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Cambodia halts all Vietnam border crossings amid Covid

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Two men drivea remorque across the Bavet border checkpoint in Svay Rieng province. Hean Rangsey

Cambodia halts all Vietnam border crossings amid Covid

Cambodia suspended cross-border travel between Cambodia and Vietnam for one month to prevent the spread of Covid-19, effective from July 18.

In a letter dated July 13 that was sent to Cambodian ambassador to Vietnam Chay Navuth, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated: “In order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Royal Government has decided to temporarily suspend the Cambodian-Vietnamese border crossing of skilled workers, technicians, and employees of Vietnamese companies.”

The ministry said exceptions are made only for travel by patients seeking medical treatment in Vietnam, diplomats, civil servants on missions at the invitation of the authorities of the other country, students and trainees who have completed courses.

The ministry said employees and skilled workers at Vietnamese companies who have entered Cambodia – and those who are currently in quarantine – are not allowed to return to Vietnam during the suspension period.

The foreign affairs ministry asked the Cambodian embassy in Vietnam to cooperate with the Vietnamese authorities to facilitate the transport, export and import of goods while strictly enforcing the health regulations of each of the two countries.

On July 9, Prime Minister Hun Sen said during an online cabinet meeting that he had received reports that Vietnamese immigrants were still travelling to and from Cambodia over the land border.

He instructed Minister of Interior Sar Kheng to advise provinces along the border to suspend the entry and exit of Vietnamese immigrants to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“Border crossings should be banned now . . . Vietnamese immigrants crossing inbound and outbound from Cambodia is a problem,” Hun Sen said.

Ly Saveth, deputy governor and spokesman for the Takeo provincial administration, told The Post on July 14 that his provincial administration had issued a letter advising the four district governors and the three border gate chiefs along the Vietnamese border – as well as the armed forces – to tighten existing measures and follow the instructions of the Prime Minister.

“We have our own inspection regimens and the provincial governor monitors the work on a regular basis,” he said.

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