KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — International and interstate travel restrictions will only be lifted once a certain proportion of the population is vaccinated against Covid-19, Muhyiddin Yassin said today.
The prime minister said social and business activities where physical distancing is impossible will also be permitted only when the national Covid-19 vaccination programme achieves a certain level of coverage that he did not specify.
“Movement restrictions are still needed, including at international borders, crossing state boundaries, and social and business activities where physical distancing is impossible,” Muhyiddin told a broadcast address on the first anniversary of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
“These activities can only be reopened after the national immunisation programme reaches a certain target of population coverage.”
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah told the press last Friday that the interstate and inter-district travel ban may continue until at least 70 per cent of the population has been vaccinated against Covid-19, leading to public criticism from businesses and medical experts.
The government has previously set a one-year target of achieving mass vaccination by March next year, or the earliest by this December.
Dr Noor Hisham later appeared to retract his statement, saying last Saturday that the decision to permit inter-district and interstate movements depended on several factors — including daily reported Covid-19 infections and deaths — that would be a “joint decision made with the government”.
Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming, in a statement today, highlighted the impact of long-term interstate travel restrictions on the tourism industry, as well as associated food and business and services sectors.
Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said 15,923 people have received the first dose of their Covid-19 vaccine as at 6.30pm yesterday, four days after the launch of the inoculation drive. This equates to slightly fewer than 4,000 shots administered daily.
Khairy has previously set a goal of administering 75,000 jabs a day.