Crowding at NagaWorld as Workers Return for Second Covid-19 Tests

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Hundreds of workers crowd outside Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino waiting to give samples for Covid-19 testing on March 12, 2021. (Chorn Chanren/VOD)
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Hundreds of workers crowded outside Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino as many returned for their second Covid-19 tests following the discovery of several cases there, a workers’ boycott and the suspension of operations last week.

Workers said there had been a delay in the start of sample gathering for some 3,000 workers on Friday, leading to an overlap in designated time slots.

Phouk Solinda, a communications officer at the casino, said she was not there and had no information.

Worker Choub Channath, 43, said no one was adhering to the 1.5-meter distancing requirements.

“Have [we] come to give samples or to infect each other?” he said. “Is this the company or ministry’s mistake?”

Another worker, who would only give her name as Phary, 41, said she waited since 8 a.m., but the process only began at 10:30 a.m.

“My line is very long,” she said. “Regarding social distancing, I am speechless because we cannot find enough space to stand.”

Chhun Samphy, 37, said she had stayed home as asked of her for two weeks since the first test.

“We have not been anywhere,” Samphy said. “The company should take a few days to do it. Since they said they would do it in only one day the staff have flocked to take the test.”

Union representative Chhim Sithar said she wanted all workers tested at the casino’s two complexes instead of just a selection of 3,000 deemed at higher risk.

“Our union has submitted an open letter three times and two public statements,” Sithar said.

Despite being closed for part of 2020, NagaCorp this week announced a net profit of over $102 million for the year, down from $521 million in 2019.

The annual report says Covid-19 has been relatively well-contained in Cambodia, and domestic demand and economic activity have been gradually “returning to normalcy.”

“[T]he Group expects to continue its growth trajectory, and believes that the long-term prospects and outlook of the Group will remain stable,” it says.

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