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High alert for Covid-19 as students return from abroad

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Cambodian students wait for their flight at a Malaysian airport. Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia

High alert for Covid-19 as students return from abroad

Cambodian students are returning from abroad in increasing numbers to government testing and quarantines that are awaiting them upon arrival.

On Sunday, 143 Cambodians, including 43 students from Egypt, and 98 military trainees, a student and a citizen from Russia, made it back to Cambodia via Malaysia.

Some had graduated, some are on internships while others were on vacation, the Cambodian Student’s Association in Egypt told The Post on July 19.

More than 1,000 Cambodian students studying abroad have returned to Cambodia, according to the Ministry of Health. The authorities are on high alert.

Among a group of 80 Cambodian students who returned from Saudi Arabia on July 10, 25 tested positive for Covid-19.

There have been 171 detected Covid-19 cases, including foreigners and Cambodians. Five more passengers who travelled from the US tested positive on July 16, including three Cambodians and two US Embassy officials.

While most have been cured, authorities have dealt with some surprises.

A Cambodian woman who flew in from the US on July 15 “escaped” from a quarantine centre in a Phnom Penh hotel on July 17. She took a taxi to Kampong Cham and went to a restaurant and hair salon in the Kampong Cham market before police tracked her down and sent her back.

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said the ministry had not yet determined the punishment or fines for those who flee quarantine centres.

The government has also announced a five-day holiday from August 17 to 21 and expects it will provide an opportunity for people to travel to tourist sites to help promote domestic tourism.

However, the Ministry of Health issued a directive to prevent the spread of Covid-19 during the holiday. Citizens must choose good environmental tourism sites that have adequate airflow and avoid crowded karaoke bars, nightclubs and large gatherings.

Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote on his Facebook page on July 19 that all businesses must have gel or alcohol for hand washing. All travellers from abroad must follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health.

“Cambodians, as well as tourists who come to Cambodia, must follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health,” Hun Sen wrote.

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