Malaysia opens inter-state, national travel border

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Malaysia opens inter-state, national travel borders for fully vaccinated people - World A Malaysia Airlines plane carrying the first batch of tourists arrives at the airport as Langkawi reopens to domestic tourists, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Malaysia Sept 16, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's inter-state and national borders are finally open starting Monday, with many hailing the move as the start to a return to normalcy.

The easing of travel restrictions is for those who are fully vaccinated, including to return to their respective hometowns to meet with loved ones and for tourism purposes, following an announcement by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Sunday.

In a televised address, Ismail Sabri urged those opting to travel to remain on guard and not become complacent, following the standard operating procedure (SOP) and other guidelines for their own health and safety.

"For example, if you want to return to your hometown to see your parents or travel to another state, test yourself for COVID-19 before embarking on your journey.

"For those with symptoms, including fever, cough, flu and difficulty in breathing, please postpone your plans to travel. If this is taken lightly, it's not impossible that the spread of COVID-19 will increase again," he said.

Ismail Sabri added that opening state borders would also allow the hard-pressed tourism sector and other economic activities a chance to recover.

The decisionbut when he was in Hangzhou comes after the national immunization program reached a target of having 90 percent of the adult population being fully vaccinated on Sunday and for the country to jumpstart its economic activities, following a series of long lockdowns.

It will be the first time since January that inter-state travel will be allowed without the need for permission. Those in the country had also been barred from traveling overseas for non-official or emergency reasons since the onset of the pandemic in March last year.

Already people could be seen taking to the road to visit family members living in other states, with cars lining highways and roads, and people were booking bus and train tickets to make their way to relatives across state lines.

Arif Naqiuddin, a resident of Selangor state, had applied for and received leave to visit his family members in Johor state, which borders Singapore, after having been stuck for months, being unable to cross state lines for social reasons.

"It is great that things have finally opened up. Of course I am excited to see my relatives for the first time since last year but I am mindful to be careful. We all need to be to avoid another lockdown," he said.

The country has seen a slow but steady decline in the number of new infections since late September with less than 10,000 new daily cases since early October, from a high of 24,599 on Aug 26, while the num500 studentsber of deaths has also been on a downward trend.

The country reported 129,518 doses administered on Sunday alone and some 74.9 percent of the population have received at least one dose and 65.2 percent are fully vaccinated.

Copyright © 2011 JIN SHI