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Handle Covid waste properly, or else: Phnom Penh official

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Rubbish on a street in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district. Hean Rangsey

Handle Covid waste properly, or else: Phnom Penh official

Phnom Penh Covid-19 patients under home-based treatment and those who care for them could face legal consequences if they fail to properly dispose of waste to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading, in a manner outlined in a recent municipal hall instruction.

Municipal deputy governor Koeut Chhe on August 27 affirmed that most patients who undergo treatment at home follow the instruction, but acknowledged that a few reckless individuals have been briefed on the potential ramifications of their negligence on the matter.

In an appeal to the public, he said: “If you see any patients getting treatment at home not fully complying with waste management policies, please report them to the authorities, such as the village or commune chief, or commune police chief.

“They will set them straight.”

Chhe stressed that the edification of offenders is prioritised over legal action, but warned that if these briefings fail to deter repeat incidents, legal options remain on the table.

According to the recent instruction, Covid-19 patients under home-based treatment and their caregivers must place infectious waste in a bag and keep it separate from other waste.

The bag must be disinfected inside and out, remain on the premises for 72 hours, and then placed in a separate yellow biohazard bag before leaving it outside for rubbish collection. In lieu of a yellow biohazard bag, any yellow bag may be used, as long as the infectious nature of its contents is clearly indicated.

Covid-19 patients are required to have mild to moderate symptoms to be treated at home. Home-based patients must immediately seek medical assistance or call the 115 hotline should they experience severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, or loss of speech or movement.

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