ministers on travel restrictions and malaysia's endemic phase progress

Malaysian citizens, permanent residents, and long-term passholders, although not barred, would be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine on arrival. 

In a press conference at Putrajaya on Wednesday (1 December 2021), Malaysia's Minister for Health, Khairy Jamaluddin, confirmed that Malaysia will "temporarily deny" travellers from eight out of 18 countries with confirmed cases of Omicron. They are: South Africa, Botswana, Eswathini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.

With that, these latest travel restrictiona, Minister Khairy noted, applies to the following groups:

  • Non-citizens entering Malaysia from the African nations listed above;
  • Travellers entering Malaysia who have been to these African nations in the past 14 days;
  • Migrant workers from these African nations, and
  • International students from these African nations.

Malaysian citizens, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders, on the other hand, although not barred, would be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine on arrival. Additionally, the Minister said the use of the auto-gate system for Malaysian passport holders will be "suspended temporarily with immediate effect".

According to Minister Khairy, to date, there are no reported cases of Omicron in Malaysia. Be that as it may, the Government, as well as the Ministry, are remaining cautious—and thus implemented this travel restriction—because the variant "can spread much faster than previous variants", and "is more transmissible". This, Minister Khairy warned, "could put immunocompromised groups at high risk".

With regard to the remaining 10 countries, Minister Khairy shared that they are: Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Spain, France, Israel, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, and Japan.

On that note, the Minister added that any vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) that could possibly be established with these countries will be "put on hold".

That said, Singapore-Malaysia's VTL (via land or air) will continue per normal. The only difference is that travellers entering Malaysia are now required to take additional COVID-19 rapid tests—with Rapid Antigen Test Kits (RTK)—on the third and seventh day after their arrival, and report the results on the MySejahtera application.

These latest travel restrictions and measures have come to full effect after Senior Minister for Defence, Hishammuddin Hussein, on 30 November (Tuesday), said Malaysia will tighten its borders due to the presence of Omicron, and the nation's progress towards an endemic phase will be "paused" until more information about the new variant is available.

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Image / Senior Minister for Defence Hishammuddin Hussein

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