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Langkawi plans reopening amid high vaccination, Covid-19

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Langkawi is reopening September 16 despite Covid-19 in Malaysia. (Abdulrhman Alkhnaifer Unsplash)

Taking a cue from the Phuket Sandbox, Malaysia is launching a plan to reopen the tropical resort island of Langkawi in a similar fashion. The plan calls for a travel bubble to begin on September 16 in an effort to begin to restart the economy for Langkawi island which relies so heavily on tourism revenue and has been damaged so terribly by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, himself quarantining after being infected with Covid-19, announced today that the country that has recently been battered by massive Covid-19 outbreaks would reopen Langkawi in a travel bubble in 2 weeks with hopes that other destinations would follow when their population reach 80% vaccination levels.

If the Langkawi travel bubble is successful, the next state to reopen would be Melaka, popular with tourists from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. The third phase would see the reopening of Negeri Sembilan, just south of Kuala Lumpur, home of the popular KL weekend getaway destination of Port Dickson Beach.

The reopening plan, starting with Langkawi, is part of Malaysia’s new “learn to live with it” strategy for dealing with Covid-19, as envisioned by the National Security Council. The council itself will be renamed the Special Committee on Pandemic Management as Malaysia views Covid-19 as endemic and plans will treat the virus as a part of life.

Malaysia, like Thailand, has seen terrible surges in Covid-19 infections in recent months, with daily infections hitting a record 24,599 last month and still hovering around the 20,000 mark. But, unlike Thailand, Malaysia has had a fairly speedy and successful vaccination rollout, with 64% of the population fully vaccinated.

Over 80% of the people in Malaysia have received at least one vaccine. Officials expect that 80% of the population will be fully vaccinated by the end of September, and the country is looking to be fully vaccinated by the end of October, aiming for a 100% vaccination rate.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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