Singaporean Club Cambodia has asked the minister of transport of Singapore to negotiate a two-way air travel bubble or so-called green lane arrangement with Cambodia.
A letter was sent by Albert Tan, president of Singapore Club Cambodia, to Ong Ye Kung, the island nation’s minister of transport, stating that the Singaporean community in Cambodia wanted an easing of strict travel restrictions between the nations.
The letter said after the Singapore government imposed border restrictions, most of the Singaporeans who used to commute between both countries have been stuck in Cambodia to oversee their business or for their job security and so have not been able to return home since the end of March.
“I represent most of Singaporeans as well as Singapore businesses (the Singaporean community) who either have representatives here or are required to travel here regularly (pre-COVID-19) as we seek to expand our Singapore brands overseas and keep our businesses viable,” Tan said.
Tan explained in the letter that Cambodia currently has two internationally accredited testing laboratories that provide COVID-19 testing, a low number of confirmed cases, with zero deaths recorded.
Restrictions were imposed in March but Tan added that although they were lifted on May 20, the change was accompanied by strict entry requirements for all non-diplomatic foreigners entering Cambodia. They include requiring a negative-COVID-19 health certificate, medical insurance, testing upon arrival, 14 days of quarantine and further testing on day 13 of that period.
Tan noted the Cambodian government has banned all flights from Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines since August so Cambodia is considered a low-risk country for importing COVID-19.
The Vietnamese News Agency on Monday reported that Singapore and Indonesia have agreed to reopen borders between the two countries for essential business and official travel after months of closure to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
Those who meet the requirements for the arrangement will be subject to pre- and post-travel swab tests, the foreign ministries of the countries said in a joint statement on Monday. Indonesia has recorded more than 333,000 COVID-19 cases, the second-highest rate in Southeast Asia just behind the Philippines. Its capital Jakarta has imposed stringent measures to contain the pandemic. Meanwhile, Singapore confirmed a total of 57,876 infections and is seeing a handful of cases each day.
Tan, however, added Cambodia has no mass transportation system to aid delivery of the COVID-19 virus and Cambodia has a young population and low population density. He added Cambodians had a habit of wearing masks before COVID-19 struck and no positive cases recorded from Singaporeans who travelled home from Cambodia.
“I hope that the above points mentioned are strong enough cases to consider Cambodia as one of the first few countries for the two-way air travel bubble/green lane scheme,” he added.
Cambodian Ministry of Tourism Secretary of State Top Sopheak said the ministry of tourism has worked on a travel bubble list with low-risk COVID-19 countries in the region. However, he did not disclose which countries will be on it because the plan must be approved by the government.
Sopheak added countries that manage the spread of the virus well will be considered for the list.
“A travel bubble will bring safe tourists to visit Cambodia and make them safe,” he added. Sopheak said, “We will discuss their accommodation, where they go, how to facilitate their transport. We are considering all these tasks. Some countries have applied to join the travel bubble, but nobody can claim success yet and some have encountered issues to prevent it. We will look at the general view both from an economic perspective and how it affects livelihoods.”
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.