KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 4): The government plans to tighten border control for foreigners entering Malaysia, to curb imported Covid-19 cases from countries with higher infection rates, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Anwar said Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa will make further announcements regarding the details of additional measures.
“The Cabinet has decided without hesitation that the public’s health will be our utmost priority. Issues of tourism and economy can never prevail over the importance of preventing and protecting the public from any epidemic, including Covid-19,” said Anwar at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting in Putrajaya on Wednesday (Jan 4).
“Existing controls by immigration on entry of foreigners will be tightened further, and it is not targeting any specific nation. All nationalities, especially from countries with higher infection, be it the US or China, we will monitor,” he added.
As of now, Anwar said the government does not see any spike in Covid-19 caseloads that can be related to any specific country.
Anwar said Malaysia recorded 336,000 foreigners’ entries from China, of which 53,000 were recorded in December alone.
Most of them are tourists, but their arrival did not cause any surge in cases, he added.
“But this doesn’t mean that we should loosen our control towards entry of any specific foreigners, including [those from] China. We should monitor and prioritise our own interests,” he said.
Anwar also urged the general public to take Covid-19 booster shots as the take-up rate so far has only reached 49%, and the government has about six million doses in its inventory.