Vaccine passports possible only after more people inoculated

KOTA SAMARAHAN: The issuance of vaccine passports for travel is only possible after more people are vaccinated, says Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

“For a vaccine passport to be implemented, it requires cooperation between all participating countries.

“Once we are able to reach a high number of people being vaccinated, then we can implement this method to travel to other countries,” the Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister told the media after gracing the Kongsi Rezeki Community Pantry Programme at Emart Summer Mall here on Monday (July 5).

He also noted that the matter pertaining to immigration is under the purview of the federal government, including conducting negotiations between countries on vaccine passports.

“Negotiations on what can or can’t be done must be carried out only by the federal government.

“Sarawak is only a state and we have a say in our internal immigration, but for national negotiations, it must be arranged by Putrajaya.”

On another note, Abdul Karim said despite Sarawak being on the right track to achieving the target of vaccinating 80 per cent of the population by August, the state’s borders would not be opened for entry anytime soon.

“As the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister, I would very much like to see our borders open for more tourism activities.

“However, with the current situation and the emergence of various new Covid-19 variants, it may not be the right time to allow entry into the state.”

He added that in order for entry requirements to be loosened, more people, especially in Malaya, needed to be inoculated.

“In Sarawak, the number of people who have received the vaccine is quite high but the same cannot be said for other states in the Peninsular.

“If the number of people vaccinated there is still low, I don’t think our borders can be opened yet.”