KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia will reopen its borders on April 1 after two years and lift remaining coronavirus restrictions on businesses as it moves to restore normal life, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced Tuesday. Ismail said the decision was a result of the country's high vaccination rate, low hospital bed usage by COVID-19 patients and small percentage of serious cases.
The move "allows us all to return back to an almost normal life after almost two years at war with COVID-19," he said in a national broadcast. "Most importantly, Malaysia is now an open destination."
Malaysia shut its borders in March 2020. Since then, 99% of adult Malaysians have received two doses of vaccine, and 64% have also received a booster shot. Vaccinations for teenagers have also reached a high level and the government recently started shots for children between age 5 and 11.
New daily cases have risen sharply to above 25,000 in recent weeks due to the omicron strain but less than 1% have been categorized as serious.
Ismail said the use of face masks is still compulsory in public places and foreigners must download and use a government cellphone app.
From April 1, fully vaccinated travelers will not need to undergo quarantine after entering Malaysia but must be tested two days before traveling and within 24 hours of their arrival. All remaining restrictions on opening hours and capacities for businesses, places of worship and events involving large crowds will also be lifted, Ismail added.
Australia, Singapore and Thailand have also recently eased entry restrictions.