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Singapore-Malaysia border reopening restores economic lifeline

Crossing quota filled as workers and employers rush to undo COVID damage

Workers who crossed into Singapore from Malaysia on Aug. 17 board a bus prepared by their employer to take them to quarantine locations. (Photo by Kentaro Iwamoto)

JOHOR BARU, Malaysia/SINGAPORE -- Malaysia and Singapore on Monday opened their border for the first time in five months, in a vital step toward nursing both coronavirus-hit economies back to health.

Limited crossings are now possible via the two land gateways connecting the neighbors -- a bridge and a causeway -- as well as by air. A checkpoint on Singapore's side of the land border was busy on Monday morning, with workers arriving from Malaysia's Johor and lugging suitcases onto waiting vehicles arranged by their employers.

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