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Funding, supplies sent to quarantine sites

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A migrant receives supplies at a quarantine centre in Banteay Meanchey province’s Serei Sophoan town on Saturday. Banteay Meanchey Provincial Hall

Funding, supplies sent to quarantine sites

The government has provided additional funding and materials to four provinces bordering Thailand in order to supply returning migrant workers currently in quarantine. From December 20 through January 7, a total of 12,088 Cambodian migrants have returned via checkpoints along the Thai border.

Ministry of Health secretary of state York Sambath said on January 8 that Prime Minister Hun Sen had decided to provide an additional 700 million riel ($171,000) to the provincial administrations of Battambang, Pailin, Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey.

“Three provinces received 200 million riel each, while Oddar Meanchey received 100 million riel. Additionally, the government has also provided 8,000 packages of supplies to these four provinces, with each receiving 2,000 packages for distribution to migrant workers in quarantine,” she said.

This marks the second time in less than two weeks that the government has distributed extra funds and supplies to the four provinces, following a package of 650 million riel handed out on January 2.

Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said on January 10 that authorities on both sides had restricted traffic across border checkpoints since early last year, and because of the recent Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand, Cambodia had further tightened controls.

“We have done a better job of managing our returning countrymen. Although there have been incidents of passengers jumping from trucks and escaping, we have found them and returned them for proper quarantine,” she said.

She repeated the ministry’s call for all returning migrants to enter quarantine, imploring them not to try to escape the provided accommodations because the purpose of the quarantine is to keep them, their families and the community safe from the virus.

“The prime minister has paid close attention to ensure that our returning citizens have adequate shelter and provisions because everyone is in this together. Success or failure in containing the virus depends on cooperation from our migrant workers who have come from Thailand,” she said.

Separately, the Cambodian embassy in Japan released a notice on January 9 introducing conditions imposed by the Japanese government for foreign migrant workers. Cambodians entering Japan with work permits and resident visas are required to obtain a certificate indicating that they have tested negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours prior to departure from their country of origin. They will be tested again upon arriving in Japan.

The notice also detailed requirements for sponsors of foreign workers who must fulfil contractual obligations to carry out prescribed safety measures including paying for Covid-19 tests. After workers arrive in Japan, however, the government will accept responsibility for any further protocols.

Arriving passengers who do not have the required certification will be remanded to a site determined by Japan’s quarantine director.

Passengers will be tested again on their third day of arrival, and if the test comes back negative, they will be released with orders to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. They are instructed to download the Covid-19 Contact-Confirming Application (COCOA) to track their movements.

Also on January 9, the health ministry confirmed four cases of Covid-19. All four are migrant workers who arrived from Thailand via Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces on January 5.

In Pailin province, six migrants who had returned from Thailand with infections were declared recovered after a second negative test and were discharged from the provincial referral hospital.

As of January 10, Cambodia had recorded a total of 391 Covid-19 cases with 20 remaining hospitalised.

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