Cambodia continues to enforce restrictions to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of Oct. 14. All schools in low-risk areas, such as Kratie, Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, and Stung Treng provinces, may operate on-site. Educational institutions in other parts of Cambodia can also resume on-site activities for students in grades 9 and 12. Safeguards include ensuring the students maintain a safe distancing of 1.5 meters (5 feet) from one another and limiting the number of students present in each classroom. Mosques are hosting worship activities on Fridays with health protocols in place. Several types of businesses, including cinemas and karaoke parlors, remain closed. Hundreds of garment, footwear, and travel goods factories have suspended operations due to global economic disruptions. Business closures and suspensions have affected at least 150,000 workers, prompting protests in some areas. Additional demonstrations may occur in the coming weeks.
Officials passed a bill enabling the government to declare a state of emergency April 29; however, they said such a declaration is unlikely due to the low number of new COVID-19 cases in the country. Under a state of emergency, the government would have the power to prohibit mass gatherings and limit people's movement, among other things. Authorities may expand their disease response in the coming weeks.
Issuance of tourist visas and e-visas, visa-on-arrival services, and visa exemptions remain suspended. Foreign nationals intending to visit Cambodia must comply with several protocols, with limited exceptions. Requirements include obtaining a visa from a Cambodian diplomatic mission by submitting, up to 72 hours before departure, proof of at least USD 50,000 in medical insurance coverage, and a medical certificate from local health authorities stating the traveler is free from COVID-19. Arrivals have to test for COVID-19; travelers who test positive and all passengers on the same flight must quarantine for 14 days. Other travelers must self-quarantine for two weeks. Inbound foreign nationals have to pay a USD 2,000 deposit to cover costs, including USD 100 for COVID-19 testing and USD 30 for a certificate stating that they are free from the virus; only limited exceptions are allowed. Most land border checkpoints remain closed, though cross-border travel with Vietnam for non-tourism purposes has resumed with health protocols in place.
Diplomatic and official visa holders, including international organization officials, must obtain a document stating they are free from COVID-19 within 72 hours before traveling to Cambodia. The visa holders will undergo COVID-19 tests upon arriving in Cambodia and isolate at designated sites while waiting for test results. People who test negative will self-isolate for 14 days, while those testing positive will undergo quarantine. Authorities will bear the test costs; however, embassies or international organizations will have to cover expenses for visa holders who test positive.
The government has allowed foreign business travelers to enter Cambodia with exemptions from the typical two-week self-isolation requirement for arrivals. However, business visitors must still isolate at designated sites for several days upon arrival in Cambodia while waiting for COVID-19 test results. Additionally, these visitors may have to quarantine for 14 days if any passenger on their Cambodia-bound flight tests positive for COVID-19. Other protocols include obtaining sponsorship from a local company and health insurance from an approved provider. Cambodian authorities have indefinitely suspended flights from Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Authorities may reintroduce or expand restrictions in the coming weeks, especially if local COVID-19 activity increases.
Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Confirm flight status before checking out of accommodation and departing for the airport. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions, particularly if traveling from affected locations. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings at all ports of entry. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Avoid all demonstrations as a precaution.
Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.