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COVID-19: While PM keeps reminding people to be highly vigilant, Ministry of Health stays in limbo

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Prime Minister Hun Sen has again come to the fore to remind competent authorities to further enhance the preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic at some particular places, including restaurants, markets, supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, and other crowded areas.

According to a message on his official Facebook page on June 6, Mr Hun Sen underlined that all those places have to strictly follow the preventive measures and instructions of the Ministry of Health as the pandemic remains a serious concern globally.

The Premier also reminded the people to stick to the spirit of self-protection against COVID-19 by wearing facemasks and cleaning hands with soap or alcohol- or gel-based hand sanitizers.

As of this morning, nearly 7 million people in 216 countries and territories around the world have been infected with COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 400,000 of them have died and more than 3 million have recovered. For Cambodia, there are 125 confirmed cases, of them 123 have been cured successfully.

While the prime minister never stops reminding people to be vigilant against the silent killer, which has thus far spared Cambodia in terms of taking any lives, people are bewildered with the approach of the Ministry of Health in disseminating information and steps to be taken to open up the economy and skies to kick start almost every sector in the country which are reeling from the pandemic.

Up to date, there has been no concrete measures announced by the Minister of Health, who heads the inter Ministry Task Force on Covid-19 with mundane announcements daily but skipping the big and most vital information such as when closure of businesses and schools will be lifted, when hotels will be able to expect guests, cinemas to be reopened, spas and other service sectors which stimulates spending and kick starts the economy.

While Cambodia’s neighbours start reopening their economy and sending people back to work and encouraging flights with special conditions, Cambodia seems to be doing none of this and proposals made to the inter ministry meeting to reopen the businesses, has been over ruled by the Ministry without basis.

Cambodia is to host ASEM in November and the Ministry’s indecisiveness is hurting the hotel and travel industry the most as they need to prepare to receive some 55 heads of states and their delegations.

Cambodia’s capital does not have that many hotels to put up all the delegates and their heads and existing hotels need to upgrade soonest possible.

Entertainment outlets must also be reopened with strict social distancing measures put in place.

According to Bangkok Post, Hong Kong and Singapore relax the ban on transit passengers at their airports effective first week of June while Spain keen to rebuild tourism ends its quarantine rule July 1 for foreign visitors.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airport will reopen to transit flights from 1 June, after transit travel was suspended 25 March.

All transit passengers must wear face masks and undergo temperature screening following their arrival at the airport.

Despite relaxing the transit passenger rule, entry into the territory remains restricted for non-residents.

Foreign nationals who aren’t residents of Hong Kong are not allowed to enter with a few exceptions.

Those permitted to enter Hong Kong will be subject to 14 days compulsory quarantine and required to wear a wristband that monitors location.

All arrivals to Hong Kong International airport are required to go through medical screening, including a deep throat saliva swab-test.

Singapore
Singapore Changi Airport will lift its transit passenger ban 2 June Transit passengers will remain in designated facilities in the transit area and cannot mix with other passengers according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. The government has announced that it will gradually re-open Singapore’s borders.

The country will be exploring “green lane” arrangements with countries with an equivalent or lower risk of community transmission as Singapore. This will allow essential travel in limited numbers.

If you’re returning to Singapore from abroad, you must submit a health declaration prior to customs clearance. You’ll also be issued a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SNH).

South Korea
From 1 June, foreign nationals residing in South Korea on most types of long-term visas will need to apply for a re-entry permit before undertaking any travel out of South Korea.

If they leave without a re-entry permit, they will need to apply for a new long-term visa before return to South Korea. Some visa holders may be exempt from these measures.

If you have been granted a re-entry permit allowing you to return, you’ll also need a medical certificate (in Korean or English) confirming a negative Covid test result or that you show no symptoms of illness. This certificate must be issued within 48 hours prior to boarding your return flight to South Korea.

Japan
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that travellers from Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ghana, Guinea, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, South Africa and Tajikistan would be indefinitely barred from entering the country as of 27 May. It brings Japan’s entry ban up to 111 nations.

China

China has prohibited the entry of foreign nationals, including those with the APAC Business Travel Card. There are some exemptions, such as those with visas issued after 28 March.

Malaysia

Non-nationals and non-residents are banned from entering the country. Spouses or children of Malaysian nationals, as well as those under Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme are exempted.

Thailand

Due to the Coronavirus, incoming passenger flights to Thailand are suspended until 30 June.

Vietnam

Vietnam has imposed an entry ban on foreign nationals, except those on business, diplomatic or official duty. Heng Panha/Bangkok Post/Khmer Times

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