Malaysia is mulling dropping border restrictions and embracing visitors as early as March 2022.
On Feb. 8, the country's National Recovery Council, headed by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, suggested that Malaysia's borders should be fully opened to everyone from all countries, as early as March 1.
This means that travellers will not be required to undergo compulsory quarantine.
Speaking at a press conference after chairing a meeting of the council, Muhyiddin said, according to Malaysiakini:
"The council has proposed that the borders be opened in the near future for economic recovery. We agree the country's borders be fully opened as early as March 1 without the need for mandatory quarantine."
Help economic recovery
Muhyiddin added that the recommendation was made after taking into consideration the fact that the widespread nature of the Omicron variant meant that restricting visitors from specific countries would not be easy.
Easing of restrictions would help with Malaysia's economic recovery, particularly in the tourism and aviation sectors.
Also, businesses that are linked to those sectors would also receive a boost.
Malaysia's healthcare system can manage
Muhyiddin also emphasised that according to the health ministry, easing border restrictions would not result in an excessive burden for the healthcare system.
"From the briefing given by the health minister (Khairy Jamaluddin) just now, our public health system is still able to cope and manage. We have plenty of experience... hospital beds, ICUs, and doctors.
"Until now... we can continue to accommodate the increasing number (of patients)."
However, visitors would still need to be tested for Covid before departure and upon arrival at Malaysia, either a PCR or an RTK antigen test.
Travellers between Singapore and Malaysia already enjoy quarantine-free travel via the Vaccinated Travel Lane, which kicked in from Dec. 20, 2021.
However, ticket sales were recently suspended over fears of an Omicron surge.
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