Malaysia expects to fully reopen its economy and lift inter-state travel ban from end-October

Malaysia expects to fully reopen its economy and lift a ban on inter-state travel beginning end- October at the earliest if new Covid cases average below 500 a day, said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

The current phase of the national lockdown is costing the economy 1 billion ringgit ($242 million) a day as most businesses remain shut, Muhyiddin said in a televised address Tuesday. The government expects to begin easing the curbs in steps starting July, he said.

The second phase that’s expected in July will begin once daily cases drop below 4,000 and 10% of the population is fully vaccinated, he said, while outlining a recovery plan that contains four phases based on three indicators: average daily infections, ICU bed capacity and the percentage of the population that’s inoculated.

The timeline will be a key test for Malaysia’s government, which has for months struggled to contain an aggressive virus that’s led to rising public anger and attacks from opposition political groups over its handling of the pandemic. Meeting the targets would ease pressure on Muhyiddin and help rejuvenate the nation’s moribund stock market.

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