Cambodian migrant worker Sa Phay’s rented room in Rangsit, Thailand, on November 11, 2019 (Matt Surrusco/VOD)

As Border Shuts, Cambodians in Thailand Face Bleak Outlook

Heng Sreynop says she lives in a red zone in Thailand, and fears Covid-19. She says she understands why the borders need to be closed, but it adds to the pressure. “If we wanted to escape, we couldn’t escape. We don’t know where to escape.”

Authorities at the O'Smach International Border Checkpoint check temperatures of Cambodian workers returning from Thailand, in a photograph posted to the Immigration Department's Facebook page on March 23, 2020.

Hundreds Rush Home From Thailand Before Border Closure

More than 300 Cambodians came through the O’Smach checkpoint in Oddar Meanchey — almost as many as had returned this whole month — ahead of the closing of borders with Thailand, while other border provinces prepared curfews and lockdown restrictions.

Authorities guard a roadblock at Phnom Penh’s Stung Meanchey II commune on April 10, 2021. (Chorn Chanren/VOD)

In Phnom Penh, Tightened Restrictions Reflect Vigilance Against Delta

Commune authorities said on Thursday they would ban dining in at restaurants but allow alcohol sales for drinking at home, as a Phnom Penh councilor explained the need for heightened vigilance against the looming Covid-19 Delta variant despite a lull in local infections.

Curfew, Ban on Gatherings With Alcohol Ordered Nationwide Amid Delta Fears

Phnom Penh is banning gatherings with alcohol or with more than 10 people, as well as going out after 9 p.m., following a nationwide order for municipal and provincial authorities to implement the measures to stop the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, while eight border provinces will also enter three-tiered lockdown tonight for two weeks.

Lay priest Tith Ros, 79, performs a blessing ritual for pagoda visitors at Wat Nirouth on September 3, 2020. (Michael Dickison/VOD)

Monks Hunker Down in Pagodas Amid Covid-19 Fears

As tens of thousands of Covid-19 cases mount across the country, lives inside Cambodia’s pagodas have become marked by caution and practical concerns — more cooking and fewer ceremonies — while creating a void of Buddhist teachings for the nation, monks said.