Cambodia reopens its doors two weeks early, buoyed by high vaccination rates

Cambodia reopens its doors two weeks early, buoyed by high vaccination rates

Phnom Penh Cambodia reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers on Monday, two weeks earlier than originally planned, emerging from a prolonged lockdown backed by one of the world’s highest vaccination rates against COVID-19.

The program allows visitors to bypass quarantine procedures if they are fully vaccinated, test negative 72 hours before they enter the country and test negative upon arrival.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has decided to raise the opening date from November 30 to November 15 to start revitalizing the country’s economic and social activity as soon as possible, backed by the fact that 88% of Cambodians are now fully vaccinated.

The situation has changed,” Hun Sen said in an audio message posted on social media.

The ministry said the previous plan was to reopen by initially restricting travelers to two coastal provinces, but the new plan means fully vaccinated travelers will be free to visit anywhere in the country after testing negative.

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Unvaccinated travelers will still have to undergo a strict 14-day quarantine upon arrival and undergo a series of coronavirus tests before they can travel further.

In 2019, before the pandemic, Cambodia received 6.6 million foreigners representing nearly $5 billion in revenue. Most of them visited the famous Angkor temples in Siem Reap province and coastal destinations, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

In 2020, the number of visitors fell sharply to 1.3 million and their profits fell to about one billion dollars.

The vaccination campaign in Cambodia started slowly but escalated rapidly. Children aged 5 years and over have been included in the program since the beginning of November.

Restrictions on domestic tourism, schools and other sectors were also lifted at the beginning of the month.

The Ministry of Health reported 52 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and five deaths, bringing the total number of infections in Cambodia to 119,588 cases and 2,872 deaths since the beginning of the epidemic.

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