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Kota Kinabalu resumes international flights as Sabah reopens quarantine-free

Missing the picture-perfect beaches but the dread of quarantine is putting you off? Rejoice as Kota Kinabalu reopens to international flights and arrivals go quarantine-free. 

Tourism in Sabah is set for a massive renaissance thanks to the first international flight descending into Kota Kinabalu in over two years. 

Prior to border closure following the implementation of the Movement Control Order back on 18 March 2020, Kota Kinabalu International Airport was Malaysia’s busiest after KLIA1 and KLIA2. It welcomed in excess of 9 million passengers in 2019, with flights ranging as far flung as Shanghai and Seoul.  

Tourists from South Korea and China formed the bulk of the international passengers smitten by Sabah’s natural beauty and Kota Kinabalu’s blessed proximity to crystal clear waters, deserted islands and mountainous peaks.  

Kota Kinabalu travel guide
Image credit: Mix Miki on Pexels

International flights return to Kota Kinabalu International Airport as Sabah reopens: 

The first international flight to resume will be operated by AirAsia flying in from Singapore on April 16, while a second flight touches down later in the month on April 29, also from Singapore on Scoot.  

Furthermore, Royal Brunei Airlines is returning to Sabah in May, offering two flights per week, every Friday and Sunday, beginning May 6.  

Following the federal government’s decision to reopen the country’s borders, it was reported that Sabah could implement its own border control process. However, as reported by The Star, Sabah will reopen in accordance with the national guideline. 

Book your flight here

Your complete checklist to enter Sabah without hassle:

Before departing for Malaysia, you must: 

  1. Download, register and activate the MySejahtera application. 
  2. Complete a travel declaration including vaccination information that can be accessed via the Traveller icon in the MySejahtera application. 
  3. Upload the results of your PCR test done two days before departure. 
  4. If you have been infected with Covid-19 within six to 60 days before departure, you must upload the result of the RTK test done two days before departure. 
  5. Non-citizens are required to have both Covid-19 and travel insurance, as well as to state the address where they will be staying in Malaysia. 

Upon completing the above, individuals will be issued a traveller’s card on MySejahtera. For individuals who are yet to be vaccinated against Covid or complete their vaccination, surveillance and observation instruction will also be issued through MySejahtera. 

“For travellers who do not have a traveller card display or Home Surveillance Order instruction, they are not allowed to continue their journey,” Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin cautioned, as reported by The Edge. 

Upon arrival to Malaysia: 

You will go through thermal screenings. If you are symptomatic, you may report to health workers for further examination. 

If you are asymptomatic, you may continue onwards to the immigration counters. 

Within 24 hours after you have arrived in Malaysia: 

You must undergo a professional RTK test at a private health facility either at the point of entry or outside. 

The test result will be displayed on the MySejahtera app. 

If the result is Covid positive: 

Fully vaccinated travellers in categories one and two will be given Home Surveillance Order for seven days at your accommodation. Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers will be given 10 days of Home Surveillance Order. If your illness falls under category three and above, you are required to be admitted for treatment. 

If the result is Covid negative: 

Fully vaccinated travellers are exempted from quarantine. However, partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers are to observe Home Surverillance Order for five days at their choice of accommodation, as well as undergoing a PCR test on the fourth day or an RTK test on the fifth day. 

“If the second test sample is found to be positive, they will be given Home Surveillance Order for five days from the date the second sample was taken. Meanwhile, if the Covid-19 results are negative, they will be released,” he said. 

What about children travelling to Malaysia? 

Children aged six and below are not required to undergo both the Covid-19 pre-departure screening and upon-arrival testing.

Click here for the latest SOP updates pertaining to Sabah.

Justin Ng
Digital Content Director, Kuala Lumpur
Often think of myself as a journalist and so I delve deeper into a range of topics. Talk to me about current affairs, watches, travel, drinks, new experiences and more importantly, the business, economics and dynamics behind it.
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