Travellers from 26 nations temporarily barred from Langkawi

PETALING JAYA: Travellers from a number of countries are temporarily barred from taking part in the Langkawi international travel bubble programme following the detection of cases involving the Omicron variant (see graphic).

This comes as Singapore reported the discovery of two cases of the Omicron variant in the island republic.

The ban also applies to those with a history of having travelled to these countries in the last 14 days. These countries are under the First Schedule, which will be updated daily.

Travellers from countries in the Second Schedule, which are countries at high risk of the Omicron variant but have yet to report any cases, as well as those with a history of travelling within 14 days, are also not allowed to take part in the bubble.

The list of countries in the Second Schedule will be updated weekly.

In a statement, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said residents of Langkawi, involving both Malaysians and those with long-term visit passes from these countries and with a history of travel to these countries within 14 days, could only enter via Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

“They are also required to undergo 14 days’ quarantine at designated centres before being allowed on to Langkawi. Direct flights to Langkawi are not allowed,” he said.


He added that the ministry was also carrying out a risk analysis based on a set of criteria of countries before they were allowed to take part in the international travel bubble.

“Among the criteria are Covid-19 incidences and immunisation coverage,” he said.

Yesterday, there were 5,806 new Covid-19 cases reported, including 11 imported cases, while the infectivity level is at 0.95. Perlis has the highest infectivity level at 1.09.

Dr Noor Hisham said Malaysian authorities were monitoring the situation in Singapore.

He added that additional testing to detect the presence of the new variant would also be increased, on top of arrival and pre-departure testing.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and increasing additional testing as announced.

“For those who are high risk, we will do the genomic sequencing test,” he said.

The Straits Times reported that two imported Covid-19 cases have preliminarily tested positive for the Omicron variant in Singapore yesterday,

It said both cases were isolated upon arrival in Singapore on Wednesday, and had not interacted in the community.

“There is currently no evidence of any community transmission from these cases,” said the republic’s Health Ministry.

Both cases arrived from Johannesburg on board a Singapore Airlines flight, the paper said.

In Johor Baru, Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said Malaysia and Singapore would need between two weeks and one month to decide whether there was a need for a more appropriate standard operating procedure (SOP) for the land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL-Land) following the emergence of the Omicron variant.

He said the time frame was needed by the two sides to determine the effects and position of Omicron.

“But at the same time, the VTL-Land will continue,” he said after the launch of the JohorPay app and Johor Project Monitoring System yesterday.

Hasni also attended the audience granted by Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar to Singapore Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

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