Have travel bubbles in Malaysia once borders open

After more than two years, I may get on an aeroplane early next month to visit my son and in-laws in Sarawak.

That would be the only travelling I have in mind for now as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is wreaking havoc.

In Malaysia, new cases exceeded 20,000 for eight straight days. That is still better than the United States and some European countries, where new infections are in the hundreds of thousands each day.

As such, the thought of being cooped up in a metal tube for a couple of hours is frightening. And part of the reason why the home minister and I have yet to purchase our tickets.

We will monitor the daily cases in the Klang Valley and Sarawak until the last possible moment before buying them.

However, many others cannot wait to get away for a holiday.

And the Malaysian government knows many foreigners love island getaways. That is why it recently extended Langkawi’s international travel bubble.

But it is not just foreigners. Malaysians, too, love some sun, sea and sand.

As I write this, I have a friend in Pangkor Island, one in Penang, while another will soon spend three months at Beach Box Perhentian on Pulau Perhentian Besar.

Twentytwo13 columnist, Pipa Arbee, will help friends take care of the nine-room resort offering some of the best ‘sea-nery’ plus outdoor activities like scuba diving and snorkelling.

So, perhaps it is time for the government to start new travel bubbles for the other islands and even Kuala Lumpur, which celebrated its 50th birthday on Feb 1.

Yes, our capital’s Golden Jubilee celebration has been a damp squib as many of the planned activities are on hold.

As much as I would like to limit the number of tourists coming into Malaysia, tourism is important to the economy.

Former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, now head of the National Security Council, recently said the country should open its borders as soon as March 1, and without quarantining passengers.

However, with new infections on the high side, a three-day quarantine period or a travel bubble is not too much to ask.

AFTER A FIVE-MONTH BREAK, WE HAVE 100,000 NEW CASES IN A WEEK

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin revealed on Thursday that the daily Covid-19 cases for the day would be announced at 10am the next day.

Speaking at a press conference, Khairy said the decision was so the public could “read the daily case numbers along with other data such as hospitalisation” and to “reduce the fear factor of (high) daily cases”.

It came after Malaysia hit a record high of new daily infections – 27,831 on Wednesday. The previous record daily high was 24,599 cases on Aug 26, 2021.

In the past week, there were 169,662 new cases. That took the total to 3,166,023. That was the first time since Sept 18-24 (103,905) that we had more than 100,000 cases in a week.

On the recovery front, 59,411 patients received the all-clear this week, making it 2,900,682 who have beaten the coronavirus. That included a record 11,744 recoveries on Thursday.

We had 177 deaths in the past week, meaning 32,276 people have lost their lives to the coronavirus.

Worldwide, we have 422.1 million cases and 5.89 million fatalities.

HELP SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT

The Selangor State Forestry Department, Global Environment Centre and other entities have resumed their monthly tree planting programme.

The programme will help rehabilitate degraded areas at Raja Musa Forest Reserve and Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve.

Click here to learn how you can be part of this movement.

FIVE-MINUTE CINNAMON ROLLS IN A MUG

Freshly baked cinnamon rolls are one of the best things to have any time of the day. It is usually time-consuming, but here is a recipe you can do in only five minutes – in a mug!

I WANT TO DANCE WITH YOU

Valentine’s Day and Chap Goh Mei were earlier this week, a perfect time to play John Prine’ ‘I just want to dance with you’.

It is one of my favourite Prine songs. He co-wrote it in 1986 with Roger Cook for the album German Afternoons.

Twelve years later, George Straits recorded a version that hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks.

Despite being a Prine fan, I was more familiar with Straits’ version as it was one of the songs I learnt when I joined the home minister for line dancing classes many years ago.

Until next week, stay safe.

https://youtu.be/uuaIffSAyYY

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