Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Covid fees a must amid economic uncertainty



Covid fees a must amid economic uncertainty

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Foreign travellers are requires to deposit $3,000 for testing, quarantine and travelling including covering treatment costs. Health Ministry

Covid fees a must amid economic uncertainty

A recent announcement by Prime Minister Hun Sen that Cambodia will not charge foreigners for Covid-19 treatment could not be implemented any further as the Kingdom looks to reopen the country and restore its economy, a senior official said.

Ministry of Economy and Finance spokesperson Meas Soksensan told The Post on Tuesday that Hun Sen’s announcement was a humanitarian gesture meant only for foreigners stranded in Cambodia.

It applied to those who had no reliance on their countries of origin when they were not allowed to return home, like the Westerdam cruise ship passengers. “In such a situation, Samdech Hun Sen framed a humanitarian principle.

“First, the Westerdam cruise ship was allowed to enter [Cambodia]. Hun Sen also announced that Cambodia would assist tourists who could not return home and had no one to rely on.

“Now we have reached a new situation – restoring the economy and reopening the country gradually. All countries would do the same.

“This new context cannot be compared with the previous one. It is different. So, Cambodia and other countries alike need to charge for treatment costs because we can’t let anyone come for treatment free of charge,” he said.

According to a May 20 government decision, foreigners travelling to Cambodia must have at least $50,000 in health insurance.

And starting June 15, Cambodia also requires foreign travellers to deposit $3,000 for testing, quarantine and travelling including covering treatment costs in case they test positive for Covid-19 while in Cambodia.

Government spokesperson Phay Siphan said the government reversed its earlier decision because the virus is gravely affecting the economy.

He said it has become the international standard for countries to charge for treatment services and require foreign travellers to have health insurance.

“It is very important because the disease tends to be imported from abroad and our resources are only for our citizens,” he said.

Soksensan confirmed that the government had reserved from $800 million to $2 billion for its fight against Covid-19. The government has so far spent more than $1 billion on it.

Phan Phalla, the head of an inter-ministerial working group for business registration, said the government is currently thinking hard to prepare a budget to be used immediately to support economic activities.

“How much we will spend on [Covid-19] we don’t know yet,” he said.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that Cambodia has a total of 128 Covid-19 patients. Of the 125 who have since recovered, 71 are foreign nationals who received free treatment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Hun Sen: Lakes filled in for national developments

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced continued operations to fill some lakes in Phnom Penh to create land for developments, though he is against the unrelated practice of damming rivers or blocking waterways. Speaking at the inauguration of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport

  • Koh Preus upgrades 70% complete

    Initial construction of a nearly $30 million tourism infrastructure project on Preah Sihanouk province’s Koh Preus Island is “about 70 per cent complete”, according to an official with the developer. Heng Thou, construction site manager of Angela Real Estate Co Ltd (ARE), told The Post that

  • Local media loses a giant, and The Post a great friend

    Cheang Sokha, a gifted and streetwise reporter who rose to the highest ranks of Cambodian media and was beloved for his sharp intelligence, world-class humour and endless generosity, died on Friday in his hometown of Phnom Penh. He was 42. His wife, Sok Sophorn, said he

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian