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Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

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Passengers from Malaysia arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport on June 16. Heng Chivoan

Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general.

According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian officials returning from overseas missions, foreign diplomats, technical experts, cooperation project managers and coordinators, as well as businesspeople and investors with a guarantor or invitation letter has been reduced from two weeks to just three days. Their accompanying family members will also have to undergo a three-day quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated, or two weeks otherwise.

General inbound passengers, both Cambodians and foreign nationals, will now undergo quarantine for just seven days, while unvaccinated travellers or those who have not been fully vaccinated must go through a 14-day quarantine.

According to the nine-page notice, the new quarantine measures will take effect from October 18. The decision is aimed at protecting public health and easing burdensome restrictions for fully vaccinated people.

For high-level Cambodian and foreign delegations, the Cambodian government will determine a suitable quarantine time as warranted by the individual circumstances.

“Inbound senior national and international delegations have to follow health measures and special quarantine requirements as determined by the government on a case-by-case basis,” said the notice.

Cambodian officials returning from overseas missions must undergo a three-day quarantine and have the mission letters issued by their respective institutions in hand as well as medical certificates determining that they are negative for the novel coronavirus 72 hours prior to their arrival in Cambodia.

They must also carry vaccination cards or certificates indicating the make of vaccine and date of vaccination. They must also have proof of accommodation during quarantine stay.

Upon arrival, officials must produce all the above-mentioned documents and provide samples for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. After the tests, they will be sent to the pre-determined quarantine site. But in case they cannot afford the accommodation, they will be sent to a designated quarantine facility with the costs covered by the state.

“In case the PCR tests show that they are Covid-19 positive, they will be sent to a treatment centre designated by the health ministry. But if the result is negative, they can end their quarantine on their third day,” it said.

It noted that officials who have proper residence for self-isolation can submit a request three days prior to the quarantine sub-commission that will decide whether to grant it.

Similar measures apply to foreign diplomats and cooperation project managers holding A- or B-class visas. They can undergo a three-day quarantine at their embassy or detached residence, or at hotels approved by the health ministry, including Himawari, Sokha Phnom Penh Residence, Courtyard by Marriott, Raffles Hotel Le Royal and Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, with the obligations on costs borne by the individual.

The notice said transportation from the airport to a quarantine centre must be organised by the respective embassies or NGOs, while transport from the quarantine site to their residence must be provided by the hotel.

“In case they are Covid-19 positive, as confirmed by the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge, they have to be treated at certified treatment facilities with permission from the health ministry at their own expense.

Foreign businesspeople and investors, as well as technical staff and their family members have to possess an invitation letter issued by locally registered companies that have fulfilled their tax obligations.

A sample invitation can be obtained from the Cambodia Data Exchange (CamDX) through registrationservices.gov.kh.

The ministry said the invitation letter must indicate that the guarantor will be responsible for personal expenses. They have to put down a deposit of $600 when arriving in Cambodia to be used for quarantine -- or treatment if they are positive for the coronavirus.

They also need to hold a Covid-19 insurance policy issued by Forte Insurance (Cambodia) Plc, which is currently the insurance consortium.

Upon their arrival, they must produce their booking receipts and take PCR tests.

Cambodians who hold a Cambodian or foreign passport with a K-class visa must possess health certificates certifying that they are coronavirus negative 72 hours prior to their arrival in Cambodia and produce full vaccination cards or certificates proving they have received the jabs. They will have to take Covid-19 antigen rapid tests upon arrival and PCR tests on day 6 of their quarantine before ending their quarantine on day 7, the notice said.

Foreigners who work in Cambodia -- including travellers and technical staff and their family members who have no invitation letter -- have to go through similar procedures set for foreign businesspeople and investors. But they need to have $1,000 in hand upon arrival to ensure their expenses on quarantine in Cambodia.

Travellers who have not been fully vaccinated have to take rapid tests upon arrival and PCR tests on day 13 of their isolation period before being permitted to leave their two-week quarantine on day 14. For foreign nationals, they need to have $2,000 in hand, or proof of funds, to be used while in quarantine.

The ministry emphasised that all visas must be requested at Cambodian embassies abroad, as visas on arrival will not be offered.

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