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Migrants in good health spared quarantine on border

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Officers stand guard at the Great Duke Hotel in Phnom Penh on Sunday. Hong Menea

Migrants in good health spared quarantine on border

Prime Minister Hun Sen has decided to waive quarantine upon arrival for migrant workers in good health who return from Thailand through provinces along the Thai-Cambodian border. Quarantine, he said, will be enforced on those suspected of having Covid-19.

In a voice message addressing the public on March 7, Hun Sen said the quarantine of Cambodian migrant workers began after a large-scale community outbreak in Thailand, but the situation is now under control. The Thai provinces bordering Cambodia have also been excluded as places of risk.

Hun Sen said that for more than a month, there was no infected migrant worker at quarantine centres along the border. The situation there is difficult because the number of people allowed to leave quarantine centres was less than entering, which caused overcrowding in centres and difficulties in taking care of them.

“Workers no longer need to be transported to quarantine centres. The military is ready to transport them from the Cambodian-Thai border to the worker’s home province,” he said.

“For those who are already in a quarantine centre, they have to wait for the next morning. We have to be sure that they have eaten and are provided with food for the journey home. The workers are not allowed to be transported at night, but in the morning and during the day,” he said.

Hun Sen also stated that during the trip, the army and other personnel transporting the people must check their health carefully to avoid any problems and must not transport too many people in one vehicle.

The prime minister said that when trucks reach the workers’ home province, provincial authorities are responsible for getting them home. But if somebody is suspected of having Covid-19symptoms, a test must be taken and the person treated if they test positive.

According to Hun Sen, on March 4, there were more than 15,000 migrant workers at quarantine centres in provinces along the Cambodian-Thai border.

Separately, Minster of Health Mam Bunheng on March 7 decided to refurbish The Great Duke Hotel, a former InterContinental Hotel, into a treatment centre for patients with mild symptoms.

The decision comes after Hun Sen ordered the transfer of Covid-19 patients from the Prek Pnov Quarantine Centre to the hotel.

Bunheng said making this hotel a treatment centre is to enable the ministry to mobilise human resources and equipment to save people’s lives. The hotel must strictly enforce health and security measures to ensure the prevention and transmission of the disease.

Bunheng said: “All citizens, vendors and traders who conduct business near the hotel, do not be afraid, and please continue to be calm and trust the government’s response measures”.

On March 7, the health ministry reported 34 more cases of Covid-19, with three imported and 31 linked to the February 20 community transmission.

The three imported cases are all Cambodian UN peacekeepers who arrived from Africa via India on February 21.

Among the 31 cluster cases are one Vietnamese national, eight Cambodians and 22 Chinese.

Of the 31 Covid-19 patients, 14 are receiving treatment in Phnom Penh, 15 in Preah Sihanouk province, and one each in Kampong Thom and Prey Veng province.

These bring the total number of cases linked to the country’s third community transmission to 477 in just two weeks.

In a press release on March 7, the ministry also reported that 19 patients whose cases were linked to the February 20 community transmission have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.

The 15 include one Vietnamese national and two Cambodians, with the rest being Chinese.

As of March 7, Cambodia had recorded a total of 987 Covid-19 cases, with 476 receiving ongoing treatment.

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