At the time of writing, Malaysia has 78,017 active coronavirus cases, with 846 people receiving intensive care in hospital. The total cumulative cases since the start of the pandemic is currently at 549,514. Malaysia reported 8,290 new cases on May 28, its fourth straight day of record infections. The recent surge is believed to be an after effect of the Eid al-Fitr period, when many residents and migrant workers gathered together or travelled home for the holidays.
In response to the recent rise in cases of Covid-19, Malaysia entered a period of nationwide lockdown on 1st June. Known locally as the Movement Control Order (MCO), the restrictions prevent most businesses from operating and curb most public gatherings and all non-essential interstate travel. Only essential services, such as supermarkets and medical clinics, are allowed to remain open for the time being.
The move was confirmed by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin last Friday (28/5). According to the PM, “only the essential economic and service sectors will be allowed to operate.” The latest MCO, which is Malaysia’s fourth since the onset of the pandemic and is expected to last for two weeks, should be lifted on 14th June.
The PM also outlined an exit strategy from the MCO, provided it succeeds in reducing the number of new Covid-19 cases; a second phase will follow this initial MCO, in which more sectors will be allowed to reopen. This transition will last for another four weeks. Restrictions will then be further relaxed under a third phase, similar to the previous movement control rules, under which most economic activities can operate, subject to standard operating procedures (SOP) and health protocols.
“The decision to shift from one phase to the next will be subject to a risk assessment by the Health Ministry,” said Mr Muhyiddin. “This will be based on the development of daily cases and hospital capacity nationwide,” he added.
Members of the tourism and hospitality sector have welcomed the move by the Malaysian authorities to impose a full MCO, which is seen by many as a chance to nip the pandemic in the bud and lay the groundwork for a swift tourism revival after restrictions have been lifted. Previous MCOs have been shown to minimise economic disruption, while also reducing the spread of Covid-19, thereby balancing the well-being of both lives and livelihoods. The government has announced a budget of US$1 billion to cushion the economic impact of the latest lockdown on local businesses.
The Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association (MITA) and the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA), along with various other key partners, such as the Malaysian Hotel Association and the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers, are working alongside the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to finalise a roadmap for tourism’s revival post-lockdown.
In a bid to protect the nation against further spikes, Malaysia has been expanding its mass vaccination programme, which until now has been slow to make progress. To date, only 6% of the population has been inoculated. The Health and Sciences Covid-19 Advisory Group of Experts has called on the government to accelerate the roll-out.
The third phase of vaccinations, from May 2021 to February 2022, includes all adults aged 18 years and above. Malaysian Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has confirmed the country now has enough Covid-19 vaccines to vaccinate 80% cent of the population (26.5 million people) by October.
Panorama Destination Malaysia News:
We are using the hiatus offered to us by the global pandemic to prepare a range of new products, tours and services with a clear emphasis on safe and sustainable travel. Our new products will provide clients with clean, green travel to some of Malaysia’s most beautiful natural locations and traditional cultural highlights. Connecting green zones together, these tours will turn travel bubble discoveries into something truly memorable.
To ensure the safety of clients when they return, Panorama Destination has introduced a dedicated set of health and safety protocols, based on a company-wide Covid-19 policy. We have also achieved safety certification from internationally recognised organizations, and are a member of the World Travel & Tourism Council ‘Safe Travels’ campaign.
Last year, Panorama Destination Malaysia achieved Travelife Partner status. This internationally recognised certification enables us to provide products and services that are more deeply rooted in sustainability; providing travel experiences that positively impact the environment and communities where we operate.
Panorama Destination works alongside Government and other DMCs in Malaysia, to ensure safe and standardised services for returning visitors. We continue to provide the latest breaking news regarding Covid-19 and its impact on tourism via our social media channels: