Malaysia, Singapore to open land, air travel bubbles on Monday

© Kyodo News

Malaysia and Singapore announced Wednesday that fully vaccinated travelers can cross between the two countries by land without having to quarantine, starting from Monday.

They had earlier announced that nonquarantine air travel between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur for fully vaccinated travelers would also start Monday.

Under the overland "vaccinated travel lane" scheme, bus travelers crossing the 1.05-kilometer Causeway Malaysia and Singapore must test negative for the novel coronavirus two days before departure.

The Malaysian side requires additional testing on arrival at the bus terminal in Johor Bahru.

The Causeway is initially limited to bus transportation, with other modes of transportation to be included later in stages.

"Malaysia and Singapore have achieved more than 95 percent rate of vaccinated adult population. This has offered the opportunities for both countries to reopen the land border in a gradual, safe, systematic and sustainable manner," the Malaysia's Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

In a separate statement, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted cross-border activities, the Causeway was one of the busiest land borders in the world.

He called the vaccinated travel lane scheme "a big step towards reconnecting our people and economies."

The scheme is currently only available to citizens of both countries, permanent residents and long-term pass holders, with daily quotas.

Before the pandemic, more than 300,000 Malaysians traveled across the Causeway every day to work in Singapore. Many became stuck on the island when the pandemic caused the border shutdown.