COVID-19 Archive

  • Masks to be optional outdoors in Malaysia from May 1; still mandatory for public transport, e-hailing vehicles

    It’s official – health minister Khairy Jamaluddin has announced that face masks will be optional outdoors in Malaysia starting May 1, as part of sweeping relaxations of COVID-19 protocols.

    You’ll be allowed to unmask anywhere outside your house, office buildings and malls, including bus stops, parks and fields and open-air walkways and bridges. The protective face coverings are still encouraged, however – especially for high-risk individuals and the unvaccinated – in order to continue preventing the disease’s spread.

    The mask mandate remains in place for indoor settings, with exceptions made for certain situations, such as eating, exercising alone, performing onstage or giving speeches. You will also need to wear a mask on public transport (buses, trains and taxis) or when in a ride-hailing vehicle such as Grab. There will also no longer be any social distancing requirements, so businesses will be able to house as many people as they wish, although physical distancing is advised for maskless situations.

    It has also been confirmed that the requirement to check-in via the MySejahtera app before entering commercial premises will been dropped from May 1. With that, both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals will be allowed to enter, although those that have tested positive for COVID-19 or under enforced quarantine (Home Surveillance Order, or HSO) are obviously still prohibited. Business owners are required to check the risk status on the visitors’ MySejahtera app, as before.

     
     
  • Malaysians entering Thailand face RM1,000 entry fee

    Malaysian travellers planning to enter neighbouring Thailand are facing a more stringent of requirements in order to cross the border, reports the New Straits Times, and checks at the immigration, customs, quarantine and security (ICQS) complex in Bukit Kayu Hitam have found the checkpoint to be relatively quiet despite the reopening of land borders.

    This was attributed to stringent requirements introduced by the Thai authorities, where inbound travellers are reportedly required to pay an entry fee of at least RM1,000, the report wrote.

    According to local tourism player Ooi Jui Hu, the cost for four persons booking accommodation in Hatyai, Thailand amounted to RM5,000 for a seven-day stay, plus an additional US$20,000 (RM84,536) in insurance with a RM500 premium per person, he told the newspaper, adding that the compulsory RTK swab test priced at RM350 per person is to be paid for by the travellers themselves upon arrival at the hotel.

    To leave, one must first enter, and there seem not to be that many crossing into Thailand since the re-opening, according to the locals

    As of April 4, just 6,980 travellers have been recorded passing through the Bukit Kayu Hitam border checkpoint from Malaysia into Thailand, compared to 160,818 persons at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar, Johor Baru checkpoint towards Singapore, the immigration department said in a statement last week.

    There appears to be “no immediate impact” from the border reopening, as most travellers passing through the Bukit Kayu Hitam land border crossing seem not to be driving their own vehicles, cross-border insurance services provider Lee Ai Choo told the New Straits Times. “I think the number of travellers to Thailand will pick up once the Thai authorities ease the requirements imposed on inbound travellers,” she said.

    Similarly, Napoh eatery operator Adbul Rashid Mohd Salam has not seen any economic impact from the border reopening as most of his clientele are lorry drivers and local residents. “That is why we have decided to only operate between 4pm and late evening during this fasting month,” he told the news outlet.

     
     
  • Covid-19 still disrupting auto production, supply: MAA

    Two years in, the automotive industry is still being affected by Covid-19, with production and supply chains continuing to be impacted even though the worst has passed. Much of it has had to do with the semiconductor chip shortage, which began as a minor hiccup in late 2020 before becoming a widespread global issue last year.

    The matter is far from over, with indications being that shortages could stretch until 2023 as the ever-increasing demand for chips – especially away from the auto segment – continue to leave many automakers short.

    For the local automotive scene, the effects of the pandemic – of which the classification is set to end on April 1 as the country begins easing restrictions – are still being felt. According to Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) president Datuk Aishah Ahmad, things are still far from being normal where production and supply is concerned.

    “As far as the supply development [is concerned], there is still a shortage in microchips as well as local vendors [being affected] by Covid-19 infections, which is causing a disruption in the supply. It has affected many of our members. I won’t say we’re worse off (than other markets), but it’s still there,” she said during a question-and-answer session after the association’s annual general meeting today.

    She said the situation of vehicle production shortages – from a local viewpoint – could persist for a while. “How long? We really do not know. It could be up to the end of this year, but we are hoping that the supply chain will improve by then. It’s disrupting supplies everywhere, ever from overseas – [CKD] packs coming in have also been disrupted,” she said.

