Travel bubble, Entry, and COVID-19 update in Malaysia

Before the pandemic, travelling internationally was little to no trouble at all. We were free to go anywhere we wanted to. The same can’t be said about travelling today, unfortunately. Terms like intra-state have become the new travelling norm and we’re mostly confined to the destinations within our borders. However, as the world slowly recovers from the pandemic, we begin to hear new terms used in travel and tourism, such as “travel bubble”.

Here’s what you need to know about travel bubble and the latest updates on travelling into and within Malaysia.

Disclaimer: This article was updated on 23rd September 2021. It will continue to be updated with the latest information as and when available with updated travel guidelines and restrictions.

What is travel bubble?

In layman’s terms, travel bubble refers to a bilateral agreement between two or more countries to open their borders for travel. These are usually considered for countries that have been known to effectively contain the spread of the coronavirus.

What is Malaysia’s verdict on travel bubble?

The possibility of travel bubble arrangements with green zone countries is still being explored by The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia. Among the countries that are currently being considered are Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and Brunei.

Recently, the government proposed to turn Langkawi into the pilot project for the country’s domestic tourism travel bubble. According to Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, as of Sept 20, the island has received a total of 9,500 tourist arrivals since it was opened to public on Sept 16. Following the success of Langkawi, the reopening of Melaka, Genting Highlands and Tioman Island are to follow suit on Oct 1.

Malaysia-Singapore Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL)

As of May 13, the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) “travel bubble” scheme between Malaysia and Singapore is suspended until further notice. This is due to the reported new variants and the resurgence of coronavirus cases worldwide.

However, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said on Sept 7 that Johor is seeking efforts to reopen the border with Singapore. Details are yet to be announced.

Interstate travel within Malaysia

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Sept 22 that Interstate travel and tourism activities will resume once 90% of the adult population have been fully vaccinated. 

As of Sept 21, Malaysia had fully vaccinated 80% of its adult population.

Entrance into Sarawak

Fully vaccinated individuals is exempted from mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Sarawak from other parts of Malaysia. This was confirmed by the State Disaster Management Committee, and goes in effect on Sept 16. 

However, they still have to apply for entry to Sarawak via EnterSarawak HERE. The requirement is filling up eHealth Declaration Form (eHDF), proof of full vaccination, negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test (valid for 3 days only) and other relevant personal information.

Entry/Exit Malaysia

Minister of Health Khairy Jamaluddin announced on Sept 20 that fully-vaccinated foreigners and travellers coming or returning to Malaysia can apply for home quarantine prior to their visit to the country.

This can be accessed at Home Quarantine Application (HQA) Portal https://ecovid19.moh.gov.my/maintenance/. Application must be made within 7-10 days prior to arrival in Malaysia.

All applicants are required to submit documents like passport, vaccine certificate, flight ticket, hospital reference letter, approval to enter the country (for non-citizens) and other relevant documents. On top of that, travellers must declare a residential address to undergo quarantine, and the condition of the premises for Home Surveillance Order Committee (HSOC) to carry out risk assessment. 

The Malaysian Embassy has recently releases a flowchart on the process of entering Malaysia. 

For applications on entry or exit Malaysia, click HERE.

Malaysia to transition to endemic phase

The entire country remains under the National Recovery Plan (NPR), following the vaccination push in reaching herd immunity. Malaysia is expected to transition to endemic phase, beginning end of October.

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