Malaysia lifted its travel ban on eight South African countries that were among the first to identify the Omicron strain of the coronavirus, citing its global spread. The move follows Singapore, which recently lifted its travel ban on 10 African countries.
Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin told reporters yesterday that officials would rush booster vaccines as Omicron is spreading very fast, and a total of 306 out of 366 samples were taken from travellers who tested positive for the Covid-19 upon arrival last week were found to be suspected Omicron cases.
“We’re still waiting for whole-genome sequencing data to confirm.”
Despite the fact that Malaysia has only reported one verified instance of local transmission so far, the minister believes the travel ban on the African countries should be lifted. Yet, stricter measurements are expected for travellers from these countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi.
Since the first case of Omicron was reported earlier this month, Malaysia has cancelled mass gatherings, Christmas and New Year events, as well as set requirements for vaccination boosters among high-risk communities.
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