Travel Restrictions May Have Been Lifted but Don’t Get too Excited and Start Travelling

  • Thmey Thmey
  • April 20, 2020 2:02 AM

No new case of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) were identified for several days this month in Cambodia and the number of patients who have recovered keeps climbing. 

Moreover, the Cambodian government lifted as of April 16 the ban on travel out of Phnom Penh and between provinces, which had been imposed before Khmer New Year to prevent the spread of the disease during the holiday held April 14 through 16. However, Samnang and Sothie believe that people should remain where they are for the time being rather than travel in the country. They also would like the authorities to recommend this to people.  

Samnang: Hey Sothie! Is there anyone at your workplace who wanted to go to his or her hometown or village last weekend? The thing is that people cancelled their trips due to the travel restrictions issued by the government and which were in effect on peak days of Khmer New Year. However, as soon as the restrictions were lifted, many decided to make the trips they had cancelled earlier. And that concerns me. 

Sothie: Well, you have a point. Since it can be difficult for the authorities to tell whether people are just going home or travelling to their hometowns or villages, it is hard for them to monitor. Maybe the travel ban ended up making people travel after instead of during Khmer New Year.  

Samnang: That’s what I’m also wondering. When you look at my workplace, there are employees who live in Sa’ang District in Takeo province and in Kompong Speu Province, which are fairly close to Phnom Penh. When the weekend arrives, they usually drive home to see their families. But then, what if they go back and forth much more often because they miss them? The places they go, the people they meet in Phnom Penh and at home? The chances of infection might increase! 

Sothie: This means that business owners and institutions’ management teams must remind their workforce of the dangers the coronavirus represents and recommend that they reduce commuting and travelling as much as they can. This could limit accidental infection. Then, ordinary people like the two of us should not let our guards down. Always stay cautious, practice basic hygiene and follow the guidelines. Try voice calling or video calling your family if you miss them so much instead of travelling to see them. Finally, the authorities should call on people through the media, social media or other platforms not to make any unnecessary trip to avoid spreading COVID-19. People tend to forget, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and may get careless and not take the basic measures against the coronavirus. 

Samnang: That is why the government is working so hard to keep this disease under control. Why did some people forget all health directives because it was Khmer New Year earlier this month? Then they returned from their trips and have been put in quarantine for 14 days to check whether they were infected. Going home during a pandemic does not seem to be worth it. 


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