Hundreds in Covid-19 Quarantine Transferred From Border Provinces

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Goods trucks pass a quarantine center to cross the Thai border into Cambodia at Poipet. (Ananth Baliga/VOD)
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Hundreds of quarantined returned migrants were transported away from border provinces on Tuesday following an order from the prime minister to relieve the pressure on Covid-19 quarantine centers.

In Battambang, 768 migrant workers who had returned from Thailand were taken in military trucks to quarantine in their home provinces on Tuesday, said Battambang deputy governor Soeum Bunrith.

About 400 others remained to be transported, Sary said. The migrants who were originally from outside Battambang had made up about half of those in quarantine. The rest, numbering over 1,100, were locals, Bunrith said.

Kamrieng district, in particular, had five quarantine centers running at capacity, he said.

“The district governor hasn’t been able to sleep,” Bunrith said. “This will help reduce the workload and make it easy to control and manage the situation.”

Banteay Meanchey deputy governor Ly Sary said about 20 trucks had left his province, which had about 5,000 returned migrants in quarantine.

He said many workers were returning because there were no jobs across the border in Thailand. The neighboring country was also preparing to celebrate the new year next month like Cambodia, he added.

The new policy of transferring people in quarantine would help as returning numbers grew, Sary said.

“When it is a landslide, we need all forces and means,” he said.

In Oddar Meanchey, deputy governor Dy Rado added that anyone showing symptoms Covid-19 would not be allowed to leave.

There were about 3,000 migrant workers in 24 quarantine centers, including the local stadium, Rado said. About 50 military trucks had left from quarantine centers in Oddar Meanchey to take people to their home provinces on Tuesday, he said.

“The larger the scale is, the more difficult it is,” he said. “And the weather is getting hotter. It helps a lot for the migrant workers.”

Authorities have also been cracking down on illegal border crossings, with 100 brokers arrested in recent weeks, a National Police spokesperson previously said.

The country has seen 1,060 cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic last year, including a recent surge connected to the community “February 20” cluster centered around Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

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