Malaysia to ease COVID curbs for fully vaccinated in eight states

People wait in line at coronavirus testing centre in Seri Kembangan
People wait in line to be tested for the coronavirus, amid the spread of COVID-19, in Seri Kembangan, Malaysia, July 12, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Malaysia will relax some COVID-19 restrictions for fully vaccinated people in eight states that have met criteria such as reduced case numbers and higher vaccination rates, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Sunday.

The measures, which will allow dining in at restaurants, outdoor individual sports and interstate tourism, will take effect on Tuesday, Muhyiddin said in a televised address.

"I understand, many are tired of the pandemic or are dealing with pandemic fatigue," he said.

Malaysia has been under lockdown since June 1, and while daily infections continue to hit record highs, several states last month began showing progress against the pandemic and started partially lifting curbs. read more

The measures announced on Sunday will not affect the capital Kuala Lumpur and surrounding areas, where infection rates remain the highest in the nation.

The government will also allow fully vaccinated citizens and foreign residents to quarantine at home upon returning from abroad, regardless of their state of residence.

Muhyiddin said the government was also considering easing restrictions in various sectors of the economy and he would make an announcement soon.

An individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after the second dose of vaccine, or after 28 days for single-dose vaccines.

Health authorities on Sunday reported 18,688 new infections, and a record death tally of 360.

Vaccination rates have increased quickly since mid-July, however, and 66.4% of the adult population has received at least one dose of vaccine.

Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Edmund Klamann

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