Malaysia will relax Covid-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated people in eight states where cases have dropped and vaccination rates are higher.
The measures, which take effect from Tuesday (August 10), will allow dining-in at restaurants, outdoor individual sports and inter-district travel, said prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin in a televised address on Sunday.
Hotels and homestays will also be allowed to receive domestic guests, but only those from within the same state, as the nationwide interstate travel ban will remain. Outdoor sports and leisure activities that do not involve physical contact and are not group activities will also be permitted.
These measures will apply to those who are fully vaccinated in states that have entered phase two and beyond. All states have moved on to phases two and three, except Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Johor, Melaka and Putrajaya.
Additionally, in all states and Federal Territories, fully vaccinated citizens and non-citizens who are returning from abroad and have a residence in Malaysia will be allowed to undergo mandatory quarantine at home. Parents who are fully vaccinated will also be permitted to travel inter-district and interstate to visit their children aged 18 and below, while long-distance married couples will be allowed to travel interstate and inter-district to meet each other. Places of worship will also be allowed to reopen for those who are fully vaccinated.
Muhyiddin said the decision to relax restrictions was made after receiving feedback from the Health Ministry.
He said: “This decision was made very carefully and it is in line with data collected in the country on the effectiveness of complete vaccination as well as principles of science and public health applied around the world.”
He added that two criteria must be met in allowing privileges to fully vaccinated individuals. Firstly, the individual must have passed the 14th day of the second dose of vaccination for the two dose vaccines, namely, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac. Secondly, recipients of single dose vaccines, namely Johnson&Johnson and CanSino, are granted the privileges 28 days after the date of injection.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said that the relaxation announced for fully vaccinated people is a significant step forward, not just for the tourism industry but also for the country as a whole. “It bears commitment from the government to transition the country from the state of pandemic to accepting Covid-19 as endemic,” said MAH president N Subramaniam.
The tourism industry in phases two and three can prepare itself for an impending reopening. Subramaniam said: “Allowing dine-in at restaurants, for example, is expected to benefit hotels, particularly those certified Clean & Safe by Bureau Veritas Certification Malaysia (a proprietary hygiene and safety label for hotels by MAH) that had since its inception included ventilation, airflow and seating arrangements as part of its safety and health guidelines for restaurants within the hotels.
“The overall high compliance of SOPs by hotels is an added assurance to the general public that it is safe to dine and even stay, whether it is just for a short staycation or for any other travel purposes.”
Another proposal by MAH, presented to the Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture earlier this year, is to allow fully vaccinated persons to travel inter-district and interstate, with added controls of confirmed hotel bookings and itinerary that can be counter-monitored by hotels.
Subramaniam shared: “With the current progress, this should be the next phase of relaxation, commencing for travels between states that had transitioned to phase two of the National Recovery Plan. The hotel industry is ready and will support the government in taking calculated steps towards full reopening of tourism, not just domestic but also international.”