New, Unspecified Covid-19 Restrictions to Replace Lockdown From Thursday

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A guard talks into a loudspeaker as customers buy vegetables before a two-week market shutdown, near Phnom Penh’s Olympic Market on April 24, 2021. (Danielle Keeton-Olsen/VOD)

The government late Monday announced an end to the lockdowns of Phnom Penh and Takhmao city starting Thursday, to be replaced with measures to be decided by municipal and provincial governors.

It did not specify what those new measures would be, or how they would be different from the current lockdown.

The decision, posted to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Facebook page, came after the premier suggested targeted restrictions rather than citywide or provincial-level lockdowns.

The decision said the lockdown would end May 6, and the Phnom Penh and Kandal province governors would be responsible for new, yet-unspecified measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Phnom Penh was placed under lockdown from April 15 amid a surge in coronavirus cases. The country has seen over 15,000 cases as of Monday — nearly 10,000 of them active.

The initial two-week lockdown saw repeated changes to its restrictions, rules and enforcement before it was extended another week to May 5 under a new three-color system that allows fewer restrictions in some “yellow” zones.

Government spokesperson Phay Siphan said earlier Monday that the post-lockdown restrictions could be similar to the current color-coded zones.

The lockdown has met resistance from some red-zone residents who have protested saying they were going hungry as businesses were shut down and the Commerce Ministry took over food distribution, as well as food sellers who have sought ways to continue their trade despite various bans and threats of punishment.

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