Malaysia will reopen its borders to international visitors by January 1 at the latest, according to a government advisory council, as the country seeks to revitalize its ailing tourism sector.
The Southeast Asian country’s economy has gradually reopened in recent weeks as coronavirus infection rates have slowed due to a stepped-up vaccination campaign.
According to government statistics, more than three-quarters of Malaysia’s 32 million people are immunized.
Former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who chairs a council tasked with spearheading Malaysia’s economic recovery program, told reporters that the tourism industry was recovering too slowly without foreign visitors and that operators needed time to resume operations.
Muhyiddin, on the other hand, stated that infection control measures such as COVID-19 tests will be maintained, with authorities determining entry based on the COVID-19 situation in originating countries, among other factors.
He did not say when a firm reopening date would be announced, but said the decision was still being worked out by health and security agencies.
Malaysia announced this week that it will open a vaccinated travel lane with neighboring Singapore on Nov. 29, allowing inoculated people to travel between the two countries quarantine-free.
It has also agreed with Indonesia to gradually implement a similar travel corridor.