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PHNOM PENH, Feb 24 -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob assured Malaysians in Cambodia that the country will soon open its borders that would ease the process of travelling, especially for those residing overseas.
He said the Omicron variant has delayed the country’s plan to move into the endemic stage, eventually delaying the process of opening the borders as well.
“We almost announced that Malaysia has entered the endemic stage but in December 2021 the Omicron variant, which is a super spreader was detected. However, Omicron is not as bad as Delta. It spreads quickly but is not as dangerous as Delta,” he said at the dinner with Keluarga Malaysia in Cambodia on Wednesday night.
Ismail Sabri said Malaysians will eventually need to learn to live with COVID-19.
“We have to accept it as any other disease such as dengue,” he said.
In recent days, Malaysia’s COVID-19 cases had hit about 27,000 daily, however a majority of the cases are of Category 1 and 2, thanks to the high vaccination rate in the country.
“I know a lot of you are eager to come back home. I understand some of you have not gone back home for almost two years.
”So we will start opening our borders to the whole world soon and you can return to Malaysia.”
There are about 5,000 Malaysians living in Cambodia, and 2,000 of them are in the capital Phnom Penh.
Ismail Sabri said the opening of the country's borders is important because many have been affected by the closure since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, especially those in the tourism sector.
"As such, we will reopen it. Restrictions on people's movement have a huge impact on everyone,” he added.
Earlier, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said early in the second quarter of this year would be a realistic timeline for the reopening of Malaysia’s borders.
Also present at the dinner were Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah, Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Federal Territories Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias, Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (RISDA) chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Salim Mohd Sharif, Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim and Senior Minister of the Prime Minister's Department representing the Cambodian government, Datuk Othsman Hassan.
Othsman is also in charge of Islamic Affairs in Cambodia.
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