KOTA KINABALU: An international protocol should be considered by governments to help standardise health travel requirements between countries amid the unpredictable Covid-19 pandemic, says Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun(pic).
The minister in charge of Covid-19 matters in Sabah said that currently each country had their own health guidelines for entry to respective countries and everyone had to adhere to the set guideline of each country.
"An international health protocol will allow for people to travel more freely as long as they adhered to the standard international requirements set by the countries," he told reporters after the launching of Sabah's RM35mil aid for education through the Sabah Bantuan Aktiviti PIBG Sabah (BAGUS), Bantuan Ihsan Sekolah Sabah (BISBAH) and the 2022 Sabah Education Excellence Award (AKSA) here Wednesday (Jan 19).
He said that Asean and Asian countries should consider working towards standard health guidelines for travel as it would help everyone whether business, social and tourists to follow standard health requirements.
"We try to be creative as much as possible. The pandemic is unpredictable, so we have to provide options to deal when issues come up," said Masidi, who is also state Local Government and Housing Minister cum Finance Minister II.
He said that many tourism groups are asking for reopening of borders but even if Sabah decides to open its borders, it also has to look at other countries on whether they would reopen their borders.
"Yes, the number of tourists from China has depleted since the Covid-19 pandemic. Most countries have not re-opened their borders including China who has strict movement controls including between their own provinces.
"If we open our border, it does not mean that they will re-open their border. Globally many countries have not opened their borders," he said, adding that there must be patience on the part of all parties.
"We have to look at this matter from a global point of view as many other countries are not opening up their borders," said Masidi.
He urged local tourism players to tap into the huge potential of domestic tourism.
"Domestic tourists make up 2.7 million and if Sabah gets 30% of the 2.7 million, we may be looking at at least 800,000 people coming in. It can generate RM2bil annually for Sabah," he added.