Malaysia will temporarily deny entry to travelers from eight African countries amid fears of Omicron spread.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the restriction is effective immediately and applies to travelers from South Africa, where the new COVID-19 variant was first detected, as well as Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. No cases of Omicron have been reported in Malaysia so far.
“This variant can spread much faster than previous variants. It has already demonstrated a high probability that it is more transmissible,” the 45-year-old Rembau MP said at today’s COVID-19 media briefing. He did not mention how long the restriction would last.
The travel ban does not apply to Malaysians, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders, although they would have to undergo 14 days of quarantine upon arrival in Malaysia.
In a Twitter statement, he also advised the elderly and immunocompromised to postpone overseas travel plans and avoid crowds until further notice.