Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Holiday migrant numbers low

Holiday migrant numbers low

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Workers returning from Thailand en route to a quarantine centre in Banteay Meanchey province. Photo supplied

Holiday migrant numbers low

The number of migrant workers crossing the Cambodian-Thai border for the upcoming Khmer New Year holiday has dropped significantly compared to previous years, as the current Covid-19 situations in the two countries remain precarious, officials said.

In Battambang province, deputy governor Soeurm Bunrith said that less than 90 workers are returning each day.

“During the same period last year, over 1,000 workers returned [a day]. But this year, the number is less. It is very different from previous years,” he said on April 8, noting that many workers might have returned due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand early this year.

“Workers don’t return for the celebration because they know authorities will quarantine them for 14 days,” he said, adding that 1,596 Cambodian migrant workers are currently in quarantine in Battambang.

In Banteay Meanchey province, deputy provincial governor Ros Sophany said the number of returning workers before the New Year holiday was also much lower compared to previous years.

“The number has decreased with only 50 to 100 migrant workers returning a day. In previous years, more than 100 migrant workers a day returned during the New Year,” she said.

Sophany said that since February, over 30,000 workers had returned through Banteay Meanchey province. Now, however, none of them are allowed to return as the Thai government has banned entry during the current outbreak.

In Oddar Meanchey province, deputy provincial governor Dy Rado said the number of returning migrant workers had significantly decreased compared to the previous years, when between 300 and 500 returned per day.

“Since the beginning of April, between 50 and 100 workers have returned each day. It is very different from previous years,” he said.

Pailin and Preah Vihear provinces are experiencing similar drops in people crossing the border. Pailin has 10 to 20 workers crossing a day and on some days there are no people. In Preah Vihear the numbers are less with only four or five returning each day.

“In Pailin, not many return for the New Year because some have jobs and some want to protect themselves from Covid-19. So, they don’t move back and forth,” provincial governor Ban Sreymom said.

Preah Vihear provincial health department director Kong Lo said the reason some workers are not returning is they have heeded Prime Minster Hun Sen’s message that urged them not to do so.

In deterring migrant workers from returning to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Hun Sen and health minister Mam Bun Heng have warned that returnees who show Covid-19 symptoms will be quarantined upon their return at the border while those in good health will be isolated in their community.

MOST VIEWED

  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Famed US collector family return artefacts to Cambodia

    In the latest repatriation of ancient artefacts from the US, a total of 33 pieces of Khmer cultural heritage will soon return home, according to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. In a September 12 press statement, it said the US Attorney’s Office for the

  • Tina rebuffs ‘false claims’ over falling paddy price

    Agriculture minister Dith Tina has shed light on the trade of paddy rice in Battambang – Cambodia’s leading rice-producing province – in a bid to curb what he dubs a “social media fact distortion campaign” to destabilise the market. While acknowledging that the prices of paddy

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • Kampot curfew imposed to curb ‘gang’ violence

    Kampot provincial police have announced measures to contain a recent spike in antisocial behaviour by “unruly’ youth. Officials say the province has been plagued by recent violence among so-called “gang members”, who often fight with weapons such as knives and machetes. Several social observers have

  • PM outlines plans to discuss trade, policy during US visit

    Prime Minister Hun Manet is set to meet with senior US officials and business leaders during his upcoming visit to the US for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled for September 20. While addressing nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province, Manet said he aims to affirm