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Malaysia to reopen to international visitors by Jan 1

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, president of the National Recovery Council, speaks during a press conference in Lanai Kijang, Kuala Lumpur October 15, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Malaysia will reopen its borders to international visitors by Jan. 1 at the latest, a government advisory council said on Thursday, 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 programme.

More than three-quarters of Malaysia’s 32 million population are vaccinated, government statistics show.

Former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who chairs a council tasked with spearheading Malaysia’s economic recovery programme, told reporters the tourism industry was recovering too slowly without foreigners and noted that operators needed time to resume businesses.

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 Nov. 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.. — Reuters

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