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Kingdom of Cambodia 2020: Part 7 – Time For Very Tiring But Casual 2nd COVID19 Test

cambodia covid19

Continuing the Cambodia adventure, we suppose to be in self-isolation for 14 days and on the 13th day, we are required to get the 2nd COVID19 test done. This is necessary if we are to get back our deposit that was collected when we first arrived in the country.

Read the earlier posts:-

We had 2 choices of hospitals to go for the 2nd COVID19 test – we were hoping to go to the one nearest to our hotel but then found out that we need to be there early as there is a limited slot for the test done in a day and if we miss the slot, we would have to come again another day.

We then managed to get in contact with someone from the Ministry of Health – a very friendly and helpful chap who advised us to go the other hospital which was further away but there would be fewer people there to do the COVID19 test. He also advised us on what to bring and what to do once we are there.

Fearing that there would be limited slot for testing in a day, we packed up and headed to the hospital as early as possible. We booked 2 cars via Grab but I made a mistake of picking the wrong hospital – both had the same name and was situated along the same road but one was a private hospital and another was a centre for COVID19 testing. We looked lost when the driver dropped us at the wrong hospital.

We had to google again the correct place and good thing was, the other car had reached the correct hospital and my colleagues managed to send the right location. We booked another ride via Grab and this time, we reached the correct hospital.

cambodia covid19

The main gate of the testing centre was locked and we were instructed by a lone guard at the front to go in through another gate where a couple of chairs and a lone table were put aside for the visiting foreigners wanting to do their 2nd COVID19 test. There was a small open hall at the front which was circled by some tape to keep the distance between the visitors and the health workers who were busy with manual paperwork (only the supervisor had a laptop).

We were given a form which had descriptions in Khmer and English to be filled up. Once done, we handed over the form with our passports and then we just need to wait for our names to be called up. It was a long wait for that – a couple of hours in fact and before we know it, the crowd waiting to do their test had swelled considerably. There was one lady who came over without bringing her passport – she was asked angrily by the staff to leave and come back another day.

A group of Chinese men came to do the test and as they are from Mainland China, almost everyone looked worried. These guys could not read Khmer or English and look lost when it was time for them to fill up the registration form. They could only speak Mandarin and none of the medical staff knew Mandarin. We could have just left them to their own business on this but in the end, one of my colleagues assisted them to fill-up the form.

After waiting for some time under the sun and to some extend, getting very thirsty and hungry, one of the medical staff shouted something in Khmer and soon the crowd that was lingering around the entrance started to move towards to the large building at the back. We did not understand Khmer so we assumed the best and started to follow the crowd as well. We were stopped outside the main entrance to the building and asked to wait until our names are called.

cambodia covid19

And here is the funny part, the medical staff who was just minutes before just was dressed casual and at times not wearing a mask or gloves, was suddenly in full PPE suit. It was kind of laughable to this kind of selective precautions to something serious like COVID19 but then again, it was nothing new. Outside some establishments, there is little social distancing, the need to wear a mask and get your hands sanitized.

We had to wait for a moment before our names were all called but it was called wrongly – the pronunciations all were confusing so we had to personally check the name on the list when the names were called out. We were given a container containing swabs and asked to line up with some distancing with each other (distancing that was clearly missing when we were waiting at the registration place).

Then we were asked to enter another room where the actual COVID19 test was administered – obviously, the staff wanted to clear the crowd before their lunchtime so we were asked to move fast and not to delay.

The swab test this time was another painful experience but after 2 minutes, it was all over. We were then ushered out and then about it – no further instructions were given. Whoever done the test, started to leave the premise so we decided to do the same. We asked one of the staff who looked like the supervisor but even he looked clueless when we asked in English on what would be the next step.

We saw most of the visitors had left the hospital so we decided to leave as well and check with our contacts at the MOH for further details on to be done next. We left and went back to our hotel and waited for further instructions. The contact at MOH then updated us on the next steps – apparently, if we don’t get any calls in the next 3 days, it means our test is negative and we can be free from our self-isolation. And yes, we can also go to the designated bank to get the balance of our COVID19 deposit.

We were back to the hotel, continuing our self-isolation until the 3 days had passed. We did not get any calls but I did get one wrong number to my phone which initially caught me off-guard. We were free to get back to work and more importantly free to change our accommodation to somewhere closer to the workplace and somehow cheaper than the self-isolation hotel.

To be continued in Part 8

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