On Saturday, March 14, Cambodia's Ministry of Health announced a temporary entry ban on foreign travelers from Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and the US for 30 days with effect from Tuesday, March 17, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. According to media reports, authorities are also considering banning entry of Iranians into Cambodia as an added measure. Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged Cambodians to refrain from traveling to Europe, the US, and Iran to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic. As a precautionary measure, all government officials and citizens returning from these regions will need to undergo a 14-day quarantine according to the Ministry of Health's procedures. Additionally, schools in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh remain closed since Saturday, March 7.
The Ministry of Health has confirmed 12 cases of the virus nationwide as of Monday, March 16. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.