The government yesterday issued a new sub-decree to impose a heftier fine for those who evade quarantine in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19. The new sub-decree comes after Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered authorities to raise the current fine of $250 because some rich people would not be deterred by this amount.
After discussions, officials from the Health and Justice Ministries have decided the amount to $1,250.
According to the new sub-decree, travellers or operators of transport vehicles who evade authorised border checkpoints, fail to cooperate with health officials in implementing health measures or do not comply with health procedures to prevent and respond to the spread of diseases at the entry points will be slapped with the heftier fine.
It also said anyone who initiates, incites, instructs, persuades or deliberately facilitates passengers or operators of a transport vehicle to evade inspection or shun an implementation of the quarantine measures will be further subjected to a fine of $2,500 to $12,500.
The sub-decree said the Health Minister is responsible for collecting fines and if offenders do not pay up within 30 days, they will be sent to court.
It said those who are fined may also have to face other criminal charges if applicable. This includes those who falsify health-related documents in order to avoid doing quarantine.
Mr Hun Sen issued his order after a returnee migrant worker trying to avoid being quarantined stepped on a landmine while crossing illegally from Thailand and injured his leg in Beanteay Meanchey province on Monday.
Meanwhile, police from the Banteay Meanchey provincial Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Bureau on Wednesday arrested a broker and seven migrant workers who tried to illegally cross the border into Thailand.
The broker has been sent to the provincial court for further action while the workers are now in a quarantine centre for COVID-19 testing because they were caught at the border and could have been in contact with others on the Thai side.
Brigadier General Dy Socheat, deputy police in cheif for Anti-Human Trafficking and Protection of Minors, said that the arrest of the broker was ordered by Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Major General Sith Loh, who had issued strict orders for all police forces to crack down on brokers who smuggle migrant workers to work in Thailand illegally.
She identified the broker as Pa Samit, 32, a resident of Chamkar Kor village, who was taking the workers to Thailand via Lbeuk Svay Damnak Koh village, Svay Chek commune, Svay Chek district, Banteay Meanchey province.
She continued that the seven workers were sent to quarantine at Samdech Euv High School centre in Serei Sophorn city.
In another development, Mr Hun Sen yesterday approved an additional budget of $37,500 to three provinces and food and kits for another three provinces to aid those in quarantine.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Youk Sambath told local media that Koh Kong province received $12,500, Pursat received $12,500 and Preah Vihear received $12,500.
She said Battambang province received 1,000 cases of pure water and Banteay Meanchey province received 1,000 kits. Oddar Meanchey province received 500 kits and 500 cases of pure water.
As of Tuesday, more than 35,460 Cambodian workers have returned to Cambodia from Thailand. The Ministry of Health has found 89 cases of COVID-19 among the returnees.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health discovered four more imported COVID-19 cases which ended Cambodia’s five day period of no infection.
The ministry said one was an 18-year-old Indonesian man, residing in Chrey Thom Village, Sampov Poun commune, Koh Thom district, Kandal province. He had entered Cambodia from Indonesia via Singapore on February 16.
Another was an 18-year-old Indonesian woman residing in Poipet City, Banteay Meanchey province, who travelled from Indonesia on the same flight.
Both are currently being treated at the National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control in Phnom Penh.
The ministry said 126 passengers who flew in with them are still being quarantined in hotels or health centres in the capital.
It said the third case was a 31-year-old Chinese female who was in quarantine at a hotel in Phnom Penh and who had arrived in Cambodia via South Korea on February 7. She tested positive on her second test.
The patient is currently being treated at the National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control.
The fourth imported case was a 62-year-old Swiss man who was in quarantine at a hotel in Phnom Penh. He had travelled from Switzerland via Singapore and arrived in Cambodia on February 4.
The second test result of this man, provided by the National Institute of Public Health of the Ministry of Health, turned out to be positive for COVID-19 virus and the patient is currently being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh.