According to Khairy Jamaluddin, the government is considering creating a travel bubble for Langkawi by immunizing most residents against Covid-19 before welcoming vaccinated visitors.
During a panel discussion on Covid-19 vaccine rollouts and the recovery of the ASEAN economy, the vaccine minister stated that Malaysia may follow Thailand's lead and allow fully vaccinated visitors to visit its resort island of Phuket without quarantine starting in July.
“We’re thinking of doing that in Langkawi and of course, the requirements are not just people who are vaccinated coming into Langkawi, but the DG (director-general) of Health said that you must make sure that everyone in Langkawi as well is vaccinated,” Khairy said.
As part of the Phuket quarantine-free model tourism, International visitors must complete their Covid-19 vaccination and show evidence of the vaccination upon arrival at Phuket from 1 July, as well as of a negative Covid-19 test result before flying to Thailand.
Khairy also said he will discuss the potential travel bubbles with Singapore and Thailand without awaiting any regional regulations made by ASEAN itself in the discussion group organized by think tank CARI ASEAN Research and Advocacy and the ASEA Business Advisory Council.
“The reason why we have to move bilaterally is that I can’t wait for ASEAN. I have to discuss with Singapore, I have to discuss with Thailand. They are ready to discuss,” said the science, technology, and innovation minister.
“If we’re going to wait for a regional set of rules from ASEAN, I think we will have to wait until we cure cancer before we’re going to get ASEAN working on this.”
Khairy cited Doha and Qatar as having international travelers prove that they have some of the vaccines recognised by both countries inoculated together with a negative RT-PCR test in order to be able to skip quarantine on arrival.
“It’s not good enough to show that you have been fully vaccinated, but you have to do a quick test if you want to go to a conference. You have to do maybe a quick rapid test kit, an antigen test kit that can get results within a couple of hours, then you are free to attend the conference,” added the vaccine minister.
However, it was stated by the World Health Organisation that Covid-19 vaccination passports were not recommended as a requirement for the global travel and that it was uncertain whether or not vaccines would prevent the transmission of coronavirus and prevent inequity on access to the vaccine.
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