Phnom Penh Authorities Lock Down Several Villages, Communes

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Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng (center) inspects a makeshift Covid-19 facility at Chea Sim Samaki High School in Phnom Penh on Friday. (Phnom Penh City Hall)

Phnom Penh City Hall issued orders late Friday night to lock down seven villages and two communes for fear of Covid-19 transmission following the emergence of hundreds of new cases in the capital.

Speaking to reporters late Friday, Phnom Penh governor Khuong Sreng said authorities were locking down six villages in Pur Senchey district; Trong Moan village in Sen Sok district’s Obek Kaorm commune; and the communes of Stung Meanchey I and Stung Meanchey II in Meanchey district.

The governor asked people in the locked down areas to be understanding, and know that they can make requests to authorities at any time about needing health services, security or to go out to get daily food items, but they need to follow health measures.

“We can succeed in stopping Covid-19 only if people participate with the authorities and the Health Ministry in preventing it together,” Sreng said. “I believe that people in lockdown will have a high degree of understanding with local authorities on this matter.”

Health authorities announced 576  new Covid-19 cases on Friday, with Prime Minister Hun Sen saying on Saturday that a further 483 cases had been recorded. The country had over 1,500 active cases as of Friday.

In a directive dated Friday about locking down Trong Moan village, Phnom Penh City Hall said the restrictions start midnight Friday and last through April 23.

During the lockdown, all residents are banned from leaving their homes except in necessary circumstances such as going to work or going out to buy food. However, residents must receive permission from authorities, and only two people per household are permitted to go out for groceries two times a week, the directive said. Hospital visits are also allowed.

It reiterated that all gatherings are banned, except among household members and specially permitted funerals and other ceremonies.

Businesses are also restricted to online work except for pharmacies and other services deemed to be necessary by authorities, it said.

Anyone who fails to follow the measures will be punished, it said.

On Saturday morning, authorities in Trong Moan village announced the lockdown through loudspeakers, informing residents of a rise in infections linked to the Din Han Enterprise garment factory in Stung Meanchey and called on people to follow quarantine orders and get tested if necessary.

Sreng, the governor, said on Friday that the total cases at Din Han had reached over 630.

Stung Meanchey III commune clerk Yim Manith said the factory was in her commune, but most workers lived in rented rooms in Stung Meanchey I and II, leading to the lockdowns there.

In a speech, Prime Minister Hun Sen said families placed in lockdown will receive 25 kg of rice, 300,000 riels (about $75), a case of instant noodles and 20 cans of fish.

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