Cambodia and the Philippines are Easing Entry Rules

Overseas tourists bound for Siem Reap no longer need to be tested for Covid-19 ahead of their trips.

Photo: George Bakos/Unsplash

Cambodia has become the first country in Southeast Asia to drop its pre-departure testing requirement for international arrivals, replacing it with a non-binding recommendation for visitors to screen themselves with a rapid antigen test. Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the decision earlier today in a speech, adding that the measure would help boost the tourism and business sectors. “Now it’s the stage to open the economy by learning how to live with Covid,” he said.

The new rule takes immediate effect for fully inoculated tourists and returning Cambodians. Travelers who do not have a valid vaccination certificate will still be quarantined for 14 days. Phnom Penh has signaled that it will resume issuing visas on arrival but did not set out a clear date for when that would happen.

Neighboring Thailand is considering a similar step, with health ministry due to propose changes to the nation’s coronavirus task force when it meets on Friday. If approved, travelers will no longer be required to show a negative result from a PCR test up to 72 hours before departure, and the mandatory health insurance coverage for foreign visitors will be reduced from at least US$50,000 to US$10,000.

Over in the Philippines, the pre-departure testing requirement has been updated to allow laboratory-based rapid antigen tests taken no more than 24 hours before travel. Authorities there are on track to abolish capacity limits on international arrivals at all ports of entry come April 1. On the same date, consulates and embassies will resume issuing tourist visas, which are necessary for travelers from China and India. Manila is also reinstating visa-free access to Hong Kong and Macau passport holders, who can stay in the country for up to 14 days.

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