New Rules for Visitors from 10 African Countries as Travel Ban Scrapped

Planes are parked at the tarmac of Phnom Penh International Airport on April 1, 2020 as Cambodia faces increasing cases of COVID-19 coronavirus. Photo: AFP

The Ministry of Health announced the travel ban imposed on visitors coming from 10 African countries has been lifted, but replaced with a new set of rules that include a mandatory quarantine

PHNOM PENH--Less than a week after initiating a travel ban on visitors coming from 10 African nations on Nov. 29, the Cambodian government announced on Dec. 5 that the ban had been lifted for those travelling from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola, Zambia

With the approval of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Health Minister Mam Bun Heng announced an end to the short-lived ban that was briefly imposed over fears of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 which was identified by South African scientists.

Bun Heng said the ban would be replaced by the implementation of Standard Operating Procedures to regulate passengers arriving from the 10 African countries. All passengers travelling from or through the listed countries must present a negative COVID-19 PCR certificate issued within 72 hours of departure for Cambodia and must undergo a rapid COVID-19 test upon arrival.

Travelers from the 10 African countries who test positive for COVID-19 upon arrival will quarantined and a PCR test will be administered, Bun Heng said. If the PCR test is positive, passengers from the 10 countries will receive treatment for COVID-19, whereas those who test negative on the PCR test will be quarantined for seven days, with a second PCR test administered on the sixth day of quarantine.

Similarly, Bun Heng added that even passengers from the 10 listed countries who test negative on the rapid test when arriving will still need to quarantine for seven days and take a PCR test on the sixth day to be released on the seventh.

Passengers from these countries will need to book a hotel for the quarantine period or will be able to deposit $1,000 upon arrival to cover quarantine expenses, he said.

Rules remain unchanged for unvaccinated travelers wishing to visit Cambodia who will still be required to quarantine for 14 days unless they can prove they have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Health Ministry has not changed its policy on requiring Forte insurance to cover COVID-19 treatment, which is required for unvaccinated and vaccinated travelers alike.

Fully vaccinated visitors from countries not included on the list of 10 African nations are still able to enter Cambodia without quarantining, providing they have a negative PCR test 72 hours before departure, proof of vaccination and Forte insurance.

Cambodia officially recorded just 16 cases of COVID-19 on Dec. 6, although this number only includes PCR test results and the substantial decrease in random testing means it is impossible to know how many cases are active nationwide. The official death toll stands at 2,963.

As of Dec. 5, some 13.4 million Cambodians have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination, which was one of the key factors in Hun Sen declaring the country fully reopen on Nov. 1.

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