Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng is optimistic that the capital’s two-week lockdown will successfully break the chain of Covid-19 community transmission.
Sreng cautioned, however, that this can only be achieved when people join hands and stay home amid the outbreak. If the public is not cooperative and the transmission rate remained high, he warned that the lockdown could be extended.
“Phnom Penh and Takmao town had reached the red line which prompted the government to impose a two-week lockdown. This is a tough decision, but suffering in the short run is for the greater good,” he said during a press conference late on April 15.
Sreng said the authority is setting up a hotline through which the poor and vulnerable can call seeking food assistance. The government will not let anyone starve to death.
Food commodity prices had reportedly increased on the first day of the lockdown, causing discontent among members of the public.
Sreng said he had instructed the local authorities to look into the matter and address the issue.
“We will investigate to find out why food prices have increased when the government already made it clear that food markets are not closed,” he said.
The two-week lockdown, effective through April 28, came amid a sudden, huge surge in transmission cases linked to the February 20 community outbreak.
The lockdown also covers Takmao, the provincial town of Kandal which has been determined as one of the country's Covid-19 hotspots.
According to the Cambodian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Phnom Penh had recorded the most cases at 3,555 with 1,204 recoveries and 34 fatalities as of April 15.
Kandal ranked third at 413 with 103 hospitalisations, after Preah Sihanouk province at 586 with 484 recoveries -- both have reported no death from the disease.