To revive its ailing tourism sector, Malaysia plans to reopen its borders to international travellers by January 1, a government advisory council said on Thursday.

It may be noted that the Southeast Asian country has gradually reopened its economy in recent weeks as the coronavirus infection rate slowed amid a rapid vaccination schedule.

Malaysian government More than three-quarters of Malaysia's 32 million population has now been vaccinated against the deadly COVID-19 virus.

The former prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, who chairs the council leading Malaysia's economic recovery programme, told reporters that the tourism industry was recovering very slowly without foreigners and added that operators need to restart businesses.

Muhyiddin, however, said that while infection control measures such as COVID-19 testing would remain in place, authorities would have to determine admissions based on the COVID-19 situation in countries of origin and other factors. He did not say when a specific date for the reopening would be announced, but said the decision was still being detailed by health and safety agencies.

Currently, Malaysian citizens working in Singapore and Singaporeans working in Malaysia can cross land borders under a bilateral arrangement.

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