Cambodia, which until now had been of the last countries in South-East Asia to have (almost) completely open borders, has now been almost shut to the outside world due to COVID-19.
This comes following the suspension last week of cross-border activities with Vietnam, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Thailand, and now Laos (which officially reports no cases) have now since followed suit citing coronavirus fears. Cambodia, which currently restricts travel from countries such as Italy, and the USA never enforced any kind of restrictions on travel to and from China, even during the height of infections there.
As stated by Lieutenant General Leang Phearom, Interior Ministry’s border protection police department chief;
“All the border crossings in 19 places, including the international border checkpoint with Thailand, are closed. They are the international border checkpoints at Poipet-Banteay Meanchey, Phnom Chy-Battambang, O’Smach-Oddar Meanchey, Prum-Pailin; 15 regional border checkpoints in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey; and two districts border checkpoints in Battambang and Banteay Meanchey,” he said.
“All cross-border activities, including people movement, are affected, but the exchange of goods at the international border checkpoints will be allowed after truck drivers are thoroughly screened for coronavirus,” Lt Gen Phearom added.
Officially the border closures will remain until April 5th. Still, much like similar closures in places like the Philippines, the date is very tentative, with its reopening being very much dependent on if the spread of the coronavirus has been stemmed.
Cambodia has recently been a favourite destination for those fleeing border closures, and quarantine in other countries with the country only on a semi-lockdown.
Cambodia also offers a month-long visa on arrival to a large number of countries. This visa can be extended for an additional month, but with further extensions requiring a visa run.
What will happen to people essentially locked into the country and unable to do a visa run is as yet unknown, with the hope among ex-pats and travellers alike that Cambodia introduces automatic extensions, as were done in China.
Stay Safe wherever you might be!