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Cambodia extends harsh restrictions to combat Delta variant

Covid-19 cases reach record highs in neighboring Vietnam, Thailand and Laos

UCA News reporter, Phnom Penh

UCA News reporter, Phnom Penh

Published: August 26, 2021 06:15 AM GMT

Updated: August 26, 2021 06:21 AM GMT

Cambodia extends harsh restrictions to combat Delta variant

A garment worker buys face masks in front of a factory in Phnom Penh on Aug. 26. (Photo: AFP)

Harsh restrictions have been extended in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh in a further bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, particularly the Delta variant which is ravaging neighboring countries where pandemic cases continue to hit record highs.

Phnom Penh municipal administration ordered a 14-day extension until Sept. 9 for high-risk occupational and business activities including nightclubs, beer gardens and casinos, resorts, museums, sports clubs, cinemas, playgrounds and amusement parks.

A ban on alcohol sales has also been extended for two weeks. A decision on whether to continue restricting private gatherings will be made within the next two days.

To date Cambodia has recorded 90,535 Covid-19 cases, of which 1,325 have been detected with the Delta variant. The pandemic has so far claimed 1,835 lives with 86,702 recoveries.

Daily caseloads have eased to less than 500 a day amid a rapid rollout of the vaccination program, which has been extended to adolescents aged 12-17.

Almost half of Cambodia’s 16.5 million people are now fully vaccinated, but authorities say the number of cases recorded in Cambodia’s rural areas remains at worrying levels.

The provincial city of Stung Treng in the northeast will remain closed until the end of the month

In the western provincial city of Siem Reap, home to the fabled Angkor Wat complex, a patchwork of restrictions have been put in place in accordance with outbreaks.

“Residents of the blockaded areas are banned from leaving their places of residence except under necessary circumstances such as business or work purposes,” the Khmer Times reported.

“People who need to travel for work purposes are required to obtain a permit from the district administration.” 

The provincial city of Stung Treng in the northeast will remain closed until the end of the month, while Kampot, Sihanoukville and Koh Kong in the south are reporting more cases than recoveries.

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The restrictions were announced as daily cases continue to reach record highs in neighboring Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

The Laos Ministry of Health reported 952 infections on Aug. 25, its highest daily toll since the outbreak began in March last year, taking its confirmed tally to 13,909 with 11 deaths.

Numbers in Vietnam and Thailand regularly exceed 12,000 and 18,000 a day respectively, with authorities urging people to wear masks, maintain social distancing, test where appropriate and regularly use sanitizers.

World Health Organization representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said in order to suppress Covid-19 and its variants, people must continue to implement non-pharmaceutical interventions effectively in combination with vaccinations.

“Despite the Delta variant, Covid-19 vaccines remain effective against severe disease, hospitalization and deaths, especially for the elderly and other vulnerable groups,” she said on Twitter.

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