Authorities order strict curfew in Cambodian capital to curb spread of coronavirus – Radio Free Asia

Authorities in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh have ordered a strict curfew in an attempt to stem the spread of the country’s latest coronavirus outbreak, but human rights groups called the measure “unrealistic”, saying it would lead to legal problems for people facing emergencies.

The government issued a sub-decree on Wednesday suspending all “unnecessary” activities, gatherings and travel between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. until April 14 to prevent transmission of an epidemic that saw 21 people who had tested positive to COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus – has died since February.

The decree includes exceptions that allow people to buy food, get tested for COVID-19, get the coronavirus vaccine, receive medical treatment, or care for a member of the family. family who are “gravely ill” or who have died.

Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng told RFA’s Khmer service that employees who work at night must have an official certificate confirming their working hours and must always carry a company ID card to show to authorities .

“Companies must issue official authorization letters to their staff,” he told RFA’s Khmer service.

“Businessmen who have to go to places such as hotels should go home at night with a certificate confirming that they are entitled to do so.”

Khuong Sreng added that all companies are responsible for the actions of their employees and could face legal action, including fines or license suspension, if they are found to be in breach of the curfew.

“The head of the establishment is responsible in the event that staff members leave work and go to drink, which will cause unrest and violate the curfew ordered by the town hall,” he said.

“If we investigate and find out that this is really a problem, it can lead to fines or business closures.”

Members of the public who need to travel during curfew should notify their commune chief or local authorities in advance, Khoung Sreng said.

The police have been ordered to confiscate the vehicles of people who break the curfew and place them in a 14-day quarantine at their homes, he added.

Growing epidemic

The Ministry of Health on Thursday confirmed two deaths linked to COVID-19, bringing the country’s official number to 16 since early March and a few weeks after the first anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring the coronavirus a global pandemic . Five other people confirmed positive for COVID-19 have died during the same period, although the government says their deaths were the result of complications from pre-existing health conditions.

The ministry also announced 37 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 2,477. While Cambodia has remained relatively untouched by the virus, it reported a daily record at the end of the month. latest of 105 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the country’s total number of infections to nearly triple that of the last outbreak first detected in February.

Human rights groups on Thursday expressed concern over the curfew, saying the measure was “unrealistic” for people who have to leave their homes at night in an emergency.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director of human rights for the local group Licadho, called on the government to allow certain exceptions to the curfew.

“Regarding people with urgent needs, it will be difficult to inform the authorities or their commune chief and to obtain permission to leave their homes, especially in the middle of the night,” he said.

“There must be exceptions for emergencies related to health or family issues. “

Residents living in locked-down areas of Cambodia as part of an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus have urged the government to provide special aid to help them during the outbreak.

Many Cambodians are now struggling to pay their debts and cover the costs of rent, utility bills and gasoline amid Cambodia’s latest COVID-19 outbreak after an already one-year shutdown of the economy that killed the tourism and entertainment industries.

Reported by the Khmer service of RFA. Translated by Sok Ry Sum. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

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