Foreign Visitors to Be Charged for Covid-19 Testing, Quarantine Fees

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People in the lobby area of the Phnom Penh International Airport on March 11, 2020 (VOD)

UPDATED on June 12 — Foreign travelers may be required to pay more than $1,000 for Covid-19 testing, treatment and quarantine fees upon arriving in Cambodia, a departure from Prime Minister Hun Sen’s earlier vow to treat foreigners infected with the virus for free in state health facilities.

The price list, released by the Finance Ministry on Monday, came at the request of the Health Ministry, which late last month mandated that any foreigner or Cambodian entering the country must be tested for the virus, and self-isolate or quarantine for 14 days, depending on the results.

As the spread of Covid-19 accelerated in late March, Hun Sen announced that anyone who was diagnosed with the respiratory illness in Cambodia would receive free health care in state facilities

“We are poor, but our heart is big,” he said at the time.

Finance Ministry spokesman Meas Soksensan said on Wednesday that the premier had offered free health services to foreigners, and had accepted the shunned Westerdam cruise ship to dock in Cambodia as “humanitarian” acts in the early months of the pandemic. Now, the country had decided to charge for services in order to provide a higher quality of care for foreigners, he said.

“It was at Samdech [Hun Sen’s] discretion that he had provided humanitarian support before, as he had allowed the [Westerdam cruise] ship to enter, and he was criticized but he still provided humanitarian [support],” Soksensan said. “Please clearly separate that time from now. Now, there is no more humanitarian [need].” 

According to the ministry statement, to take the required Covid-19 test, an arriving foreigner must pay at least $165, including $100 for the test, $5 for transportation from the airport to the testing center, $30 per day for accommodation at a hotel or designated facility while awaiting test results and $30 for three meals per day.

Covid-19 test results usually take about 24 hours to process, the ministry has said.

If an arriving foreigner tests negative for Covid-19, but is placed in quarantine for 14 days because at least one person on their flight tested positive, they will need to pay at least $1,086 during the two-week quarantine period. Additional quarantine service fees include $15 for laundry, $6 per day for doctors and $3 per day for security.

If an arriving foreigner tests positive for Covid-19 and requires treatment at a state hospital, they will pay at least $330 for one day in the hospital. Fees include $30 per day for hospital accommodation and $150 per day for hospital treatment and medicine.

If a foreigner wishes to receive a Covid-19 health certificate, they will pay $130 for the test and certificate fee.

While Cambodia has reported no Covid-19-related deaths, the ministry noted that cremation costs $1,500.

Cambodia has confirmed 126 cases of Covid-19 as of Wednesday, the Health Ministry said. One patient, a Cambodian, remains in quarantine in a Phnom Penh hospital. Some 3,637 travelers entering the country by plane were tested between May 16 and June 7, according to a ministry statement.

Updated on June 12, 7:05 p.m.: All foreign travelers arriving in Cambodia will need to present proof of health insurance valued at a minimum of $50,000 and make a deposit of $3,000 with a designated commercial bank, which will cover payments for any Covid-19-related services while they are in the country, according to a Health Ministry statement dated Thursday.

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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