KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 – The government today announced that it will no longer be compulsory to wear face masks outdoors or to register their visits to public premises via MySejahtera check-ins from May 1.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also said that nightclubs, the only establishment left on the National Security Council’s (NSC) Negative List, will be reopened on May 15, after two years of closure during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He further announced the relaxation of other Covid-19 rules, including scrapping the need for physical distancing.
The government also dropped Covid-19 travel insurance and pre-departure and on-arrival testing requirements for arriving travellers who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 within six to 60 days before departing to Malaysia.
Covid testing is also exempted for travellers aged 12 and below, irrespective of their vaccination status.
Pre-departure testing, however, is still required for arriving travellers who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated two days before travelling by air into Malaysia. Upon arrival, travellers who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated must take a rapid antigen test (RTK-Ag) within 24 hours of arrival, supervised by a certified medical officer either physically or virtually.
Travellers who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated must also undergo quarantine for five days at their hotels or at home, and carry out an RT-PCR test on Day Four or a professional RTK-Ag on Day Five.
Travellers with symptoms identified at the country’s international gateways will be ordered to test for Covid-19 using a professional RTK-Ag test.
The testing requirements and exemptions apply to all traveller categories, including those travelling for umrah, hajj, and for foreign workers. Umrah and hajj travellers are required to get their Covid-19 vaccine booster dose before departing to Saudi Arabia, Khairy said.
Face Masks Still Required Indoors
The MOH announced a revision to the face mask mandate, with masking being optional but highly encouraged in outdoor settings. Individuals with Covid symptoms and are classified as high risk (elderly, immunocompromised, unvaccinated, and have multiple comorbidities), are, however, “encouraged” to wear face masks outdoors.
Masking is also encouraged outdoors in crowded areas such as Ramadan bazaars, night markets, and stadiums.
Face masks are still required indoors, including in shopping malls and public transportation (including e-hailing rides), though individuals can remove their masks when they eat, exercise, deliver a speech, perform, or if a person is on his/ her own in a single space.
Failure to comply with the masking requirement can result in penalties under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342).
MySJ Trace Should Be Activated For Contact Tracing
While MySejahtera check-ins will no longer be required to enter premises, Khairy urged the public to activate the MySJ Trace feature for contact tracing purposes.
Khairy cited World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who warned earlier that lack of Covid testing leaves researchers blind to evolution patterns.
“As many countries reduce testing, WHO is receiving less and less information about transmission and sequencing,” Tedros said. “This makes us increasingly blind to patterns of transmission and evolution. “When it comes to a deadly virus, ignorance is not bliss.”
Premise owners will only be required to check an individual’s risk status on MySejahtera before granting entry. Individuals with a “high risk” status on MySejahtera – identified as Covid positive or under home surveillance order (HSO) – should not be allowed entry.
Nightclubs To Reopen On May 15
Health protocols for the reopening of nightclubs, the only establishment on the Negative List, are still being devised and finalised by the NSC, Khairy said.
“We’ve had engagement sessions with the association of the premises involved and there are some protocols that we have already proposed and some that they have suggested to us, and we will bring this protocol to NSC to be finalised.
“That is why I said for the Negative List, the premises that are still under the Negative List, the ruling will only take effect on May 15, so there is a bit of time for us to finalise the protocol so that customers visiting the premises are safe when they go there,” Khairy said.
MOH’s General Guidelines For Hari Raya
Ahead of Hari Raya celebrations next week, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has provided a protocol to serve as a general guideline on public health measures, though the final SOPs will be decided by individual states as religious affairs fall under state matters.
This includes allowing congregational prayers to be held at 100 per cent capacity at mosques or surau, with face masks still being made mandatory, including in prayer.
Hari Raya events held indoors can be held with no limitations on capacity, though face masks are required. Outdoor events and festivities can be held without masks though face masks are recommended.
Hand shaking (or salam) is also permitted though individuals are advised to constantly wash or sanitise their hands and avoid touching their faces.