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Crowds are hard to contain

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Large gatherings are frustrating government officials who warn citizens to remain vigilant and remember that Covid-19 precautions are still valid. Hean Rangsey

Crowds are hard to contain

While entertainment clubs and KTVs remain closed under the instructions of the Ministry of Health, authorities say they are having a hard time banning locals from running their small business along sidewalks, where large numbers of people can sometimes gather.

Ministry officials this week confirmed that all its directives concerning Covid-19 prevention are still valid to prevent a potential second wave of the virus.

The officials said countries where people had continued gathering at entertainment clubs, KTVs, religious ceremonies and weddings have suffered the most from the pandemic.

Phnom Penh’s Chak Angre Krom commune police chief Vuth Phosaravoan told The Post on Thursday that six entertainment venues remain closed in his area.

However, he admitted that alcohol is still sold on the street by locals who desperately need income, while large gatherings still existed.

“They still secretly run their businesses, but their living condition is not good. They just put tables and beds along the sidewalk and they told us they did it just to survive,” Phosaravoan said.

“If they are banned from selling their products, they would not know what else to do. So, we just instructed them to ban large gatherings,” he said.

Phosaravoan continued: “To be honest, we have empathy. We have to turn a blind eye sometimes. But when the gatherings get large, we have to stop them or tell them to keep a safe distance from each other.

“We also ask them where their customers are from. If they are just workers in that location, we allow them to sit and eat. But we are very careful with people from other places,” he said.

Boeung Kak I commune chief Vith Darith said all wedding parties in his commune have been cancelled, as instructed by the government.

He said authorities had disseminated virus prevention information on tuk-tuks and in large gathering places.

They also distributed masks in poorer villages to help prevent the spread of the disease.

He said all families in his commune were told to be vigilant at all times and to wear masks while travelling on the road or going to markets.

Residents must also wash their hands often and cook their food well before consuming it.

“A small number of people think that Covid-19 in our country is almost over, since there is only one Covid-19 patient left.

“They think that it won’t come back, which causes them to be careless. But we have advised them to be vigilant at all times. They haven’t been gathering in large groups but they don’t wear masks while travelling,” Darith said.

The Cambodia Movement for Health on Thursday requested that the government prohibit the sale and advertisement of all forms of alcohol while the country tries to prevent a second wave of infections.

The organisation said alcohol advertisements encouraged a spike in drug use and drinkers tend to not practice prevention techniques like washing their hands with sanitiser or wearing face masks.

The organisation said those who consume alcohol are not obeying the ministry’s guidelines as they tend to gather together in large groups.

It also mentioned that alcohol use weakens the immune system and reduces the body’s capacity to fight contagious diseases.

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