Malaysia will reopen its borders to international visitors by January 1 at the latest, a government advisory council says, as the country seeks to revive its ailing tourism sector.
The south-east Asian country has gradually reopened its economy in recent weeks as coronavirus infection rates have slowed amid a ramped-up vaccination program.
More than three-quarters of Malaysia’s 32 million population are vaccinated, government statistics show.
Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who chairs a council tasked with spearheading Malaysia’s economic recovery program, told reporters the tourism industry was recovering too slowly without foreigners and noted that operators needed time to resume businesses.
A much needed nature therapy.
📍Lata Kolam Air Deru Ecopark, Jerteh
Where is your favourite place to connect with nature?
— Malaysia Truly Asia (@TourismMalaysia) November 8, 2021
Mr Muhyiddin, however, said infection control measures such as COVID-19 tests will remain in place, with authorities to determine entry based on the COVID-19 situation in originating countries, and other factors.
He did not state when a firm date for reopening will be announced, but said the decision was still being detailed by health and security agencies.
Malaysia this week announced it would launch a vaccinated travel lane with neighbouring Singapore on November 29, allowing quarantine-free travel for inoculated people between both countries.
It has also agreed with Indonesia to introduce a similar travel corridor on a gradual basis.
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