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Nations across the 10-country ASEAN region are introducing bans on travel from Schengen visa countries in Europe and the United Kingdom.

Cambodia has announced a ban on citizens from five countries: Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and the USA, effective 17 March.

All schools in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh have closed with immediate effect, and the Angkor Songkran festival in mid-April has been cancelled. Tourist sites are open and operating normally.

The ban on travellers from the five European nations will remain in place for 30 days. It also includes a ban of all international river cruises entering Cambodia’s waterways from neighbouring Vietnam that came into effect at the weekend.

Cambodia cracked down on tourist boat river sailings after three British nationals tested positive for the Covid-19 virus after travelling on a tourist boat on the Mekong River, the Ministry of Health reported late last week.

The three British tourists joined a Viking river cruise that docked in Kampong Cham province, north of the capital, Phnom Penh according to Cambodia Daily.

It had cruised the Mekong river delta from neighbouring Vietnam to Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital. The health ministry said 61 passengers tested negative. They disembarked but are now in quarantine.

Effective 15 March, Vietnam has temporarily banned foreign travellers from Schengen visa countries plus the UK who have visited or transited through any of the stated countries within 14 days. The ban will remain in place for 30 days.

The 26 Schengen countries: Austria; Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark, Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Iceland; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden and Switzerland.

Meanwhile, Singapore extends its travel ban on mainland China and South Korea to include foreign travellers who have travelled to or transited in  Italy, France, Spain or Germany within the last 14 days.

Malaysia announced a ban, 15 March, on all visitors who travelled to Hubei, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces in China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Denmark and Hokkaido Island in Japan within the last 14 days of arriving in Malaysia.

Covid-19 infections in the 10 ASEAN nations reached 693 on 14 March with Singapore reporting 200 cases and Malaysia 197 the highest in the region, while Laos and Myanmar remained clear of the virus.

Thailand reported 75 cases since the outbreak started last January, Indonesia 69 the Philippines  64, Vietnam 44, Brunei 37 and Cambodia seven.

At the weekend, the ASEAN region recorded 123 new cases and 10 deaths.

(Graph: AEC News Today)