COVID-19

Malaysia bars travelers from PH, 2 other countries due to rising coronavirus cases

Sofia Tomacruz
Malaysia bars travelers from PH, 2 other countries due to rising coronavirus cases

A general view shows the Petronas Twin Towers (C) and other commercial buildings, as seen from KL Tower, in Kuala Lumpur on July 24, 2020. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP)

Starting September 7, travelers with long-term passes coming from the Philippines, Indonesia, and India will not be allowed to enter the Southeast Asian country

Malaysia announced on Tuesday, September 1, that travelers with long-term passes coming from the Philippines will be barred from entering the Southeast Asian country. 

Malaysia Senior Defense Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob made the statement in a press conference, citing the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. 

The decision, which takes effect on September 7, covers long-term pass holders including those with permanent resident status, Malaysia My Second Home pass holders, as well as expatriates and professional visit pass holders. 

Foreign students and spousal visa holders are also covered by the ban. 

Malaysia’s latest travel restrictions were also imposed on Indonesia and India after both counties reported increasing infections.

Indonesia currently has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in the region after the Philippines. India, meanwhile, now has the world’s fastest-growing outbreak with over 75,000 cases reported daily. 

Ismail said travel restrictions were imposed to prevent importing COVID-19 cases into Malaysia. 

“We have asked the Health Ministry to make detailed planning on how Malaysia should face threats and challenges in view of the possibility of an increase in cases during winter…. We have started tightening border controls by not allowing people from the 3 countries to enter,” said Ismail in Malaysia’s The Star.

More countries?

Ismail did not rule out imposing the same travel restrictions on other countries if needed.

He said this was under constant monitoring by the Malaysian government. 

Malaysia had initially exempted the Philippines from travel restrictions. 

Why this matters

Malaysia’s travel ban is the latest in a long list of countries imposing restrictions on Philippine travelers. 

In August, Taiwan implemented additional travel restrictions on all travelers from the Philippines after several cases imported cases were found. 

Recent cases in New Zealand were also found among people with a travel history to the Philippines. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.