     
     
  • Malaysia-Thailand land border open Apr 1 for tourists

    The Malaysian government has announced that Thailand will open its land border with Malaysia beginning April 1, though the opening is for tourists only for the time being, the Malay Mail reported. For the moment, travel for daily commuters is still under discussion between the respective governments of Malaysia and Thailand, said health minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

    “The Thai government is only willing to accept leisure travellers. Discussions are still underway between Malaysia and Thailand [on the matter of] daily commuters and frequent travellers. As for travellers from Thailand, the general travel protocol that Malaysia currently has in place would apply,” the heath minister said.

    Only two land borders between the countries will be opened from April 1, and these are the Bukit Kayu Hitam-Sadao and the Wang Kelian-Wang Prachan borders.

    Malaysia-Singapore causeway

    Earlier, Thailand tourism and sports minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that Thailand is working closely with the relevant authorities to reopen all land border entry points with Malaysia by May 1, adding that his ministry will propose to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to reopen more entry points between the two countries, according to Malay Mail.

    Yesterday, the governments of Malaysia and Singapore said in a press statement that travel across the Malaysia-Singapore causeway will resume on the same date, April 1, and fully vaccinated individuals can travel across the causeway between Malaysia and Singapore without having to undergo quarantine or testing, including pre-departure and on-arrival tests.

     
     
  • CES 2022: BMW, Mercedes-Benz cancel attendance

    The coronavirus pandemic has reared its head once again, this time with the Omicron variant resulting in CES 2022 losing out on a growing number of exhibitors originally set to be physically present at the show. Among the exhibitors who have cancelled their live attendance are BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

    BMW was scheduled to showcase a new variant of the all-electric iX dubbed the M60, CNet reported, which would build further upon the 523 PS/765 Nm outputs of the xDrive50 variant; this new version would be an M Performance model with more than 600 PS.

    “For many years, the BMW Group has been presenting innovations at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Due to the pandemic situation, the BMW Group will move all planned media activities at CES to a fully digital programme livestreamed from Germany,” the automaker said in a statement.

    Mercedes-Benz has also pulled out of the physical event. “As the health and safety of our customers, partners, employees and guests are our highest priority, in view of the current situation in connection with the Covid-19 virus, we’ve decided to cancel Mercedes-Benz AG’s participation in CES 2022 after intensive consultations,” a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson wrote in an e-mail sighted by CNet.

    Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX

    “Due to the large group of participants and the different country-specific regulations, a solid, safe and harmless planning for all participants is unfortunately not feasible in the current situation. We deeply regret this decision but consider it necessary,” it added.

    Just ahead of the opening of CES 2022, Mercedes-Benz is scheduled to premiere the Vision EQXX on January 3, a fully-electric concept that will boast of a battery range in excess of 1,000 km.

    Despite the growing list of attendance cancellations that includes T-Mobile, Microsoft, Google, Meta and Intel, CE organiser the Consumer Technology Association said that 60 new exhibitors have been added to the in-person attendance list, against 42 exhibitor cancellations, or less than 7% of its exhibit floor, the organiser said.

    “CES will and must go on. It will have many more small companies [compared to] large ones, and may have big gaps on the show floor. It may be messy, but innovation is messy, risky and comfortable,” said CTA president Gary Shapiro in a LinkedIn post. The 2022 edition of the CES show is scheduled to run from January 5-8, 2022 in Las Vegas.

     
     
  • 80% discount on saman from Dec 9-12 – payment can be made online and at all police HQs across Malaysia

    Earlier this week, in conjunction with the “100 Aspiration Days of the Malaysia Family” celebrations, the police announced a limited time discount on unpaid summons for compoundable traffic offences, offering 80% off for these over a four-day period from December 9-12.

    Originally, the police said that the offer would only be valid for payments made at the payment counter in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) during the period.

    Now, the traffic investigation and enforcement department (JSPT) has announced that motorists will be able to settle their outstanding summons at other locations, not just at KLCC, in light of potential overcrowding at the venue and to adhere to Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).

    The department said that payment for compoundable fines can be made at all contingent and district police HQs across the country as well as through its MyBayar Saman online portal, and that the 80% discount would be valid at all payment locations and across all platforms during the four-day offer period.

    The police reminded the public to adhere to Covid-19 SOPs when making their summons payment at physical locations, including wearing a face mask at all times and practising physical distancing.

     
     
  • Shell Malaysia awarded best in convenience retailing

    Shell Malaysia has received the award for best convenience retailing store under the petrol station category from the ministry of domestic trade and consumer affairs (KPDNHEP), presented by prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at the Domestic Trade Awards 2020.

    The award received by Shell Malaysia was one of 25 award categories, and were presented to various industries including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), fair price stores, franchise, direct selling, retail, e-commerce, media and petrol stations.

