Cambodia cuts quarantine for unvaccinated visitors to 7 days

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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Cambodia on Thursday reduced the required quarantine period from two weeks to one for arriving travelers who are not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, acting after recording consistently low numbers of new infections in recent days.

The Health Ministry also said that travelers arriving by air who have not been fully vaccinated must take a rapid antigen test on the last day of their quarantine. Arrivals by land — mostly Cambodian workers in neighboring countries — are required to take rapid antigen tests on arrival as well as on the last day of quarantine.

Cambodia had already opened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers on Nov. 15 in an effort to revitalize its tourism-reliant economy.

The changes announced Thursday come about a month after another easing of pandemic-related restrictions for visitors from abroad, including the dropping of mandatory COVID-19 tests for travelers who have been vaccinated. Visas on arrival were also restored last month.

Before the pandemic, Cambodia had developed its tourism industry into an important source of revenue, and in 2019 welcomed a record 6.61 million foreign tourists who spent about $5.31 billion, just under 20% of the county’s gross national product, according to Tourism Ministry statistics.

The number of tourist arrivals in 2020 plunged to 1.31 million, accounting for $1.12 billion in revenue, or just over 4% of GNP. Tourist arrivals last year declined even further to 196,495, accounting for just $184 million in revenue.

The Health Ministry on Thursday reported 29 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the nation’s confirmed total since the pandemic began to 136,146 cases, including 3,056 deaths.

About 92% of Cambodia’s almost 17 million people have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination.

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