Cambodian PM announces quarantine-free travel for all fully-vaccinated passengers

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Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on Sunday announced quarantine-free travel for all fully vaccinated inbound passengers after most of the country's population have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

The quarantine-free travel will take effect from next Monday, he said in a special audio message released publicly.

"As almost 88 percent of our total population have received COVID-19 vaccines, so quarantine requirements are not needed anymore," Hun Sen said.

"Both Cambodians and foreigners traveling to Cambodia will be no longer required to go into a quarantine, but those, who have not been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine, will be required to undergo a full 14-day quarantine," he added.

However, all inbound passengers' samples will be taken for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests upon their arrival in the kingdom, and they can wait for the results at their own residences or the homes of their friends or relatives, he said.

"When the results show that he/she is negative for COVID-19, he/she has right to travel to wherever he/she wants to," he said.

The prime minister said the fully vaccinated passengers, who are currently undergoing quarantine at various centers, will be allowed to leave their facilities beginning on Monday.

The latest move came after the Southeast Asian nation has administered at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccines to 14.05 million people, or 87.8 percent of its 16-million population, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Of them, 13.2 million, or 82.5 percent, have been fully inoculated with both required shots, and 2.02 million, or 12.6 percent, have received a third dose or a booster dose, the MoH said.

Lim Heng, vice-president of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the quarantine-free policy, saying that it would encourage investors and tourists, especially from China, to come to Cambodia.

"It's a good opportunity to attract both foreign investors and tourists to our country, as some countries still impose travel restrictions, and I believe that foreign tourists, who are boring during the COVID-19 era, will come to Cambodia for leisure," he told Xinhua.

"This full reopening for vaccinated inbound travelers clearly shows the Cambodian government's great success in its vaccinations against COVID-19, with China being the key vaccine supplier," Heng said.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said the move would give a big boost to the tourism industry, which had been hit hard by the pandemic.

"It's exciting news for tour and travel operators as well as for other tourism-related businesses, and we're confident that this quarantine-free policy will reboot our tourism growth after a slump for nearly two years," she told Xinhua.

She attributed Cambodia's success in fighting against COVID-19 to "the Cambodian government's wise leadership and China's timely and regular supplies of vaccines."

Meanwhile, Cambodia reported 55 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, pushing the national total caseload to 119,536, the MoH said, adding that six new fatalities were confirmed, bringing the overall death toll to 2,867.

An additional 62 patients have recovered, taking the total number of recoveries to 115,924, the MoH said. 

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