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Virus tops 84 with new cases in S’ville

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Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand rush to cross the border before it closes. Supplied

Virus tops 84 with new cases in S’ville

The Ministry of Health on Sunday night confirmed another 31 cases of coronavirus infections, bringing the Kingdom’s total to 84 and it highest daily tally. There have been no fatalities thus far.

The latest cases were found in 29 French tourists and their two Cambodian tour guides in Sihanoukville, a day after two French tourists of the same group contracted the virus.

The tourists, including 12 men and 17 women aged between 48 and 69, were among a total of 36 tourists visiting the coastal town. They arrived on March 18 and were due to leave on Saturday.

All were staying at the Independence Hotel, which has since been quarantined, said provincial police chief Chuon Narin. “We have put the seven-storey hotel under strict quarantine,” he said in his report to higher authorities.

Meanwhile, Thai authorities are shutting all border checkpoints with Cambodia and hasresticted foreigners from entering the country by air as of Friday to halt the spread of Covid-19. Thailand reported 188 new infections on Sunday, raising its total to 599 cases.

In view of Thailand’s restrictions, a large number of Cambodian workers from there rushed to enter the Kingdom just before the borders were closed.

Ministry of Health spokesman Or Vandine could not be reached for comment. It remains unclear if those migrant workers are at risk of spreading the virus.

Vandine issued a request to officials at all border checkpoints to closely monitor the returning workers’ health.

She said all checkpoints must have a quarantine team, and all workers must fill out a health form. She told officials to instruct migrant workers to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“Please do whatever possible to make them understand the issue, and avoid spreading the disease to their families back home. Please pay high attention to this in order to avoid spreading more Covid-19 in Cambodia,” Vandine stressed.

In regards to the border, some checkpoints were closed last week, and the rest will be closed by Monday, said a Cambodian Embassy and Consulate document. While most checkpoints ban the travel of citizens and the transportation of goods, some will still allow goods to cross under strict conditions.

An announcement from the Cambodian consulate office in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province said Thai authorities announced the closure of all Thai-Cambodia checkpoints in its five provinces – Ubon Ratchathani, Sisaket, Buriram, Chanthaburi, and Trat.

All foreigners are also banned from entering Thailand by flight as of Friday, according to the announcement.

One of the new restrictions requires all foreigners to have documents proving they are not infected with Covid-19. A certified medical letter dated no later than 72 hours before the plane’s departure is required to receive a boarding pass.

Passengers must also have documented health insurance cover for at least $100,000 in medical expenses as well as any Covid-19-related expenses, according to the announcement.

Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman Sin Chan Sereyvutha said: “The conditions set [by Thailand] in restricting flights is like a travel ban. Thailand has technically not banned travel, but it has put conditions that effectively make it a travel ban.

“As for Cambodia, we don’t have any restrictions, except for passengers coming from countries we previously announced.”

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