Cambodia swab tests all travellers

PHNOM PENH, 5 June 2020: Every day, a couple of hundred passengers disembark at Phnom Penh airport on the few airline services that continue to fly to Cambodia.

Covid-19 measures are strict at Cambodia’s airports. To gain access to the country travellers need to present a health certificate issued within 72-hours of travel that confirms the traveller is Covid-19 free and they must show health and immigration officials proof of medical insurance cover valued at USD50,000.

But that is just the beginning of the process that transfers passengers to a holding centre where they are PCR swab tested for Covid-19. The results take up to 24 hours.  If all the passengers test negative, they are free to go, but they must self isolate at home or at a hotel for 14 days at their own expense.

If one passenger tests positive then all passengers on the flight are immediately transferred to the government’s quarantine centre where they are held for 14 days mandatory quarantine. They will be tested again on the 13th day, and if they all test negative, they are free to travel within the country. It only takes one positive test result to confine all passengers arriving on the same flight for 14 days.

The swab test ruling has been in place since mid-May and travel executive note that as long as the 14-day wait period is mandatory, then holiday travel to Cambodia remains impractical.

Flights are arriving from Seoul, South Korea, Manila in the Philippines and Beijing in China. There are also some flights on Emirates and Qatar Air but for essential travel mainly repatriation.

In May, data from Cirium that conducts aviation research shows airlines served Cambodia with around 26,000 seats, down from more than 648,000 seats in May 2019

Asiana Airlines in South Korea offered around 2,500 seats and Cambodia Angkor Air around 10,000.

Meanwhile, Siem Reap the nearest town to Angkor Wat welcomed around 1,700 visitors in May down from around 140,000.

Officials said 100 hotels and guesthouses had closed permanently. Another 99 guests houses and 172 hotels have shuttered premises until the tourists return and just 40 hotels and 66 guest houses remain open for business.

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