Malaysia to reopen borders on April 1 after two years

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia will reopen its borders on April 1 after two years and lift remaining coronavirus restrictions for businesses as it works to restore normal life, Prime Minister Ismail announced on Tuesday. Sabri Yaakob.

Ismail said the decision was a result of the country’s high vaccination rate, low hospital bed utilization by COVID-19 patients and low percentage of severe cases.

The decision “allows us all to return to almost normal life after almost two years of war against COVID-19,” he said on a national broadcast. “Most importantly, Malaysia is now an open destination.”

Malaysia closed its borders in March 2020. Since then, 99% of adult Malaysians have received two doses of the vaccine and 64% have also received a booster. Vaccinations for teenagers have also reached a high level and the government has recently launched vaccines for children aged 5-11.

New daily cases have risen sharply to over 25,000 in recent weeks due to the omicron strain, but less than 1% have been classified as serious.

Ismail said the use of face masks is still mandatory in public places and foreigners must download and use a government cellphone app.

From April 1, fully vaccinated travelers will not need to undergo quarantine after entering Malaysia but will need to be tested two days before traveling and within 24 hours of arrival. All remaining restrictions on opening hours and capacities of businesses, places of worship and events involving large crowds will also be lifted, Ismail added.

Australia, Singapore and Thailand have also recently eased entry restrictions.

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