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Vandine: Covid-19 infections not due to tourism’s return

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Chinese tourists touch down at Phnom Penh International Airport on February 7. Heng Chivoan

Vandine: Covid-19 infections not due to tourism’s return

Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said the source of the few Covid-19 cases which are present in Cambodia cannot be traced to Chinese arrivals, as many other nationalities continue to arrive in the Kingdom.

Vandine made her comments in response to fear mongering remarks that recently circulated on social media. She noted that China had reopened and lifted its zero-Covid policies and Chinese tourists start to arrive in Cambodia, but numbers had not increased in Cambodia.

As of February 8, just eight active cases were reported across the Kingdom.

“We should not be focussing solely on Chinese citizens. There are people from the US, Europe and Australia travelling across the globe. It is also foolish to only consider air travel as the virus’ only means of spreading,” she said.

“What we need to remember is that the spread of Covid-19 is due to the movement of individuals. It doesn’t matter where a person comes from originally, so there is no point focusing on one nationality or race,” she added.

She explained that what was important was that everyone employ preventative measures and maintain their immunity.

“By practicing the three dos and don’ts, and making sure their vaccinations are up to date, individuals will help to build community immunity. As long we stand strong together, we can prevent a large-scale outbreak,” she said.

On February 7, Cambodia welcomed the first post-pandemic scheduled flight of Chinese flag carrier, Air China, from Beijing, with 122 tourists aboard.

The first of Chinese-owned Ruili Airlines’ resumed regular flights to Sihanoukville touched down on January 27, with a total of 104 passengers aboard.

Prime Minister Hun Sen recently announced that Cambodia will not discriminate against any visitors and will open its doors to all tourists.

Despite some countries remaining hesitant to accept them, or demanding stringent testing conditions, the Kingdom is expecting to receive around two million Chinese visitors in 2023.


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