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13 Jul 2021

Morm Moniroth, VOD

Cambodia: Returning migrant workers complain about lack of support and public services at quarantine facilities provided by authorities

"Workers Returned From Thailand Complain of Difficulties in Quarantine", 13 July 2021

Mosquitoes, leaking roofs and no toilets — amid a surge of returnees from Covid-19-stricken Thailand, quarantine centers along the border in Oddar Meanchey province are facing a shortage of facilities, migrants and the provincial administration say.

Thailand reported more than 8,000 Covid-19 cases in one day ..., as infections are at record levels. The country reintroduced lockdowns in Bangkok, with Cambodian migrants facing the potential loss of incomes.

In Cambodia, the number of imported Covid-19 cases are on the rise. ..., 217 of 830 newly announced cases were imported, or 26 percent.

Bun Vibol, a migrant worker, said ... that he and about 200 others who had recently returned from Thailand through the O’Smach border checkpoint were required by authorities to conduct quarantine in Samraong city.

... Another worker from Thailand, Sokhorn, originally from Siem Reap province, said there was no medicine or toilets where she was in quarantine, while some other places that had bathrooms were dirty and unhygienic.

She said she had to sleep without a mosquito net, and when it rained they had to get up because the tarp roof leaked.

Sokhorn said the returnees were more worried about getting malaria or dengue than Covid-19.

... Moeun Tola, director of labor rights group Central, said the current influx of returnees of Thailand could be beyond authorities’ expectations.

Nevertheless, any shortage of bathrooms or mosquito nets at the Cambodian quarantine centers created a risk for non-Covid diseases, Tola said.

“It is important that the center has proper accommodations and proper medical facilities. And another thing, the hygiene in toilets or bathrooms is very important,” he said.