Curfew, Ban on Gatherings With Alcohol Ordered Nationwide Amid Delta Fears

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Prime Minister Hun Sen, in a photo posted on his Facebook page, addressed the nation on the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, even chastising some officials.

Phnom Penh is banning gatherings with alcohol or with more than 10 people, as well as going out after 9 p.m., following a nationwide order for municipal and provincial authorities to implement the measures to stop the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, while eight border provinces will also enter three-tiered lockdown tonight for two weeks.

The government issued two documents Wednesday night: one that imposes a lockdown, including a return of the three-color zone system, across eight provinces close to the Cambodia’s western border; and another document that orders a night curfew from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. for two weeks starting Thursday night.

The eight provinces are Pailin, Koh Kong, Pursat, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear and Siem Reap.

The orders come as the Ministry of Health confirmed on Tuesday the presence of the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus in local cases, some of whom had no contact with returning migrant workers from Thailand.

Also, Thailand and Vietnam have seen increases in Covid-19 cases, with both countries attributing the record cases to the Delta variant.

The eight-province lockdown allows provincial governors to create red, yellow and orange zones across their jurisdictions, including travel bans within and into the province.

Another document, posted to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Facebook page, ordered night curfews, bans on businesses like KTVs, bars, discos, beer gardens, resorts, parks, massage parlors and shops selling drinking alcohol, and prevents gatherings of more than 10 people or those that involve alcohol. Dine-in services at restaurants are also prohibited unless “restaurants and eateries can guarantee health measures, especially social distancing,” though takeaway and delivery are allowed.

Phnom Penh City Hall issued an announcement on Thursday implementing the measures. The City Hall document, however, did not include the exception allowing restaurants with health precautions to stay open, making it appear that authorities in the capital could be stricter about prohibiting dine-in. City Hall spokespeople could not immediately be reached for clarification.

Cambodia reported 765 new cases this morning, 328 of which were imported cases, as well as 11 deaths. There has been an increase in imported cases as Cambodian workers from Thailand return to escape the worsening Covid-19 situation in the neighboring country.

On Wednesday, Oddar Meanchey provincial authorities said three medical staffers were infected with the Delta variant after they performed health checks on workers who had returned from Thailand through the O’Smach border checkpoint.

Oddar Meanchey deputy governor Dy Rado said on Wednesday that five other people were found infected with the Delta variant, and none of them had contact with a returning migrant worker.

Dy Rado said, “Our health officials who checked our workers wore PPE suits. … I want to say that we followed the guidelines from the Ministry of Health.”

He added that an average of 400 workers were crossing the border into Cambodia daily and that so far officials had identified 100 positive cases this month and around 5,000 people were in quarantine.

Updated at 2:32 p.m. to clarify the dine-in ban at restaurants and eateries.

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