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Coronavirus

Malaysia tightens border as omicron stalls shift to 'endemic COVID'

Travelers from eight African countries barred, with list to be updated daily

Travelers from Singapore arrive in Kuala Lumpur under the new vaccinated travel lane on Nov. 29. This lane remains open, but Malaysia is pausing plans for other similar arrangements.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia is barring foreign visitors from countries hit by the omicron variant of COVID-19, effective Wednesday, the Health Ministry announced.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said passengers on direct or transit flights from eight countries in Africa -- South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Malawi -- will not be allowed into the country. While the variant has now been detected in more than 20 locations worldwide, the ministry will study whether cases are imported or spreading in the community before deciding on further entry bans.

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