KUCHING: Sarawak will maintain its additional requirements for travellers entering the state from within Malaysia despite doing away with the need for police permits.
The state disaster management committee said the entry requirements were necessary to protect Sarawakians and reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Since Monday (Oct 11), fully vaccinated individuals can travel to Sarawak without a police permit in line with the Federal Government's decision to allow interstate travel.
However, they must still apply for entry via EnterSarawak online with proof of their vaccination status.
They also need to submit negative Covid-19 test results from a health clinic or laboratory within three days of departure.
"We understand that people are keen to return and meet their families and are hoping for full relaxation of the requirements without the need to apply for entry.
"However, there are reasons why Sarawak still requires Covid-19 screening prior to entry," the committee said in a statement on Wednesday (Oct 13).
It said Sarawak registered 106 imported cases from other states in August and 83 in September.
The cases were detected while the individuals were in quarantine after arrival.
"Many other cases were found to be positive before applying to enter Sarawak. The screening requirement helps to reduce the risk of infection in planes and protect passengers," the committee said.
It also said Covid-19 cases in Sarawak were still high, including those in Categories Three to Five.
"As such, the state Health Department hopes that health facilities, especially intensive care units, will not be further burdened with more cases and clusters from imported cases," it said.
The committee said it would continue to improve the application process, including the verification of vaccination status.
"We urge Sarawakians who wish to return to be patient with these requirements in order to protect your families and friends as well as fellow flight passengers," it said.
State Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah was among those who had called for the entry requirements to be scrapped.
He said such requirements were a hindrance to tourism and should no longer be imposed.