Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Stranded passengers petition UK for help

Mar 30. 2020
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By Niem Chheng |
The Phnom Penh Post

Some 10,521 foreigners in Cambodia, the bulk being from the UK, have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly them out of the Kingdom. The petition is targeted at 15,000 foreigners.

Among them are nearly 200 Europeans, the majority being British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled their flights, according to the list shared in a Facebook group “Stranded in Cambodia UK”.

“We desperately need your help to get home! There are a number of British citizens who are stranded here in Cambodia with no option to return home.

“There seems to be no option for us to get home without the help of the British government to organise a chartered flight,” the petition said.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong and Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman Sin Chan Sereyvutha said they did not have information on the stranded Britons.

The plea for help from the British government has come amid the growing number of Covid-19 cases in the Kingdom.

In its latest case on Sunday, the Ministry of Health said a 36-year-old woman living in Paliley village, in Poipet commune, Poipet town was infected and is being treated at the provincial referral hospital.

On Saturday, it said four cases were found in Cambodians of a single family, including a 62-year-old father, 61-year-old mother, 39-year-old son, and 37-year-old daughter.

They are being treated at the Chak Angre Krom Health Centre in Phnom Penh.

“The family had travelled to France, and the 37-year-old man returned on March 15 with minor health problems. Three other family members returned on March 24, also with minor health problems,” the ministry said.

The ministry said 174 Chinese nationals arrived on an inbound flight from the Philippines last Tuesday in transit to China. Two of them had suspicious symptoms, but their samples had tested negative for Covid-19, and they have since been discharged from the Svay Rieng provincial referral hospital.

It also said 21 persons had recovered since the first case was detected in January. They included the first Chinese national, three British, a French national, and 16 Cambodians.

“Eighty-two people, including 26 women and 56 men, are still being treated in state hospitals at national and sub-national levels. Of the 103 positive cases found in the Kingdom, 28 are women and 75 men,” the ministry said on Sunday.

Meantime, Cambodia will enforce entry restrictions on all foreigners from midnight on Monday to reduce and contain the transmission of Covid-19. This comes after the Kingdom recorded its 103rd case on Sunday. The latest measures are among actions the government has taken thus far.

In an announcement on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the decision was in line with measures taken in Asean countries.

The latest restriction also includes a month-long suspension of the visa exemption policy, tourist visa, e-visa, and visa on arrival.

Foreigners wishing to enter Cambodia must have a prior visa issued by a Cambodian mission abroad and a medical certificate issued no longer than 72 hours before travelling to the Kingdom, certifying that the person is not Covid-19 positive.

The individual must also prove to have insurance policy coverage of not less than $50,000 during his intended stay in Cambodia. But health certification and insurance are not applicable for those who hold diplomatic and official visas.

All foreigners will be subject to health risk assessment by competent government officials.

“He/She will also be subjected to mandatory isolation, quarantine, or any other measure to prevent and contain the virus as prescribed by the Ministry of Health of Cambodia,” the ministry said, adding that the measure will be updated in line with the global development of the pandemic.

Kuong said on Sunday that the latest measures were an add-on to the previous decision where nationals from Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Iran, and the US were banned from entering Cambodia.

In regard to Covid-19, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday sent an audio message ordering the authorities to confiscate all Covid-19 rapid test kits which have been advertised on social media.

“We don’t have any other option. Now, Minister Mam Bun Heng, as the one who knows the story has to work with the police and confiscate all such devices immediately. Seize all devices which are not authorised by the World Health Organisation [WHO],” Hun Sen said.

He said measures to educate the public in so far as such devices are concerned has ended. “Those kits are advertised more in Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh city governor Khuong Sreng must go down to seize them immediately.

“Let me make it clear, my order is issued to ensure the public’s interests and protect them from the danger of this pandemic, which is being made worse by these people [who are selling the devices].

“Therefore, I command all forces to go out to those places. All city and provincials governors have to check. I am calling for immediate action and the forces must be activated immediately,” Hun Sen stressed.

Earlier on Sunday, the Ministry of Health warned that legal measures would be taken against anyone who advertised Covid-19 rapid test kits for sale.

It said various rapid test devices have been produced to test for Covid-19, but none had been certified by the WHO. It said the result from the rapid test is less reliable.

“Rapid test devices are not recognised by the ministry and legal action will be taken against those who advertise the sale of such devices without permission,”it said.

“The ministry calls on the relevant authorities to take the strictest legal actions against individuals or companies that advertise Covid-19 rapid test kits without the ministry’s permission,” it said.

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