Malaysia scraps Covid tests for travellers, outdoor mask mandate

Malaysia scraps Covid tests for travellers, outdoor mask mandate

Visitors wait for travellers to arrive at the international arrival hall at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia, on April 1, 2022. (Photo: Bloomberg)
Visitors wait for travellers to arrive at the international arrival hall at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia, on April 1, 2022. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Malaysia has relaxed restrictions, including mask mandates and testing at airports, as the Southeast Asian nation adjusts to living with Covid-19.

The country is scrapping mandatory virus tests on all incoming vaccinated travellers beginning May 1, an exemption it had initially bestowed to Singapore alone. Wearing masks outdoors will also be optional and physical distancing is no longer required, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in a televised briefing Wednesday.

The announcement marks another significant milestone for Malaysia since it reopened its borders this month and waived quarantine requirements for vaccinated visitors. The easing is in line with the nation’s transition to the endemic phase of the outbreak, as high vaccination rates have kept hospital admissions low.

Malaysia’s decision comes a day after Singapore ended most of its virus curbs, and just as the country is about to celebrate one of the biggest Muslim festivals of the year. Malaysia last Thursday dropped mandatory quarantine for Covid-19 close contacts, and earlier this month began allowing the unvaccinated to travel across states.

Cases continue to fall even as Malaysia gradually rolls back two years’ worth of virus restrictions. Daily infections have hovered below 5,000 in the past two weeks, levels not seen since January. The number of active cases has been on a downward trend since mid-March, with just 2.5% of them hospitalised as of Tuesday, according to official data.



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