Over 1,000 Chinese investors and workers returned to Preah Sihanouk province between May 23 and June 13, said provincial hall spokesman Kheang Phearum.

Phearum said the 1,066 Chinese nationals arrived on direct flights. Since May 23, three to four direct flights each week from China had landed in Cambodia and authorities are carefully monitoring the health of the passengers.

Test samples were taken and sent to be analysed at the Institute Pasteur du Cambodge (IPC). The passengers were also required to quarantine for 14 days.

Phearum said: “After being quarantined for 14 days, we will test them again to ensure that they are not Covid-19 positive. When we test them twice and they test negative for Covid-19, we will allow them to return to their careers or leave as they like.”

Meanwhile, the province’s administrative officials have been updating the number of Chinese in the province.

Citing provincial governor Kuoch Chamroeun’s comments at a June 9 press conference, Phearum said about 15,000 Chinese nationals are living in the province.

Before the virus outbreak, more than two million of them either lived in or were visiting the province, he said.

Phearum said the province is cooperating with 16 Chinese provinces and cities to encourage investment in tourism, culture, education and sports.

He said the province is prioritising the development of trade, tourism and agriculture to help bolster the national economy.

Specific projects include deep seaports, 10 special economic zones (four currently operating, six in development), an airport and the beautification of beaches.