PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Fully vaccinated travellers entering Malaysia will begin serving a reduced quarantine period of seven days from Monday (Oct 18), said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
The Health Minister said on Saturday that aside from travellers entering Malaysia, close contacts of Covid-19 cases and individuals given supervision orders would also be subject to the seven-day quarantine period provided they have been fully vaccinated.
Those subject to the reduction include any citizen, permanent resident, expatriate, diplomatic corps or any other foreigner allowed to enter the country from overseas by the Immigration director-general, Mr Khairy said.
Individuals returning from high-risk infection areas are also allowed to reduce their period of quarantine.
"All individuals mentioned above are subject to this reduction in the mandatory quarantine period, with effect from Oct 18.
"Meanwhile, those who are not vaccinated or have yet to complete their Covid-19 vaccine doses should undergo a quarantine period of 10 days," said Mr Khairy in a statement.
He also said that individuals who are not vaccinated or have yet to complete their vaccination doses, and are currently at day eight or above of their mandatory quarantine can also take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test starting on Saturday to end their isolation.
"If the Covid-19 test result is negative, they will be granted a release order on Oct 18," he said.
Mr Khairy added that the existing guidelines are relevant and will be enforced, with the public reminded to comply with the established regulations.
Failure to comply with quarantine procedures is an offence under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease Act 1988.
Earlier on Saturday, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob also urged unvaccinated individuals in the country to consider getting their Covid-19 jabs to avoid losing out on many perks.
The Prime Minister said while the government has not made Covid-19 vaccination compulsory, he is highly encouraging the unvaccinated to get their jabs.
"We've not made any decision to make vaccines mandatory. But I'm encouraging those who are unvaccinated to get your jabs. You'll lose out on many privileges if you don't," he said.
"You won't be able to balik kampung (return to their home towns) even if you haven't returned for a long time. Even if you tried to sneak your way, you can get caught, like how the police recently arrested two individuals," added Mr Ismail.
Malaysia has reopened inter-state travel since Oct 11 after the country hit the 90 per cent mark for adults aged 18 and above fully inoculated against Covid-19.
He also said that the unvaccinated would be unable to go for their umrah pilgrimage or possibly perform the haj next year when Saudi Arabia allows it.
"That's because they only accept travellers who are fully vaccinated," said Mr Ismail at a press conference after visiting the Seri Perak public housing flats on Saturday morning.
He also said that the unvaccinated would be unable to dine in at restaurants with their family or pray at a mosque.
"Vaccination isn't compulsory but I encourage you, in fact, I urge you to get vaccinated," said Mr Ismail.
The Health Ministry reported 7,509 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the cumulative total infections in the country to 2,384,542.
The 7,509 figure was the 14th consecutive day Malaysia has recorded below-10,000 cases a day, a major improvement from its highest daily count of 24,599 cases on Aug 26 - just under two months ago.
Another 89 deaths due to Covid-19 were recorded on Friday, with 19 being brought-in-dead cases, according to the latest ministry data.
About 67.5 per cent of Malaysia's total population has been fully vaccinated.