    The Best Convenience Retailing Store award aims to identify and acknowledge companies with retail outlets which went beyond the provision of consumer items, by developing initiatives to support small local enterprises and by providing help to communities in need, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, said Shell Malaysia.

    To that end, one of the initiatives held by Shell Malaysia was the Realisasi Impianmu Bersama Shell campaign, which aided SMEs by giving them opportunities to expand their businesses through Shell Malaysia’s supply chain, and to supply their products through Shell Select outlets during the month of Ramadan.

    In addition, community food boxes were set up with non-governmental organisation Volunteers Unite to facilitate the donation of halal essential dry food items for those in need.

    “Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to support our customers, local businesses and the communities where we live and operate. We are humbled to be able to contribute essential items and assistance to our frontliners and the more vulnerable in our community. We are also continuing to innovate our product offerings to meet the changing needs of our customers,” said Shell Malaysia chairman Ivan Tan.

     
     
  • JPJ says 3.8 million vehicles yet to renew road tax – advises motorists to do so before Dec 31 deadline

    The grace period for renewing expired road tax and driving licenses ends on December 31, but the road transport department (JPJ) says that a total of 3.78 million vehicles throughout the country are still running on expired road tax as of mid-November, Bernama reports.

    With only a month to go before the end of the leeway, JPJ deputy director-general (planning and operations) Aedy Fadly Ramli reminded vehicle owners that they should renew their road tax as soon as possible. “For now, they still have a chance to renew their road tax, but after December 31 there will be no more warning or extension of the grace period,” he said.

    He said that road tax renewal can be carried out at any JPJ branch or done online, and advised motorists not to wait until the last minute to renew their road tax, as this could cause congestion at JPJ counters.

    The leeway for the renewal of road tax and driving licences was announced on June 1. In line with the closure of land transport agencies at the start of the full movement control order (FMCO), the transport ministry had announced that those with their driving license, road tax or vocational license (PSV/GDL) expiring between June 1 to July 31 this year had been given an extension until September 30 to renew the documents.

    In September, transport minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong announced that the deadline had been extended until the end of the year.

     
     
  • 2022 Range Rover’s Cabin Air Purification Pro system provides significant protection from Covid-19 virus

    Land Rover recently unveiled the fifth-generation Range Rover, which features a significant redesign and a whole host of new technologies. The latter includes Cabin Air Purification Pro, which the carmaker says is capable of significantly reducing odours, bacteria and allergens including the SARS-CoV-2 virus (commonly known as Covid-19).

    The air purification system in the Range Rover uses Panasonic’s nanoe X technology that has been certified by Texcell to have an inhibitory effect on the novel coronavirus – 91.4% in the space of 6.7 cubic metres within eight hours.

    Texcell’s methodology involved exposing a gauze saturated with a SARS-CoV-2 virus solution to an air conditioner with nanoe X from a distance of 0.7 metres in a 6.7 cubic metre room for 24 hours. Within four hours, the inhibition rate was 42.4%, rising to 91.4% within eight hours and to 99.7% in 24 hours.

    The nanoe X technology is claimed to be ten times more effective than its predecessor – nanoe – and uses a high voltage to create trillions of hydroxyl (OH) radicals enveloped in nano-sized water molecules. These OH radicals denature the virus and bacteria proteins, helping inhibit their growth.

    In addition to allergen reduction and pathogen removal, the latest Range Rover also comes with two CO2 management as well as PM2.5 cabin air filtration systems to enhance air quality. The Cabin Air Purification Pro system was first announced back in March this year and will be rolled out to future Jaguar Land Rover models.

     
     
  • KL Car Free Morning resumes this Sunday, Nov 7

    Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has announced that it will be reintroducing the Kuala Lumpur Car Free Morning (KLCFM) programme, which was put on hold during the Covid-19 pandemic. The bi-monthly event (on the first and third Sunday of each month) will resume as a simulation programme starting from this Sunday, November 7.

    Unlike previously, however, those wishing to attend the KLCFM will have to adhere to requirements in line with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the national security council (MKN), Bernama reports. Requirements for participants include having completed their vaccination doses and pre-registering for the event, said DBKL.

    The city council added that the simulation programme will run for two months (November and December) and will use a seven km stretch in the city centre, involving Jalan Raja, Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Dang Wangi and part of Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

    The programme involves activities such as walking, running, skating or cycling for two hours, from 7am to 9am. During the period, the roads involved will be closed to public and private vehicles. According to DBKL, pre-registration can be done via the KL Car Free Morning and DBKL website and Facebook pages. Participants who have successfully registered for the event will be notified by e-mail.

     
     
 
 
 

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Last Updated 26 May 2022