(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia will impose tighter border controls over countries that have reported the spread of the omicron variant of Covid-19, Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in a statement Tuesday. 

The health ministry will make a detailed announcement on the matter soon, Hishammuddin said, noting the spread of the variant in countries including Italy, Denmark, Australia and the U.K.

The statement came a day after Malaysia and Singapore opened land and air vaccinated travel lanes, with plans to further reopen their borders. Malaysia on Friday banned travel to and from southern Africa after the discovery of omicron.

The four ministers in charge of managing the pandemic have decided to pause the nation’s efforts to move to the endemic phase until they obtain more information on the variant, Hishammuddin said. 

Researchers worldwide are racing to understand the full impact of the new strain, and governments have banned travelers from South Africa and nearby countries on concerns omicron could evade the protection of vaccines and fuel new surges.

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