Travel responsibly to protect yourself and the safety of others around youPublished on 15 October 2021
Finally, the much-awaited moment is here! Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has announced that interstate travel is allowed starting 11 October for fully vaccinated individuals. Kudos to all Malaysians for reaching the target of 90% vaccination rate amongst adults. This achievement is the main reason why we are now allowed to cross state borders. It also marks the success of the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme.
But in the midst of our excitement to plan that long overdue ‘balik kampung’ trip or holiday getaway, it is too soon to fully celebrate and throw caution to the wind. Despite the relaxed restrictions and freedom to travel interstate and abroad, we must remember that we are still battling the pandemic.
In light of our new freedom to travel within Malaysia and overseas, here are some useful tips for you to adhere to before embarking on your trip, be it back to your hometown or out of the country.
Pick the perfect time to travel
Many have already begun to travel interstate to either return to their hometowns or embark on that well-deserved holiday. Avoid travelling on weekends or public holidays as traffic increases during these two occasions. Heavy traffic on major highways will also lead to congestions at the rest stops along the way. You wouldn’t want to be caught in a busy crowd, especially with the pandemic still looming over us.
Make sure you’re fully vaccinated
As announced by the government, interstate travel is only allowed for those who are fully vaccinated. Children below the age of 18 who are not vaccinated must travel with fully vaccinated parents.
To refresh your memory, individuals who have taken the Pfizer, AstraZeneca, or Sinovac vaccines, which require two doses, must allow 14 days to pass after the date of their second vaccination before they can travel.
Those who have taken the Johnson & Johnson or CanSino vaccines, which require one dose, can travel 28 days after the date of their vaccination. This is mandatory, and all travellers are required to show their COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate when requested by authorities.
Get tested before travelling
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin recently announced that travellers bound for Langkawi are no longer required to do a pre-departure COVID-19 screening at the airport. However, we are still advised to be responsible and perform a COVID-19 test of our own accord before heading out to Langkawi and the rest of the country.
“Much will now depend on personal responsibility and behaviour. I believe we can rise to the challenge in #ReopeningSafely,” he said in a tweet.
International travel rules
As mentioned earlier, Malaysians who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can travel overseas not only for business but also for leisure. The government and the Special Committee on COVID-19 Pandemic Management have decided to abolish the MyTravelPass too. Apart from completing full doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Malaysians who plan to travel abroad will need to adhere to several conditions.
Before departing the country, passengers are required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken no earlier than three days before departure. Travellers are also advised to check the specific requirements of their arriving destination.
Travellers from other countries must also present a negative test result within three days of departure. They will need to undergo quarantine at designated centres for a period that is determined by the Malaysian government and undergo a second COVID-19 sample screening on the 10th day of quarantine. The good news is that self-quarantine at home is allowed upon return.
Avoid tourist hotspots
Most tourist attractions and activities are now allowed to operate. These include nature parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, galleries, theme parks, and a variety of activities such as watersports, jungle trekking, hiking, camping, island-hopping, and more.
As we all know, local attractions garner many visitors during peak seasons which include public holidays and weekends. If you’re planning to travel during these times, try avoiding places that attract big crowds or find the least busiest hour to go and visit them.
Adhere to existing SOPs
It’s been almost two years since the pandemic began. We should already have the standard operating procedures (SOP) memorised like the back of our hands. We are still fighting an ongoing pandemic that can only be conquered if everyone works together and consistently follows set guidelines. Always remember to mask up, constantly practise social distancing and keep our hands clean at all times.
Safe travels to our fellow Malaysians! Don’t forget to follow these tips to keep yourself, your loved ones and those around you safe.