Singapore and Malaysia in talks to let workers commute again

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Malaysia prepared to have its citizens undergo screenings before resuming work if it's among conditions

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaacob said yesterday that Malaysians working in Singapore can start travelling and resume work once the two governments have reached a resolution on the matter.

"Discussions are now being held and Malaysians can start travelling back and forth again once the terms have been outlined, especially those living in Johor," he said at his daily Covid-19 security briefing.

He said Malaysia is prepared to agree to Malaysians undergoing Covid-19 screenings before resuming work in Singapore if that is among the conditions.

Singapore in its response said it welcomes the Malaysian proposal to resume cross-border travel between the two countries.

"We are prepared to work with Malaysia to address the needs of cross-border travellers, including short-term business and official travellers and Malaysian workers who were previously commuting between Singapore and Malaysia," Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement yesterday.

"Such proposed arrangements would have to include mutually agreed public health protocols to allow the safe resumption of cross-border movement. Both countries will require some time to work out the details and this will also depend on the Covid-19 situation in Malaysia and Singapore," it added.

"In the meantime, Singapore will continue with practical measures to enable Malaysians to continue working in Singapore."

Malaysian health authorities yesterday reported seven cases, the lowest daily increase since movement and business curbs were imposed three months ago.

The new cases raised the country's cumulative total to 8,329.

The Health Ministry reported no new deaths, keeping total fatalities at 117.


In the Philippines, tens of millions of children will not be allowed back to school until a vaccine is available, officials announced yesterday, saying they may have to broadcast lessons on TV.

"We will comply with the president's directive to postpone face-to-face classes until a vaccine is available," Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.

Classes are to resume at the end of August and teachers will use distance-learning methods via the Internet or TV broadcasts where needed, she added.

The Philippines confirmed eight more deaths and 579 infections. Its total number of has risen to 22,474 while deaths have reached 1,011.

In Jakarta, restaurants, shops and transport services were running again yesterday, as restrictions were eased further despite big spikes in infections.

Indonesia recorded 847 infections and 32 deaths yesterday, taking the total number of cases to 32,033 and fatalities to 1,883. - THE STAR, AFP, REUTERS