Restrictions Being Lifted From Schools, Weddings After Covid-19 Scare

2 min read
Prime Minister Hun Sen ventures out for a round of golf following two weeks of quarantine on November 19, 2020, in a photo posted to his Facebook page.
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Prime Minister Hun Sen has emerged from quarantine as ministries issued a raft of orders to lift restrictions on various gatherings and facilities two weeks after a visiting diplomat sparked a Covid-19 scare in the country.

Schools in Phnom Penh and Kandal province towns are to reopen on Monday, while Olympic Stadium was set to immediately reopen. Authorities advised continued hygiene and preventative measures such as wearing masks, washing hands, checking for fevers and maintaining social distancing.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto visited Cambodia on November 3 and tested positive for Covid-19 after flying to Bangkok the same day. Hun Sen and many other government officials went into quarantine in the aftermath, and more than 1,600 suspected direct and indirect contacts were tested and asked to stay in isolation.

The Health Ministry said 1,422 people in the cluster were tested on Wednesday for their fourth tests, and all results were negative for Covid-19.

One of four people from the cluster who tested positive has so far recovered. The other three continue to be treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital, the ministry said.

On Thursday, Hun Sen ventured out for a round of golf, saying he felt stronger after a 14-day break, but that his belly seemed bigger.

He apologized for playing golf on a work day, but said he had reviewed and signed documents earlier in the morning and would continue to work in the evening.

“Goodbye to the November 3 event,” he said in a Facebook post.

On Wednesday night, the prime minister posted online that he had tested negative for the fourth time in two weeks, and ordered that restrictions be lifted from wedding and religious ceremonies, schools, Olympic Stadium, museums and cinemas.

“We were cautious and that was the right thing, but now the situation has eased,” Hun Sen wrote on Facebook.

“We should not restrict too much that it leads to difficulties for people and religions,” he said. “We need caution but we should not cut off the circulation of the economy and society.”

The Culture Ministry issued a statement on Thursday that all museums and movie theaters could reopen immediately.

The Education Ministry, meanwhile, said all schools would reopen on Monday. Grade 9 exams would be held on November 30 while grade 12 exams would be on December 21, it said.

The ministry added that Olympic Stadium would be open for public exercise from Thursday.

A Tourism Ministry spokesperson, meanwhile, told VOD that the ministry was currently in discussions about reopening KTVs and gyms.

Updated at 1 p.m. with statements from the ministries of culture, education and tourism.

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