Cambodian officials to discuss easing COVID-19 restrictions in eight provinces bordering Thailand

Cambodian officials will decide today whether to ease COVID-19 restrictions in eight provinces bordering Thailand. Phnom Penh locked down the

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Photo: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

Cambodian officials will decide today whether to ease COVID-19 restrictions in eight provinces bordering Thailand.

Phnom Penh locked down the border provinces two weeks ago to prevent Thailand’s Delta Variant outbreak from spreading to Cambodia. Over 200,000 Cambodian migrant workers had been returning to Cambodia since the COVID-19 variant outbreak beset Thailand, so Cambodian officials bolstered testing facilities and initiated border lockdowns to manage overland migrant worker repatriation from Thailand. Since April there have been more than 750,000 new cases and more than 6000 deaths in Thailand, but its full vaccination rate has stagnated at 6%.

Expect the Phnom Penh to maintain the closure of its land border with Thailand today as coronavirus cases continue to surge in Thailand. Still, while Cambodia has successfully managed to stifle its COVID-19 outbreak, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on Cambodia’s migrant working community.

Short-term, returned migrants are likely to retain high debts due to their initial migration costs. In the long-term, as remittances from the laborers are no longer available, migrant household incomes and poverty alleviation efforts will suffer. Cambodia has one of the lowest GDP per capita in Asia at around $4695, and heavily relies on remittance flows from Thailand.

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