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17 Apr 2020 | 09:47 AM UTC

Malaysia: AirAsia to resume domestic flights from April 29 /update 14

AirAsia will resume domestic flights from April 29; international flights to resume pending official approval

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MYS

Event

AirAsia has announced that it will resume domestic flights from Wednesday, April 29, following a review of restrictions amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Services will initially resume on key routes, and the company has stated that it hopes to resume international flights pending approval from relevant authorities. AirAsia stated that it hopes flights to Thailand and the Philippines will resume on Friday, May 1, to India on Monday, May 4, and to Indonesia on Thursday, May 7. Further details regarding routes and schedules are to be announced in the coming weeks.

On Tuesday, March 18, Malaysian government officials announced the extension of ongoing movement and travel restrictions for an additional two weeks, through Tuesday, April 28, in continued efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. Introduced on Wednesday, April 1, the Movement Control Order (MCO) dictates that eateries, markets, and petrol stations are only allowed to operate from 08:00 to 20:00 (local time). Additional roadblocks have been set up, and checks on the movement of people have been increased. The restrictions do not affect public transport, including taxis and e-hailing services, which will operate from 06:00 to 22:00. The government has also recommended the public use delivery options to purchase meals and groceries but minimize their contact with delivery riders. Additionally, vehicles delivering or collecting essential goods are advised to operate between 19:00 and 07:00 to avoid backlogs.

On Sunday, April 5, local authorities suspended all international flights at Penang International Airport (PIA); however, domestic flights will continue to operate as usual from PIA. All inbound flights will now land at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) and passengers will be quarantined upon arrival. To date, there are no restrictions in place for foreign nationals that wish to leave Malaysia or for travelers intending to transit/transfer within terminals at KUL.

Foreign nationals will not be able to enter Malaysia until at least April 28, except for those with diplomatic passports, permanent residence status, or who are an "expatriate in an essential service." Individuals with working visas or "Malaysia My Second Home" visas do not qualify for an exemption and will be denied entry. Additionally, those who are permitted entry into the country will face mandatory quarantine for 14 days in centers designated by the government.

As of April 17, there have been 5182 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide and 84 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands. 
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.