The Ministry of Health reported 477 more Covid-19 cases following a record 576 new cases announced on Friday, as Phnom Penh authorities announced lockdowns in several villages and communes.
The World Health Organization warned of a “national tragedy” if cases continue to rise, while Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the creation of a special court to prosecute Covid-19 violations.
Violators of Covid-19 public health measures should be arrested one day and put on trial the next, Prime Minister Hun Sen said, ordering the creation of a special court to crack down on those who flout travel bans and other orders.
Speaking for three hours on Saturday morning amid a surge in novel coronavirus cases, Hun Sen asked for more help from the military as hospitals run out of room for Covid-19 patients, said laboratories had failed to prioritize high-risk cases for testing, and forecast that the country would be able to obtain only 11 million doses of vaccines this year — about half its ultimate goal of 20 million doses to vaccinate 10 million people. Full Story.
The Health Ministry announced 477 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, as Phnom Penh and a few provinces imposed lockdowns and restrictions on movements. 454 of the cases were in Phnom Penh, six in Preah Sihanouk, four cases found in each of Kandal, Takeo and Svay Rieng, three in Prey Veng and one each in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap.
Cambodia currently has 1,970 active cases, with the World Health Organization saying the outbreak has the potential to overwhelm the country’s health system.
There were 96 recoveries and two reported deaths: a 55-year-old Cambodian man from Phnom Penh, who had severe lung damage; and a 59-year-old Kandal man, who died on Friday before reaching a hospital.
The World Health Organization in Cambodia said the country risked a “national tragedy” if it was unable to stop the current Covid-19 outbreak, which had the potential to overwhelm the country’s health system.
“We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of COVID-19. Despite our best efforts, we are struggling to control the virus,” said WHO country representative Li Ailan. Full Story.
The warning comes as hundreds of cases have been reported in the last two days, especially in Phnom Penh, resulting in targeted lockdowns and further restrictions on movements.
VOD cameraman Chorn Chanren photographed a roadblock outside the Stung Meanchey pagoda in Stung Meanchey II commune, which has been placed under lockdown for two weeks.
Phnom Penh City Hall has locked down seven villages and two communes for fear of Covid-19 transmission following the emergence of hundreds of new cases in the capital. Full story.
The lockdowns bar residents from leaving their homes except for work and emergencies and to buy supplies two times a week.
More than 250 Covid-19 cases were found at a Meanchey district garment factory, Phnom Penh City Hall announced late Friday, as workers spoke of fears and alleged delayed action. Full story.
Update: On Saturday morning, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the total cases at the factory now numbered over 630.
Siem Reap provincial authorities have warned that a woman who traveled on a bus with 19 other people from Svay Rieng province to Siem Reap on April 4 tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday.
Authorities have closed a market, clinic and other locations in Siem Reap city’s Kokchak commune, they said, and called on all of the bus’s passengers as well as anyone who may have visited the affected locations to be tested and go into quarantine.
The provinces of Siem Reap and Ratanakiri have announced stricter public health measures, including the closure of restaurants at night.
A statement by the Siem Reap provincial administration said that from April 10 to 24, all dine-in restaurants would be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., and residents must adhere to a curfew during the same hours except in emergencies.
Until April 20, no travel in or out of the province is allowed, and all tourism sites are closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the administration said.
Ratanakiri, which has yet to record a single case of the virus, also announced a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. until April 20, with the exception of emergencies. People are not allowed to gather in restaurants during those hours.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has begun a prepared speech, which is being broadcast live on his Facebook page.
He said the country had recorded a further 483 cases of Covid-19 amid Cambodia’s worst outbreak to date.