Health ministry issues SOP for travellers

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Travellers arrive at Phnom Penh International airport last year. Heng Chivoan

The Ministry of Health released their official Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on October 20 for all travellers to Cambodia, with the specific instructions varying according to whether the traveller is fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated or unvaccinated.

The SOP document is essentially identical to the updated quarantine requirements notice issued on October 16 which detailed the requirements and steps to be taken by inbound travellers to Cambodia.

According to the SOP, the duration of quarantine for vaccinated senior government officials returning from missions abroad and official “government guests” will be decided by the relevant ministries on a case-by-case basis.

Fully-vaccinated foreign investors, technical staff, employees of private companies, diplomats, NGO project managers, civil servants returning from missions abroad and the family members of anyone who falls into one of these categories will be subject to 3-day quarantine and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at their point of entry.

Ordinary travellers who are fully vaccinated – both Cambodian citizens and foreign nationals – must undergo quarantine for 7 days. They must also take a rapid antigen test on arrival at their point of entry and then a PCR test on day 6 of quarantine.

All partially-vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers must undergo 14 days quarantine with a rapid antigen test on arrival and a PCR test on day 13 of quarantine.

Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng said that with the majority of Cambodians vaccinated and good progress being made administering booster jabs the nation is in a better overall situation now and so the government is proceeding with the reopening of schools and businesses and the resumption of all other socioeconomic activities.

“I believe that this SOP... will be implemented nationwide to ensure the gradual resumption of all socioeconomic activities within the new normal and it will effectively eliminate the spread of the disease from inbound travellers,” Bun Heng said.

Separately, German ambassador to Cambodia Christian Berger donated 80 oxygen concentrators to the health ministry to improve patient care for seriously-ill Covid-19 infected persons, according to a press statement from the German embassy in Phnom Penh.

“This equipment filters and concentrates oxygen from the ambient air and can thus greatly reduce the costs and logistics of oxygen provision for severely-ill Covid-19-patients and other patients in need of oxygen,” the statement said.

It went on to detail that of the 80 concentrators, 10 will go to the National Paediatric Hospital in the capital, while 30 will go to hospitals in Kampot province, 10 to Kep hospitals, and 30 to Kampong Thom hospitals.

“The oxygen concentrators represent a much larger package of vital infrastructure support to national and provincial hospitals from Germany and financed through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and distributed by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ),” it said, referring to the German agency for international cooperation.

The embassy noted that over the years Germany has financed the renovation and building of emergency rooms, outpatient wards and isolation wards at seven hospitals in those same three provinces.

Further, it mentioned that GIZ has also purchased a liquid oxygen tank system for the Covid-19 ward at Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, syringe pumps, patient monitors, an autoclave for use in sterilizing laboratory equipment and waste, X-ray machines and other oxygen equipment for Cambodian hospitals.

It said approximately $240,000 was spent on Information Technology and other equipment for the health ministry’s Communicable Diseases Control Department and the Cambodian Laboratory Information System.

“Overall, Germany has provided $5.011 million in extra Covid-19 funding for technical cooperation with the health sector of the Kingdom, with approximately $1.3 million being spent on equipment and infrastructure support,” the press statement said.