KOTA KINABALU: The state should allow travellers from China in, but with some terms and conditions, said the Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Satta).

Satta president Datuk Winston Liaw said for economic reasons, it was time to allow in tourists from China, but it was necessary to take precautions.

“As a precautionary step, we propose that Chinese tourists test negative 48 hours before they depart for Malaysia,” he said in an interview yesterday.

He said upon arrival, the usual standard operating procedures, such as wearing face masks, must also be enforced.

“That’s it. Omicron variants are mild infections, just like what is happening now in Sabah,” said Liaw.

The situation in Sabah, said Liaw, was almost “back to normal”, adding that China could be getting herd immunity within a month or so as well.

Asked whether the state should be concerned about reports of mutated Covid-19 variants from China, Liaw said studies had shown that mutated variants would normally lead to milder and weaker symptoms.

On Dec 31, Sabah Covid-19 spokesman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the state government had decided that it would only determine how to manage arrivals from China after getting a briefing from the state Health Department.

He said an announcement was expected to be made after the department’s briefing and recommendations to the state Cabinet on Wednesday.

Prior to that, he had said that effective Jan 1, those arriving from China would need to be tested negative within 48 hours before entering Sabah. Masidi, however, retracted this report hours later.