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‘Kingdom won’t ban inbound locals’

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Passengers arrive at the Phnom Penh International Airport on June 16. Heng Chivoan

‘Kingdom won’t ban inbound locals’

Even though 26 more Cambodians arriving from abroad tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, the government has declared that it will not ban its nationals from returning home.

The 26 included five students, 20 military trainees from Russia, and a 65-year-old man from South Korea said the Ministry of Health.

The infected were among 254 passengers in two flights – 144 travelling from Egypt, Russia and Malaysia and 110 from South Korea. The flights arrived in Cambodia on Sunday.

The infected passengers were sent to quarantine centres at the Air Force Base, Hun Sen Borey Muoyruoy Knong High School, and some hotels. The ministry said the new Covid-19 cases bring Cambodia’s total to 197.

Prime Minister Hun Sen told a gathering of farmers in Takeo that he was shocked to receive the news.

The government strengthened measures at airports on May 20, requiring passengers to be quarantined 14 days.

Hun Sen said he will not ban citizens from abroad as he did to the 100 from Malaysia in April even if cases continue, citing the government’s updated prevention methods.

“Our students abroad enter the Kingdom and this is how the virus is transmitted. If we do not take our citizens back to the Kingdom, where will they stay?

“We lacked prevention methods in our country before, so we requested our people in Malaysia to suspend their flight back to the Kingdom. But we sent money to our Embassy there for support and allowed them to return later,” he said.

During the upcoming holiday from August 17 to 21, people can travel to various tourism sites, but they have to avoid large gatherings. Covid-19 in the world is not getting better, while some counties are facing new waves, said Hun Sen.

“People who wear masks are getting it [Covid-19] less. Carelessness is a cause, and people will take trips this upcoming holiday. But they have to avoid large gatherings to prevent covid-19,” he said.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said the ministry will follow Hun Sen’s orders and help citizens return to the Kingdom.

“We will try harder to help citizens trapped abroad to return to the Kingdom while also preventing the transmission of Covid-19. It requires participation and practising quarantine and prevention measures,” she said.

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