Reopening borders : Sabah awaits more detailed SOP

KOTA KINABALU, March 8 — The Sabah COVID-19 Disaster Management Committee will be waiting for the announcement of more detailed standard operating procedures (SOP) before making any proposals on opening the country’s borders by the federal government.

State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said after the detailed SOPs on border opening have been announced, the committee would commence discussions with the relevant parties according to the needs of Sabah.

“There may be a need to improve the SOP for Sabah as the state receives many visitors by boat from the two neighbouring countries namely the Philippines and Indonesia.

“Whatever it is Sabah wants to ensure every international visitor to the state is fully vaccinated with the booster dose,” said Masidi who is also Sabah COVID-19 spokesman when contacted by Bernama tonight.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today announced that the country’s borders would be reopened on April 1 in line with the plan to enter the ‘Transition to Endemic’ phase.

Meanwhile, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin said the ministry fully supports the reopening of borders even though the border reopening move should be in compliance with more stringent SOP to contain the spread of COVID-19 Omicron variant.

He said the tight SOP should be explained to the tourism industry players to ensure they are ready before the nation’s border is open.

He added that the border opening is important as Sabah needs the international market to revive the tourism sector and his ministry is ready to hold engagement sessions with all parties as part of its preparations.

“Our objective now is that we want to open the borders so that the tourism industry continues to survive while ensuring the spread of COVID-19 is controlled,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency