Malaysia Eases Restrictions for Fully Vaccinated

Millions of residents in eight states around the country will be able to dine out, take part in non-contact sports, and travel locally.

The gates to Cheah Kongsi, a 19th-century clan house in Penang. (Photo: Chun Ghee Low/Unsplash)

This week, Malaysia is loosening restrictions for the fully vaccinated in regions where infection rates have fallen and inoculation rates have reached certain levels. Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced yesterday that coronavirus curbs would be eased in about half of the country’s major administrative divisions starting on Tuesday (August 10).

“More people are receiving complete vaccinations … the burden on the public health system will reduce,” he said in a televised speech. The updated rules are due to take effect in the states of Kelantan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, and the federal territory of Labuan.

In these areas, inter-district travel will be allowed once more, with hotels and homestays back in operation to cater to in-state tourists; dine-in services can resume at restaurants with seating capacity limited to 50 percent per table. Non-contact outdoor sports and recreation will be allowed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., with jogging, cycling, tai-chi, golf, and hiking all permissible, as well as singles tennis and badminton games.

A three-month ban on interstate travel will be lifted for fully vaccinated long-distance married couples and parents visiting children under the age of 18, but travelers will have to present their digital Covid-19 vaccination certificates to pass through temporary roadblocks at state borders. Notably, the loosening of social distancing rules does not apply in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding state of Selangor, which have both recorded thousands of new coronavirus cases per day over the past week.

The Malaysian premier also said places of worship in all states would reopen for those who have already received all necessary doses of a coronavirus jab. Fully vaccinated arrivals entering the country, including Malaysians returning from abroad, will be eligible for home quarantine instead of isolating at a government-designated facility.

Malaysia has ramped up its immunization program in recent weeks, and 8.25 million people, or about a quarter of the total population, have now been fully inoculated against the virus. Residents are defined as fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving a second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, or Sinovac, or 28 days in the case of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson or CanSino vaccines.

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