Police Say 21 Officers Have Died of Covid-19

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Authorities stand at attention outside a Phnom Penh quarantine center in February 2021. (Phnom Penh Police Facebook)

Some 21 police and Interior Ministry officials have died from Covid-19 out of 2,198 infections, the ministry said over the weekend.

On its face, the death rate of about 1 percent is lower than the country’s 2 percent death rate from Covid-19:  About 1,800 people in Cambodia have died from the disease from nearly 90,000 infections, according to Health Ministry reports.

However, the rate of positive tests appears to be much higher. The Interior Ministry statement did not say how many people are employed by police and the ministry in total, but noted that the ministry had received 107,321 vaccine doses from the Health Ministry, which suggests as much as 4 percent of the force could have tested positive. In the country, only about 0.6 percent of the population has been recorded as testing positive for Covid-19.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng said in the statement that officers needed to continue their work in implementing Covid-19 prevention measures around the community.

Cambodian Center for Human Rights director Chak Sopheap agreed that the enforcement of measures should be strengthened, but also called for greater transparency and the measures’ consistent application.

“The implementation is different in some places,” she said. “In general, we have observed that when citizens violate any principle, the authorities always apply the measures or laws. But when the relevant authorities violate any rule, we do not know clearly whether the same actions will be applied to them like citizens. The guidelines must be obeyed with transparency. Otherwise, there will be neglect.”

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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