Cambodia is Pricing Out Visitors with Expensive Safety Protocols

All foreign arrivals will be required to pay a deposit of US$3,000 up front, of which US$100 will be spent on mandatory testing.

Sunset over Phnom Penh and the Mekong River. (Photo: Adam Hill/Pixabay)

According to the English-language newspaper Khmer Times, the Cambodian government has recently announced details of a user-pays model applicable to all non-citizens planning to visit the country. Foreign arrivals are now expected to shoulder the cost of Covid-19 testing and medical treatment as well as accommodation during quarantine.

The new requirements drawn up by the Cambodian health ministry are intended to prevent a second wave of infections. Anyone who visits Cambodia must show proof of medical insurance of no less than US$50,000 and a health certificate stating that they have tested negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of departure.

Upon arrival, all foreigners are obliged to give a deposit US$3,000 by cash or credit card in case of medical treatment. Then, they must pay US$5 for the bus ride from the airport to a Covid-19 testing facility, where they are expected to fork out US$100 for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. And that’s not all: an overnight stay in a hotel or waiting center will cost US$30, with another US$30 to be paid for three meals. The best-case scenario is if the whole group tests negative, in which travelers will be allowed to continue their journey after being charged a total of US$165 from the US$3,000 deposit, with the remainder refunded according to their method of payment.

However, should anyone test positive, all passengers on the same flight will be quarantined for 14 days in a government-designated facility. Travelers will have to foot the bill; the quarantine itself will cost US$84 per day, which comes to US$1,176 in total, not including an additional swab test at US$100.

If hospitalization is required, that will amount to US$225 per day, covering not just medical treatment and the hospital room but also meals, laundry, and sanitary services. A further US$400 will be charged for up to four swab tests. In the event of death, cremation will cost US$1,500.

The Cambodian government has not given a timeframe for how long these expensive new measures will apply, or whether they will be dropped when a vaccine becomes available.

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