7. Ensure safe physical distancing of one metre between people
8. Ensure a good ventilation system
9. Ensure the cleanliness of premises
10. Comply with vaccination requirements for various activities