Cambodia blames border virus spread on Thai truckers

Cambodia blames border virus spread on Thai truckers

Ban Laem checkpoint in Pong Nam Ron district of Chanthaburi, the entryway to Battambang province of Cambodia. (Photo from Talad Ban Laem Chanthaburi FC Facebook account)
Ban Laem checkpoint in Pong Nam Ron district of Chanthaburi, the entryway to Battambang province of Cambodia. (Photo from Talad Ban Laem Chanthaburi FC Facebook account)

Cambodian authorities suspect truck drivers delivering goods from Thailand have spread Covid-19 to the border province of Battambang.

Sok Sokhun, chief of the district, said cross-border truckers could be the reason for the spread of the coronavirus in the province. It was possible they showed no symptoms during border testing or lowered their guard after they arrived in Cambodia.

“The influx of positive Covid-19 cases is among vendors and the affected market is located close to the Duong international checkpoint. We believe the high number of vendors testing positive for Covid-19 is because of truck drivers, who number up to 600 a day,” the Khmer Times on Monday quoted him as saying.

“This checkpoint has no migrant workers crossing over, only truck drivers who deliver goods between Cambodia and Thailand,” he added.

The Doung border pass is opposite the Ban Laem checkpoint in Pong Nam Ron district of Chanthaburi. About 600 lorries cross the border every day, carrying essential goods into Cambodia, according to the Cambodian district official.

His suspicions are backed up by the spread of the virus at Kamrieng, a Cambodian market on the Thai-Cambodian border where lorries stop for goods delivery.

Cambodian authorities closed the market for one day on Wednesday to contain the surge.

Testing has been carried out on 700 vendors at the market and more than 250 returned positive since Wednesday, according to Sok Sokhun.

Cambodia is being battered by an outbreak of the Delta variant. New infections sharply rose from about 2,500 in April to 99,000 cases as of Monday, according to worldometers, which tracks the pandemic around the globe.

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