Interstate travel permitted once 90% vaccinated

Limits on interstate travel has been enforced for months in Malaysia to help curb the spread of Covid-19. There have since been several leeways for travel between states for the fully vaccinated in the form of travel bubbles and for the purpose of reuniting spouses and families, but free travel across the country for all has yet to be allowed.

Giving Malaysians something to look forward to, interstate travel will resume once 90% of the adult population in Malaysia are fully vaccinated. Likewise, more businesses will reopen on 1st October 2021 as vaccination rates for adults hit 80% yesterday, including spas, zoos, massage parlours, aquariums, and more.

Interstate travel to resume, as more tourism sector reopen

The announcement to ease travel restrictions and reopen more tourism sector was made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Wednesday, 22nd September. A post on his verified Facebook account shared details about six decisions made at the Special Committee on Pandemic Management meeting.

A highlight that was mentioned that Malaysians can look forward to is interstate travel, which is set to resume once 90% of the adult population is fully vaccinated. He expects this to happen in two to three weeks, which will allow individuals to return to their hometowns.

As of 22nd September, 11:59PM, 81% of the adult population – or 18,986,347 adults – in Malaysia are now fully vaccinated, as reported by JKJAV. Meanwhile, 58.1% of the total population are fully vaccinated.

Interstate travel for the fully vaccinated - vaccination ratesImage credit: @JKJAVMY

Other key changes are transition of phases under the National Recovery Plan (NRP) for the states of Negeri Sembilan – which will move to Phase 4 – Pahang (Phase 3) and Johor (Phase 2), all effective Friday, 24th September.

Meanwhile, operating hours for essential businesses – eateries, grocery stores, mini markets, petrol stations and convenience stores – will be extended from 6AM to 12AM, regardless of NRP phases. The longer opening hours will begin Thursday, 23rd September.

Interstate travel for the fully vaccinated - new SOPs
Image credit: Ismail Sabri Yaakob

Following the announcement that more destinations are being added to the travel bubble list, several tourism sector and activities will be allowed to reopen and resume on 1st October too. The list includes zoos, farms, aquariums, forest parks (taman rimba), fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving, as well as spas, wellness centres and health massage parlours.

These activities and businesses will resume operations in all NRP phases, but only for the fully vaccinated. Operators will also be required to be fully vaccinated too.

On the subject of Malaysians and foreign travellers returning to the country, the latter will have to pay for their Covid-19 RT-PCR tests upon arrival. These tests will be free for Malaysians.

Ismail Sabri also mentioned that businesses can now allow 100% employee attendance at workplaces, on the condition that the employer and their employees have all been fully vaccinated.

Interstate travel and tourism activities to resume 

Many Malaysians have been separated from their families during the pandemic due to prolonging interstate travel bans. So news of free travel resuming once 90% of the adult population has been vaccinated is much welcomed. Likewise, more businesses that are now allowed to resume operations will come as relief for operators who have not been able to serve customers.

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Cover image adapted from: Unsplash / Nax Arakawa and Unsplash / Zachary Spears

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