Malaysia will reopen its borders on April 1, following two years of strict travel restrictions, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced on Tuesday.
Fully vaccinated visitors will not be required to quarantine upon entry to the country, but must take a PCR test two days before departure and an antigen test within 24 hours of their arrival.
In a televised address Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the southeast Asian country will begin a transition to the endemic phase of Covid-19 from next month, following a high vaccination rate in the country.
Malaysia shut its borders in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and imposed tight travel restrictions which largely banned foreign visitors and required returning citizens to quarantine upon arrival.
From next month visitors will no longer need to apply for the My Travel Pass programme, and restrictions on business operating hours, gatherings, social distancing and interstate travel will also be eased from next month, according to the Prime Minister.
Malaysia is also planning travel agreements with Brunei, Thailand and Indonesia, adding to its existing Vaccinated Travel Lane agreement with Singapore.
Izham Ismail, group CEO of Malaysia Aviation Group, welcomed the news, commenting:
“The move signifies a momentous occasion in the nation’s longstanding battle with the COVID-19 pandemic and a beacon of light for the economic recovery of industries, including aviation, which has been impacted significantly since Malaysia’s borders closed two years ago.”
He added that the group will work closely with the relevant authorities to reinstate flights that have been temporarily suspended and also increase frequency to key markets, with hopes to achieve approximately 70 per cent of its pre-Covid capacity by the end of 2022.
Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines have also waived quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers.