PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has begun discussions with six “green” countries that it would like to open its borders to post-Covid-19.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the six countries were Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.
However, Dr Noor Hisham said any sort of agreement between Malaysia and those countries must be “mutual and reciprocal”.
“We need to discuss and finalise the SOP (standard operating procedure) between the countries. For example, do we need to quarantine the arrivals? Any SOP must be mutual and reciprocal. We are still in an early stage of discussion (with these countries), ” said Dr Noor Hisham.
“Both sides need to agree on the conditions. If we can do that, we can allow the business, education and tourism sectors to be opened up (between the countries), ” said Dr Noor Hisham at the ministry’s Covid-19 press conference here on Friday (June 19).
Dr Noor Hisham said that Malaysia’s borders have remained closed, although relaxations have been allowed for ambassadors and those under the Malaysia My Second Home programme.
“We allow them to come in, but they also follow our SOP, just like our Malaysian returnees. They must be screened and then quarantined, ” said Dr Noor Hisham.
On whether it is wise to open up to Singapore considering the high number of Covid-19 cases in the country, Dr Noor Hisham said most of the cases involved foreign workers.
“They are just like us, their numbers are high due to cases among their foreign workers. We won’t allow their foreign workers to enter our country, but we probably can allow Singaporeans who have
not travelled to other countries recently. This is the kind of discussion we must have with these countries, ” he said.