Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Delta in check, extension of capital curfew unlikely: Chhe

Delta in check, extension of capital curfew unlikely: Chhe

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An ambulance speeds along Mao Tse Toung Boulevard, transporting Covid-19 patients to a treatment facility, in the capital on Monday. Hong Menea

Delta in check, extension of capital curfew unlikely: Chhe

The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has no plans to extend its nighttime curfew as the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 – the pathogen that causes Covid-19 – is now largely under control and new infections are low in number, a senior official said.

“In Phnom Penh, the enforcement of the curfew has so far produced good results … but we will wait and see at the final meeting and evaluation,” municipal deputy governor Koeut Chhe told The Post on August 9.

The capital has been under the 9pm-3am curfew since July 29 and scheduled to run through August 12 in a bid to prevent the spread of Delta.

As of August 8, Cambodia had logged a total of 385 Delta cases with some found among airline passengers and the majority in migrant workers. The variant has also spread into communities. Just over the weekend, 58 more cases were confirmed by the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge.

“We will hold a meeting to evaluate the situation on August 11 or 12 depending on the municipal governor [Khuong Sreng]. After the evaluation, we will issue a decision on whether to extend it.

“When the situation is improved, you can understand [what the decision will be]. We already took samples for test from all vendors at Phsar Doeum Kor market [in Tuol Kork district] and no one had contracted the virus. That is something rare,” Chhe said.

He said the number of virus transmissions in the capital had decreased lately thanks to government-imposed Covid-19 restrictions in conjunction with administrative and health measures put in place by individual provinces. These measures included the closure of international land borders.

In July, the daily transmission number across the country was nearly 1,000. But it has now dropped in August to around 500 cases per day, including imported ones.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Police enforce curfew order in Tonle Bassac commune of Phnom Penh’s Chamkarmorn district. Heng Chivoan

In the first nine days of August, a total of 5,156 cases were recorded, compared to 8,660 over the same period last month – a significant drop according to the Ministry of Health.

“The restrictions are a signal for our people to be vigilant against Delta which is transmitting in the community. At the beginning, we had great concerns in Phnom Penh. But so far, we see that there is only one new Delta case in Phnom Penh on August 8 and the patient has already been admitted to hospital for treatment,” he said.

“The rate of transmission is not as high as we feared due to our administrative measures, which acted as a brake to stop it from spreading at a larger scale. But we will continue to follow up on the situation,” he said.

While the situation in the capital has improved, it is still getting worse in some provinces, such as Kampong Thom where the provincial governor decided to close the central market in the town from August 8 until further notice.

Prime Minister Hun Sen on August 6 hinted that the restrictions may be lifted and the borders with Thailand opened for migrant workers to return and get treatment if they are positive for the virus.

As of August 9, Cambodia had recorded a total of 82,399 Covid-19 cases – 12,000 of those imported – with 76,155 recoveries and 1,585 fatalities.

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