Two Thai provinces to open border for Cambodians seeking emergency medical help

Goods transportation at Battambang checkpoints shared border with Thailand’s Sakeo province has now resumed operations, People travel through a Cambodia-Thai border before the COVID-19 outbreak. KT/Ven Rathavong. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

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PHNOM PENH, May 20, 2020, The Khmer Times. While Cambodia and Thailand are continuing a lockdown of their common border to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, low-level negotiations between both sides at the Oddar Meanchay international checkpoints have yielded a compromise – The Thais will allow residents in the province needing medical attention to cross the border and seek emergency treatment in Thailand, The Khmer Times reported.

However, the Thais have made it clear that this does not apply to patients with symptoms of COVID-19.

Provincial governor Pen Kosal told a press conference today talks on border cooperation to prevent the virus spread have been ongoing between provincial authorities and their counterparts in Thailand’s Surin and Sisaket provinces.

“Both sides have agreed to work together to strengthen preventive measures at the border,” he said. The Thais also agreed to allow people from Oddar Meanchay to seek emergency medical treatment across the border,” he said.

Mr Kosal added that both sides also discussed cooperation on allowing trading and transporting goods through the border.

Khlork Huot, provincial health department director, said today the Thai authorities in both provinces agreed to allow border crossings for emergency medical treatment on a case to case basis.

“Only special cases will be allowed to cross the border for emergency treatment. They [the Thais] are providing priority for emergency cases,” he said, adding that patients should be clear from COVID-19.

He said 15,554 migrant workers have crossed the border since March through the O’samch and Choam international checkpoints and some have already returned to their respective provinces.

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