Four Provinces Can Now Go Mask-Free: Hun Sen

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The Independent Monument in Ratanakiri province’s Banlung city. (Keat Soriththeavy/VOD)

Mask-wearing is no longer required in four provinces, Prime Minister Hun Sen declared on Sunday.

In a voice message posted online, Hun Sen identified Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear as no longer requiring residents to wear masks. Those who want to keep wearing masks can continue to do so, he noted.

“We will let them make their own decision on whether they should wear a mask,” Hun Sen said. “Our people can take responsibility for themselves … let them choose for themselves.”

In urban areas with crowds, people may decide it is advisable to continue wearing the masks even in the four provinces, he said.

Mask-wearing was mandated at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic as one of the Health Ministry’s preventative measures alongside washing hands, avoiding crowded places and other recommendations.

Hun Sen added on Sunday that people traveling to those four provinces do not need to wear a mask, but people leaving those provinces for others where mask-wearing is still required would need to put one on.

He said the policy was a trial, and the four provinces should be prepared with rapid Covid-19 tests to monitor the situation.

The policy should be implemented immediately, Hun Sen said, asking the Health Ministry and other stakeholders to meet to provide further guidance.

Hun Sen suggested the change a week ago, citing the costs of buying masks for residents.

Covid-19 cases in Cambodia have been on the decline, reaching around 30 reported cases a day over the past week.

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