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Foreigners to be charged “$3000 deposit” for C-19 quarantine, tests

The government has decided to charge all foreign visitors for lab testing, medical treatment and accommodation under health measures to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 (C-19) transmission in the country.

Under the Kingdom’s health measures, all travelers, both Cambodians and foreigners, who travel to Cambodia will be transferred from airports to waiting centres where COVID-19 swab tests are done. They are required to remain at the centres until the test results are released.

Sao Wathana, director of the Phnom Penh International Airport, said yesterday the new requirements imposed for foreign arrivals will take effect from today.

“Upon arrival, all foreign passengers are required to deposit $3,000 at the airport to pay for the virus prevention services,” he said. “Passengers can pay in cash or through credit cards.”

He added that those who test negative for the virus will only be charged the fees for the test and will be given back the remainder of their deposit.

Finance Minister Aun Pornmoinroth said in a statement on Monday that he agreed to a request by the Ministry of Health to charge foreigners for COVID-19 lab tests, quarantine and medical treatment services.

He instructed the Health Ministry to discuss with relevant banks the possibility of setting up offices in the airport for foreigners to pay the $3,000 deposit

The Health Ministry said in a statement that a foreigner will have to pay $5 for a single trip between the airport and the waiting centre, $100 for a COVID-19 test, $30 for a day’s stay at a hotel or at a waiting centre while waiting for the test results and $30 for three meals during their wait.

It added that if any passenger tests positive for COVID-19, those on the same flight will be quarantined for 14 days and each will be required to pay $100 for one test and $84 dollars a day to pay for the stay in a hotel or quarantine facility, meals, laundry, sanitary services, doctors and security services.

According to the statement, each COVID-19 positive patient will be required to pay $100 per test [maximum four tests] and $225 a day for the hospital room, medical treatment, meals, laundry and sanitary services. It added that in case of death, the cremation service charge is $1,500.

Sechou Sethychout, deputy director of the health department at Preah Sihanouk province, said yesterday all passengers need to be ready and have enough money to pay for the COVID-19-related services.

“During the first stage we provided the services free of charge because our country was not really prepared,” he said. “But now we have to put in place measures to prevent a second wave of the virus,” Mr Sethychout said, adding that all countries charge arriving passengers for virus prevention services.

In March, Prime Minister Hun Sen said all patients, regardless of their nationalities, who test positive for the new coronavirus in Cambodia are entitled to have free medical treatment. “We are poor, but our heart is big,” Mr Hun Sen said at that time.

To date Cambodia has 126 coronavirus cases, most of which were imported.

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