KUALA LUMPUR: People fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can travel freely to almost everywhere in the country from tomorrow.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the lifting of the ban on interstate travel today in a special media conference aired live on television and via social media platforms.
The lifting of the prohibition does not apply to visits to localities placed under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) while Sabah said it is studying the federal government decision and will submit proposals to the state cabinet on Wednesday.
Ismail Sabri said the government agreed to lift the interstate travel ban after the Covid-19 vaccination rate of the adult population in Malaysia hit 90 per cent.
“With this decision, Keluarga Malaysia (the Malaysian Family) can travel freely to visit their hometowns, go on holidays and so on,” he said, adding that there is no necessity for the people to obtain police permits to travel.
The prime minister also said: “I would like to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to Keluarga Malaysia for their cooperation in complying with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and for supporting the Covid-19 immunisation campaign.”
The interstate travel ban was enforced on May 10 following the movement control order announced by then Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin after a drastic spike in Covid-19 cases in the country and as part of efforts to contain a third wave of the pandemic.
The nationwide MCO was first enforced from March 18, 2020 until May 3, 2020.
MCO 2.0 was then implemented in six states, namely Penang, Selangor, the Federal Territories (Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan), Melaka, Johor and Sabah from Jan 13-26 before it was extended for Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang until March 4.
Ismail Sabri also reminded Keluarga Malaysia not to be complacent with the flexibilities given as the concessions were important to facilitate the reopening of Malaysia’s economy as well as safely prepare for life in the endemic phase.
He said Covid-19 cases could spike again if the matter is taken lightly, while also describing the public as frontliners who must protect their families and the community from the deadly virus.
“If there is a need to return home to meet your parents or to travel interstate, Keluarga Malaysia is advised to undertake Covid-19 self-tests before your journey. Those with symptoms such as fever, cough, flu and breathing difficulties, I advise you to postpone your trip.
“If you test positive, quarantine yourself or contact the nearest Covid-19 Assessment Centre (CAC) for immediate treatment,” he said.
He also said that anti-crime roadblocks and inspections conducted under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) will continue.
Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said unvaccinated teenagers and children aged 12 and under could still travel interstate with their parents or guardians, but added that it was the responsibility of parents and guardians to protect them from Covid-19 infection with the SOPs set.
The prime minister also said that the decision to allow interstate travel will not be rescinded even if there was a spike in Covid-19 cases.
“The reopening (of state borders) will continue even if there is an increase in Covid-19 cases. We will only close premises that report cases of infection, for example in Langkawi, we only closed that one hotel,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri urged Malaysians who are yet to be vaccinated to do so immediately as they would then be able to enjoy privileges such as interstate travel, holidays in and out of the country, dine-in and so on.
“Vaccines reduce the risk of infection, prevent serious symptoms and reduce the risk of Covid-19 related fatalities and also the burden on the healthcare system,” he said.
He said Health Ministry data showed that vaccination had successfully reduced the Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) admission rate by 83 per cent and fatality rate by 88 per cent. – Bernama