Interstate Travel May Be Allowed Mid-Year Or Q3: Khairy

Khairy Jamaluddin says Malaysia’s interstate travel ban may be lifted after a higher percentage of the population is vaccinated against Covid-19; less than 2% of the population are now fully vaccinated.

PUTRAJAYA, April 28 — The government will only consider lifting an interstate travel ban once more people are vaccinated against Covid-19, Khairy Jamaluddin said today.

The vaccine minister, during a joint press conference by the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) here today, said that this may only occur by the middle of the year or by the third quarter.

“Today, the (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) announced that a person who has received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in America, when they go out, outdoors, and if the place is not crowded, they are allowed to remove their mask,” Khairy said.

“That is in a situation where America has vaccinated 40 per cent of their population. We will consider [allowing interstate travel] once a higher percentage of people are vaccinated,” the science, technology, and innovation minister added. 

The US’ CDC, in new guidelines issued yesterday, said people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 do not have to wear a face mask outdoors, except at crowded outdoor events like concerts, parades, or sporting events. The guidance came after 43 per cent of the US population received one dose of two-shot vaccines.

The CDC also said that those who are fully vaccinated do not have to practise physical distancing or wear face masks when gathering indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household, unless any of them have a higher risk of developing severe Covid-19.

Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, during the press conference, also said that the government has yet to make a decision if those who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are allowed to travel interstate.

“We’re still proposing an interstate travel ban for everyone until May 17,” he said. 

Currently, only 524,843 people in Malaysia have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, which translates to only 1.7 per cent of the population.

The National Security Council (NSC) has yet to issue Hari Raya guidelines, two weeks before Eid celebrations. Interstate travel was prohibited during Hari Raya last year, when Malaysia was reporting below 100 daily Covid-19 cases. The country now averages 2,655 daily coronavirus infections.

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