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'Test and release' protocol for Malaysia's air VTL with Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand: Transport minister

'Test and release' protocol for Malaysia's air VTL with Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand: Transport minister

A passenger wearing personal protective equipment stands by his luggage at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang on Nov 29, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

KUALA LUMPUR: The arrival health protocols for Malaysia’s air vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) with Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand will be standardised, Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong wrote in a statement on Tuesday (Mar 15).

In light of Putrajaya’s decision to reopen borders on Apr 1 as the country begins its transition to the COVID-19 endemic phase, Dr Wee wrote that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the air VTLs with the three countries will be “made uniform”, utilising the “test and release” method.

Under this method, travellers will no longer need to wait for their COVID-19 test results within the terminal upon arrival, he explained.

“Travelers need only conduct a COVID-19 swab test upon arrival and will then be allowed to proceed to their respective accommodations as declared in MySejahtera Home Surveillance Order (HSO) via private transport, taxi, or hired vehicles,” he said. 

Travellers must then self-isolate while awaiting their COVID-19 test results, which will be ready within 24 hours.

In the event of a positive result, travellers are to comply with existing health protocols prescribed by Malaysia’s Ministry of Health. 

The statement added: “This uniformity of the SOPs serves to reduce ambiguity in the VTL By Air initiative for travellers entering Malaysia and facilitate enforcement in the air terminals.”

“It applies to all VTL arrivals at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Penang International Airport from Mar 16, 2022.” 

Malaysia transport minister Wee Ka Siong. (File photo: Bernama)

On Tuesday, Malaysia kicked off its air VTLs with Cambodia and Thailand. Fully vaccinated travellers will be allowed to enter Malaysia without being required to quarantine upon arrival.

An air VTL between Changi Airport and KLIA was launched on Nov 29 last year.

Presently, travellers from Singapore are required to take a swab test upon arrival at KLIA. They need to wait at designated areas in the terminal for their test result, which will be ready within three hours. Travellers are only allowed to proceed to immigration after receiving negative test results.

Another air VTL between Singapore and Penang will start on Wednesday. 

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Source: CNA/aw