BORDER MANAGEMENT DURING COVID-19
The Thai Government closed all major border checkpoints with Cambodia on 23rd March 2020, causing thousands of Cambodian migrant workers to rush back to the country over the fear of being stranded in Thailand. To date, nearly 120,000 migrants have returned to Cambodia from overseas, with reports that many more will arrive once the borders re-open.
In mid-July 2020, the Thai authorities have decided to open selected checkpoints to transport goods between Thailand and Cambodia. Only trucks which can carry up to two passengers (who are screened for COVID-19 symptoms) are allowed to enter Thailand.
The Vietnamese government has locked down its borders with Cambodia since 15th March 2020, reportedly causing disruptions to traders living in the border areas both in Vietnam and in Cambodia. There is very limited information about the level of preparedness of Cambodian frontline border officers at the Vietnamese border to follow COVID-19 preventive measures and Standard Operating Procedures once the movement restrictions are lifted.
Like Thailand, Lao People’s Democratic Republic in March closed its border checkpoint along the border shared with Cambodia to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Both countries only share one international checkpoint located in Stung Treng province and Laos’ Champasak province.