More than 10,000 Phnom Penh residents are in Covid-19 quarantine, with 74 buildings locked down, following widespread contract tracing and testing into the “February 20” cluster, Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng said on Tuesday.
The country currently has 366 active cases — the most it has yet seen — with 24 more cases announced Tuesday morning.
Sreng said all of the more than 10,000 in quarantine had been tested, and authorities were preparing their second round of tests.
Some were locked down in apartments and hotels where they were staying, others were taken to official quarantine centers, and some were allowed to quarantine at their individual houses, Sreng said.
Quarantining in-place reduced the need to shuttle people around the city to centers and risk contact, he said.
“It’s difficult, but we’re pushing ourselves to prevent the outbreak from becoming more widespread,” Sreng said. “Closing them down separately like this is better than locking down the whole city.”
Without the widespread quarantining and testing, the outbreak could reach a level that will require the city to be locked down, he said.
“This is the measure that we must take … to control and get rid of the infection,” he said.
Sreng added that $5 daily allowances were made available for those in quarantine who needed it.
Covid-19 treatment was being handled at four locations: the Chak Angre Health Center, National Center for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control, Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital and Phnom Penh Quarantine Center, he said.
“We’ll also prepare other health centers if there is a large increase in Covid patients,” he said.
The increase in new cases in Phnom Penh has somewhat receded, but appears to be picking up in Sihanoukville.
The country has ordered fitness centers, theaters and nightclubs, as well as schools in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk, to close amid the latest outbreak.
Police manning Covid-19 quarantine locations have been equipped with electric-stun batons, metal detectors and other gear.
The outbreak has been linked to Chinese women who escaped quarantine at the capital’s Sokha Hotel.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the number of Covid-19 treatment centers in Phnom Penh.