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Cambodia reverses travel ban on Omicron variant-hit African nations

IANS | December 06, 2021 12:48 PM

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia has removed a ban on travellers from 10 African countries after it was imposed nearly a week ago due to the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Health Minister Mam Bunheng said.

With the approval from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Health (MoH) decided to lift the ban on travellers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola and Zambia, he said, adding that the removal took effect immediately on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency.

But the travellers from the 10 countries and those who have a history of traveling to the nations in the last two weeks must undergo a rapid test for Covid-19 upon their arrival in Cambodia, he said.

"If the result is negative, they must go into a seven-day quarantine and then take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on the sixth day of the quarantine, " the Health Minister said.

Fully vaccinated travellers must show a medical certificate certifying that they have tested negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours prior to their arrival in Cambodia, he said, adding that unvaccinated passengers will be required to undergo a full 14-day quarantine.

The reversal came after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday that he was deeply concerned about the isolation of southern African countries due to the Omicron variant travel restrictions.

The Omicron variant, first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) from South Africa on November 24, has not yet been detected in Cambodia.

Cambodia reported 24 new Covid cases in the past one day, pushing the national total caseload to 120, 256, the MoH said, adding that four more fatalities have been confirmed, bringing the overall death toll to 2, 960.

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