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Vaccination the key to post-covid travel

by on August 3, 2021
 

As Malaysia’s aggressive Covid-19 vaccination roll out picks up pace, travellers are hoping to see more of AirAsia’s red and white liveried aircraft in the skies. In readiness for the opening of state and national borders across Asean, AirAsia is readying its aircraft to return to the skies in the near future. As part of the preparation, the airline set up a vaccination centre at its headquarters RedQ, in Malaysia from 30th July to 1st August. The initiative saw about 2,500 of its Allstars participate in the vaccination drive. Allstars and their colleagues in aviation will now be able to protect their well-being and safety during this period, whilst preparing for the resumption of air travel in the near future.  ** AirAsia staff are known as Allstars.

The vaccine was administered by health professionals from DOC2US, one of the Healthcare Organisers (HCO) appointed by ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn. Bhd. The programme is supported by the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV), co-chaired by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) as well as the Ministry of Transport (MOT).

…. The vaccination momentum is accelerating in all of our key markets. Malaysia is amongst the top Asean countries and on track to have around 80% of the population vaccinated by the end of 2021 with Thailand vaccinating around 60% of its population and around 50% in the Philippines and Indonesia by the year-end. airasia Group CEO, Tony Fernandes

He added that co-operation is necessary  to increase vaccination capacity nationwide and help eliminate the virus. Aggressive vaccination rolls out across Asean and around the world, including countries which are well progressed like the US and EU countries are starting to reopen their economies, including tourism.

A number of encouraging signs have emerged. Thailand reopened leisure travel for vaccinated tourists under the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus programme in July. AirAsia Philippines’ operation is looking at a similar gradual resumption of services, aiming to fly up to 16% of pre-Covid capacity from the end of August. Currently, the majority of Allstars around the region have either been vaccinated or registered to get their shots as soon as possible to ensure AirAsia’s operating crew will be vaccinated by the time operations resume.

Tony also pointed to the views of various experts suggesting that a 50% vaccination base is enough for the people to start flying again. Malaysia’s daily vaccinations now exceed 550,000 and growing so this level should be reached in the near future. He is also hopeful based on the international experience, with the vaccination rate now over 20% and rising by around 3.5% each day, we will start to see cases coming down and the curve dramatically turning.

Malaysia’s tourism industry contributes over 15% of GDP in Malaysia and making vaccines the key for protection will play a strong role in supporting tourism and the economy to get back on its feet. This must be accompanied by the easing of domestic travel restrictions and secure reopening international borders as quickly as possible.

Since Monday, 2nd August, the UK has welcomed fully-vaccinated travellers arriving from Europe and the US. They will no longer have to quarantine on arrival in England, unless they arrive from France. The US has yet to announce any relaxation of a reciprocal arrangement. With a clear correlation between vaccines and recovery as evidenced in the US, Canada, and many other European countries with high inoculation rates amongst their populations, economies are expected to fully reopen soon and air passenger traffic is showing a corresponding improvement in numbers. 

…. I’m confident we will have enough of the population vaccinated and an international health passport solution, be it paper in the short term or digital in the longer term. One thing I am sure about, is there will be a strong regional comeback in Asean, hopefully by the end of 2021 and an international reboot by early 2022.  Tony Fernandes

So stick those arms out, get your vaccination confirmation ready and start planning!

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