Malaysia reopens borders after two years of pandemic closure

Singapore, Apr 1 (EFE).- Malaysia reopened its borders Friday after two years of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, joining other Southeast Asian countries that have taken similar steps to adapt to the “endemic phase” of the virus.

One of the scenes to best represent the reopening were the long queues of cars and people on foot crossing the bridge separating the Malaysian city of Johor and Singapore, traveled daily by some 300,000 people before the pandemic before closing in March 2020.

All vaccinated travelers can now enter Malaysia without the need to quarantine, while those who are not vaccinated must follow the protocols imposed by authorities.

In addition, leisure will return to normal in this country with a Muslim majority, with special emphasis on restaurants being able to serve food after midnight – which until now was not allowed – to ensure the celebration of Ramadan, from Friday until May 2.

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in early March during the reopening announcement that this measure also sought to shore up economic recovery after the ravages caused by the pandemic.

At the beginning of the month, the country exceeded the peak of its largest wave of infections recorded since the pandemic, linked to the impact of the omicron variant, and registered some 4.18 million confirmed cases, including about 35,000 deaths.

Nearly 80 percent of the Malaysian population is vaccinated with at least two doses, according to figures from Our World in Data, giving authorities confidence to push for the reopening.

Malaysia joins other neighboring countries, such as Singapore itself – which from Friday also allows free entry to all vaccinated travelers – the Philippines and Thailand, which to different extents have also begun transitioning to the “endemic phase” of the virus. This is in contrast to the zero contagion policy still prevalent in China and Hong Kong. EFE


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