Vaccination amped up to reopen with Singapore border


Since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic 18 months ago, the once-hectic Causeway is now devoid of any rush and activity, a harsh reminder that hundreds of thousands of Malaysians have either lost their employment in Singapore or been forced to live apart from their loved ones. However, with the state government of Johor beginning its vaccination campaign for Malaysians who used to travel into Singapore regularly, there is still optimism that life would return to some normalcy.
On July 29, just one in nine Johoreans had been wholly vaccinated, the second slowest rate in the country, when the first of at least 115,000 individuals enlisted on the Immuplan program was jabbed.
After two months, everyone on the Immuplan database has been vaccinated, and Johor is now the country’s sixth-lowest vaccination rate, with more than half of the state’s population immunized. In an interview, Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad said, “I expect it will continue until October, when we should be able to vaccinate our targeted 80 percent of the population.”
While Singapore officials have shown a desire to restore the once-bustling border crossing, they have also stated that this would only be possible after both sides have managed to bring the still-raging epidemic under control and have put in place adequate safety procedures.
The free flow of people between Johor and Singapore is vital to the Malaysian state’s economy, particularly in the Johor Baru area. Therefore Johor is keen to go forward.
Before Covid-19, it was believed that up to half a million individuals from both sides crossed overland every day. Since the border was blocked 18 months ago, Datuk Hasni believes that more than 100,000 Malaysians have remained in Singapore.


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