No More Quarantine-at-Home Option for ‘General’ Arrivals

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Labor Ministry officials wait at a quarantine site at Phnom Penh’s Chumpouvoan High School on April 20, 2020. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

Foreign arrivals from select countries and who are sponsored by a local company director or other official have had Covid-19 quarantine requirements relaxed, but “general” foreign and Cambodian arrivals no longer have the option to self-isolate at home for two weeks, according to the Health Ministry’s latest guidelines.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the ministry detailed entry requirements for four types of arrivals: foreign arrivals guaranteed by a sponsoring organization, general foreign arrivals, Cambodian arrivals, and diplomats.

Sponsored Foreign Arrivals

Foreign arrivals with a sponsor must bring a health certificate showing that within 72 hours of arrival they had tested negative for Covid-19, take a test upon arrival and isolate in a hotel until they receive test results.

If they test negative, they are free to leave the hotel and conduct their business according to a schedule they submit to authorities.

Sponsored foreign arrivals must be from China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, the E.U. or the U.S.

Sponsors are required to cover the costs of all medical expenses, and are legally liable if the traveler does not follow Health Ministry conditions.

The statement said the guarantor must be an executive director, company shareholder, business association president or investment project owner in a special economic zone. Officials at embassies and the government can also be a sponsor if the foreigner will be working for those institutions, it said.

General Foreign Arrivals

Foreign arrivals from other countries or who do not have a sponsoring organization no longer have the option to self-quarantine.

Previously, if all passengers on their flight tested negative upon arrival, foreign arrivals could quarantine themselves at a location of their choosing rather than a state-designated hotel or quarantine facility.

However, this led to notable breaches of quarantine, such as a French man in Siem Reap who attended bars and parties instead of staying in isolation.

General foreign arrivals must now stay at a government-approved hotel for two weeks, at a cost of $60 to $75 a night. They are also required to place a $2,000 deposit, have health insurance and cover all their medical expenses.

Cambodian Arrivals

Cambodians, whether on a Cambodian or foreign passport, must also stay in quarantine for two weeks, with self-isolation, such as quarantining at home, no longer an option.

However, their costs will be covered by the government if they stay at a state-run quarantine facility, and they are not required to leave a deposit.

Diplomats

Rules for diplomats, as well as officials of international organizations, have not changed: They must bring a certificate saying they are Covid-19 free, receive a test upon arrival, and wait at least 24 hours at a hotel or quarantine facility for their results.

The new policy goes into effect for all arrivals on Wednesday, November 18, the ministry said.

According to the statement, the ministry was “making some changes in its mechanisms for implementing health measures [by] implementing a sponsorship mechanism to make it easy for investors, company staff, experts and technicians who have a guarantor to enter Cambodia.”

Cambodia has recorded 301 cases of Covid-19 since the global outbreak in January, with just 13 of them active and no deaths. However, since last week, more than 1,600 people have been tested due to suspected direct or indirect contact with a visiting Hungarian foreign minister. Peter Szijjarto stayed less than 24 hours in the country — in apparent violation of the Health Ministry’s rules — and tested positive after flying to Bangkok.

The Health Ministry said on Thursday that only 817 of 1,680 suspected contacts had so far returned for their second tests. All contacts have been asked to go into quarantine and get a total of four tests over two weeks.

So far, only four people in the cluster have tested positive for Covid-19, all on their second tests.

Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine said on Wednesday that all those in quarantine needed to take responsibility to get themselves retested and follow the authorities’ advice.

“How could the ministry have hundreds of vehicles to pick up all the people? They need to come by themselves and they have to maintain the health measures,” Vandine said.

Additional reporting by Khan Leakhena

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