After many months of lock downs and restrictions on travelling, Malaysia is finally reopening Langkawi islands in an effort to rebuild tourism, the sector worst hit by the pandemic. According to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri, Langkawi will open to locals under a travel bubble plan from September 16. Other destinations will be allowed to operate when the locality’s vaccination rate reach 80 percent, he said in a statement.

Malaysia is mirroring Thailand’s tourism-opening plan based on a pilot project in the Phuket. On Thursday, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that Malaysia will transition into endemic phase by the end of October and Malaysians have to learn to live with the virus.

Even though daily infection rates still soar above 15,000, yet the virus’ effective production rate has fallen below 1 nationwide for the first time in a few months, amid an increase in vaccination. According to data by the health ministry, more than 84 percent of the adult population has received at least one dose, while 64 percent has been fully inoculated. Based on data, the average vaccination rate among adults in each state is expected to reach 80 percent by month-end, and 100 percent by end of October, the prime minister said.

“Eventually we have to live with Covid as is the case around the world,” Ismail Sabri said.

Meanwhile, Melaka state has moved into the second phase, and Negeri Sembilan into the third stage of the national recovery plan on Saturday after meeting the threshold limits in reducing Covid infections.